The Outlast Trials’ Game Designer Confirms Graphic Modes For Consoles

"No plans yet" for a physical release of The Outlast Trials.

Story Highlights

  • The Outlast Trials is the sole multiplayer title in the Outlast series and playable in Early Access.
  • The first-person psychological horror will be fully released on PC and consoles on March 5, 2024.
  • We interviewed Philippe Morin, Co-Founder at Red Barrels, to answer our questions before the launch.

The Outlast Trials is the third entry and the only multiplayer title in the Outlast series, serving as a prequel to the first two games. Its depiction of the prior events has not only expanded the franchise’s scope but also added the possibility of future games adopting elements of different genres. The multiplayer title features test subjects as the playable characters in a mysterious Cold War experiment.

Red Barrels’ recent horror survival is available in Early Access and has already become immensely popular, amassing over 35,000 user reviews on Steam, with a 94% positive rating. With an ever-expanding universe and possibilities for endless content, eXputer took the opportunity to interview Philippe Morin, Co-Founder and Game Designer at Red Barrels, to discuss The Outlast Trials’ upcoming release and what we can expect from it.

Read ahead for the full interview.

The Outlast Trials
The Outlast Trials – via Red Barrels.

How did you approach The Outlast Trials and make it feel like a part of the franchise despite being much different from the usual Outlast single-player experience?

Morin: Story-wise, we decided to make it a prequel set in 1959. We always intended Murkoff Corp to be a big organization created several decades ago. The ties with Project MK-Ultra have been part of the lore since the first game.

In terms of gameplay, we started with a simple premise: what if instead of one person trapped inside the asylum of the first game, we had a group of four people trying to escape? How would that work? It turned out that we didn’t have to change any of the fundamentals of the Outlast games; we just needed to scope differently. That’s why we eventually made the decision to let the players decide the size of their group or if they prefer to play alone. We don’t have to make a lot of adjustments from one setup to another.


Can we expect to see the Outlast world expand much more as more content is added to it?

Morin: That’s the plan! That’s why we created the lobby as a physical place with shuttles taking players to the giant warehouses where they do the trials. We want players to feel that they’re in a living, breathing world and lots of things can happen.


Red Barrels went with the depiction of the CIA-initiated project MK-Ultra for The Outlast Trials. Was that something the team considered very early on, or did it naturally fit your vision for the title? And did the team, at any point, consider other disturbing events as inspiration?

Morin: Since MK-Ultra was already part of the lore and the game was set in 1959, it made sense to make the game focus on behavior control and brainwashing. The hard part was to find a way to combine all this with the kind of gameplay we needed. Obviously, you can’t make an Outlast game with simply a character strapped to a chair having to watch hours of images, like in Clockwork Orange. So, we had to find our version of brainwashing. We got inspired by the work of Robert J. Lifton and Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron.


The Outlast Trials will be coming to consoles next year, but is there any hope for a Game Pass release sometime in the future?

Morin: I can’t comment at this point.

The Outlast Trials
The Outlast Trials – via Red Barrels

A while back, the studio said that its number one priority is to give players what they love, which is evident from the recent addition of a new trial map. What can fans expect to see next? Is there a particular feature that you are currently working on?

Morin: We will do everything we can to keep adding new content and surprises. To do so, we will have to grow the studio a bit to create all the content and features we have in mind. We shipped the Early Access with only 45 devs, and we’re currently at 61. So, things are looking good.


Will the console versions have a physical release like the Outlast Trinity?

Morin: No plans yet.


There will be cross-play after the console release, but why the decision not to add cross-progression?

Morin: It’s a big feature, and the decision was based on scope. As I mentioned, we’re a small team and had to focus on other aspects of the game.


Do you believe there is potential to make games from different genres from Outlast? Perhaps an RPG or a roguelike?

Morin: We’re building a universe [that is] so narrative, lots of genres could fit if the horror DNA remains. But for now, we’re all hands on deck with The Outlast Trials.


Red Barrels still wants to do Outlast 3, but it is tough to balance resources on multiple projects due to human limitations. Still, when is the earliest the studio hopes to start development on Outlast 3?

Morin: As I mentioned, we’re in the process of growing the studio, so hopefully, we’ll have the bandwidth to work on it in the near future.

The Outlast Trials
The Outlast Trials – via Red Barrels

You also once mentioned that while creating The Outlast Trials, there was a lot of excess content or ideas that the studio would like to explore in the near future. Can you tell us a bit about what kind of content it is?

Morin: It’s all over the place… more ideas for the lobby, the shuttle rides, the trials, etc. We had to focus on the foundations of the game first, but we’ll get to those soon.


Could you tell us a bit about the graphic modes for the console versions?

PlayStation 5: 4K native @ 60 FPS
PlayStation 4 Pro: 1440p native @ 30 FPS
PlayStation 4: 1080p native @ 30 FPS
Xbox Series X: 4K native @ 60 FPS
Xbox Series S: 1440p native @ 60 FPS
Xbox One: 900p native @ 30 FPS
Xbox One X: 4K native @ 30 FPS

Morin: By ‘native, I mean no FSR/DLSS-style upscaling or anything like that. We do use dynamic resolution, so resolution might get lowered slightly in very intense scenes, but it is not really noticeable. HDR is provided on all consoles supporting the feature.


Is there anything else you would like to share? Something we haven't touched upon yet.

Morin: We’ve been very fortunate to have an amazing fan base. Their feedback and comments will help us shape the future of The Outlast Trials.


YouTube video

The Outlast Trials was developed and published by Red Barrels. It is currently available in Early Access on Steam and is scheduled to fully launch on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on March 5, 2024.

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe. Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist

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