I can't write about Outlast 2 without recalling Tim's 'charred baby pit' preview headline, which perfectly captures the tone of Red Barrels' survival horror sequel. Pitches like that are a hard mould to break, I imagine, particularly when the series in question has sold 15 million units and has accrued $64 million.
Speaking at Berlin's Quo Vadis conference (via gamesindustry.biz), the developer's Philippe Morin said despite his desire to do "something completely different" next, the success of the Outlast series is difficult to overlook. With this in mind, Red Barrels' next game will be "a departure" from its previous ones, reports GI.biz, but will be set in the same overarching universe.
"If you'd told me a year ago that the project we're currently working on was going to be our next thing, I would have said, 'Nah, I don't think so'," says Morin. "It's an internal struggle. On the one side you have to stay motivated as a developer, but at the same time we have to think about stuff as company owners.
"That's why it took us several months to find the sweet-spot between doing something that's going to please the fans, and something that we're driven by personally. In big studios, they can say, 'If you're burnt out we can always give the IP to a different team'. But that's not the case here."
Morin adds that he and his team are in the prototyping phase of their next venture, and are considering their budget. Outlast had a production budget of $1.36 million CAD (approx £783,760/$1.06 million USD), while Outlast 2 cost five times that.
"Are we going to need the same kind of budget?" asks Morin. "Can it be lower? Right now, I don't know. All I know is that I always make sure we have options on the table: plan A, B, C and D. When you get to the river, you decide which bridge you want to cross.
"I always tell the team that, since the studio is owned by developers, our interests as developers is as important as our interests as shareholders. We don't want to change that."
Gamesindustry.biz's report from Berlin's Quo Vadis conference can be read in full here.