Slade To Measure: Outcast HD Footage

By Adam Smith on April 24th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

The Outcast HD Kickstarter campaign is aiming high. I know plenty of people who remember the open world adventure fondly but $600,000 is a huge amount to ask for. With just less than two weeks to go, there’s less than $250,000 in pledges and it’s hard not to think that the most recent update video might have helped if it had been part of the pitch page from the beginning. Although still using some old assets, specifically for “the characters, animations and effects”, you’ll find the first footage of the recreated HD environments below. Along with the video, there’s a voiceover giving an overview of the game for those who may not have played it or may not remember what made it so special. Best of all, you can hear the orchestral score, which contains some of my favourite music ever written for a game.

I spent hours toying with the AI, setting up huge battles and trying to survive for as long as possible. Cutter Slade may have a silly name and John may have had legitimate complaints about the game back in the day, but I’m one of the people with fond memories. I honestly have no idea if I’d enjoy Outcast today but it felt like a window onto a fascinating and bizarre world back when I bought it in my own teenage years.

Success seems unlikely at the moment, without the intervention of a wealthy Outcast superfan.

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37 Comments »

  1. Inglourious Badger says:

    So many fond memories of this game, but, yeah, I’m quite happy keeping them that way so I haven’t pledged. I worry going back to it would shatter the dream. That score though! Such good music.

  2. Discopanda says:

    Apparently this game was too powerful for most computers to run when it was released? Probably why a lot of people don’t seem to remember it, but the ones that do really loved it. The problem now, however, is that it’s not immediately apparent what kind of game it is. 3rd person action adventure? 3d point and click adventure game a la Monkey Islander 4? Oblivion with guns? The Sims with bagels? Dwarf Fortress with pokeemans?

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      “3rd person action adventure?”

      That’s the one.

    • TomSchaffer says:

      It is an epic Open-World-3rd-Person-Action-Adventure with a SciFi-plot set in an immersive environment. Sounds like a marketing phrase, but that’s how I remember it. One of my most beloved games ever. Would be a shame if the Remake didn’t come into being.

  3. Viper50BMG says:

    Seconded on the music. Lennie Moore’s score was probably one of the main things that made me realize I could write *real* (I was a bit of a snob back then) music for games. So good.

  4. anaemic says:

    Wow, did they motion capture the campest man on earth for their running animation?

    • Keyrock says:

      Compared to Morrowind, which came out 3 years after this game, those animations are amazingly lifelike.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Ohman, Morrowind’s walk animation. Game devs, take note: a fully armoured orc dragging around a giant ebony axe should not stroll cheerfully. Ever.

    • Geebs says:

      They also fed him a pint of ex-lax and locked the lavatory door.

      This looks good, I will punt them some cash. Backing HD remakes on Kickstarter is a much cheaper way of having a midlife crisis than buying a sports car :)

  5. Big Murray says:

    Oh god, this game was good. I mean … properly good.

  6. ErraticGamer says:

    Outcast was way ahead of its time in many ways, and unlike anything else available at the time. Unfortunately, for folks who didn’t play it, I don’t think videos like this do a lot to convince anyone that it’s worth spending a lot of money to remake it now. It looks like a pretty but fairly generic open world sci-fi game. You could be forgiven for seeing Red Faction Guerrilla without the destructible buildings, looking at their video.

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    I got the original from GOG, I remember being put off by the obviously console-ported controls and didn’t run it again, maybe I should give it another try one day…

    • brulleks says:

      Yes you should, seeing as how it was a Windows-only game.

    • gnodab says:

      I am pretty sure that Outcast was PC exclusive, especially since it wrecked almost any CPU on the marked at the time, thanks to the voxel graphics.
      But I remember being taken aback by the controls at first, as well. And I think it took me half a day to get through the terrible tutorial… Afterwards though the game really opens up and if you get into it it is amazing. Just stick with it for a while and you might find yourself scribbling the vocabulary of an made up alien language on your notepad while playing.

      But even with all these fond memories and the belated pitch video, I can’t bring myself to pledge. I think the original still looks better than the reboot. The new graphics destroy the charm for me and just look more mundane and brown. If they want to continue the franchise why not do a proper sequel?
      Still I would highly recommend getting the GOG version!

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Absolutely, definitely try it again. I bounced off the controls once upon a time, but didn’t give up because it was a game I’d wanted to play for quite awhile. I heartily recommend you set aside a few hours, set aside all the expectations and other baggage you have from other games, and just let it show you what it’s got. At its worst, it’s a damned good action adventure. At its best it’s an amazing experience.

  8. Ninja Dodo says:

    I adored this game and immediately backed this, but I’m not sure about the actual campaign. They had almost nothing to show in the pitch and the original page was… not well-presented, only redesigned after much complaining in the comments. They also didn’t (still don’t) do a very good job of explaining to non-fans what made Outcast special.

    It feels like the devs didn’t take the time to look at other successful (and unsuccessful) campaigns, or ask fellow devs for feedback before going live. The decision to not have a paypal option until after the main campaign seems like the sort of ill-advised decision that sounds good only if you’ve never followed a kickstarter campaign. Also where most seem to prepare all updates in advance, they seem to be scrambling to create new material while running the campaign, which most reports suggest is a full-time job in itself. It’s also kind of a concern that all the most interesting stuff (new additions etc) is in the stretch goals. Those should be your core selling point, not a bonus.

    I’m still cautiously optimistic this will pull through at the last minute but really, a new campaign with more to show later seems more realistic.

    • Lambchops says:

      Yeah it does seem rather badly done.

      I backed it anyway (without expecting it to make the target), though more in the vain hope that they’d realise that what is really needed is Outcast 2!

    • TimePointFive says:

      Thanks for this! I never realized how far along Outcast 2 was, and how much of a technical marvel that would have been on a PS2.

  9. slerbal says:

    I think I preferred the original graphics, these new ones (where shown) are uninspiring/bland and just show the age of the game which is sad as it was great. I agree that they are doing a terrible job at pitching their Kickstarter – I loved the original but so far this has not made me even slightly excited. Perhaps because, like a lot of people, what I’d really like is an Outcast 2?

    Also: I still listen to the original score – so awesome.

  10. Muzman says:

    Outcast, while wonderfully otherworldly like a classic adventure series, is unfortunately written like one too, to some extent.
    Pacing is one of its larger problems. Imagine you write a film, chop it up into chunks and then distribute these chunks randomly across an indeterminate period of time. The result is uneven at best. I’m ok with the urgency of the main plot taking a back seat to wandering around. The really jarring thing is you can, and really should, spend ages wandering around doing this and that and when you finally hit the goal you’re talking to someone you can’t remember and talking about stuff you know nothing about anymore like you just saw each other a couple of minutes ago.
    There’s really no way to fix this without reworking and re-recording the cutscenes, which I don’t think they are going to do. The only thing I can think of is to speed things up a touch by putting in lots of quest markers and things of that nature. But that’s a terrible idea Blindly navigating a foreign world and culture is one of its best features.

    It also features a ‘lose all your weapons’ moment and a bit of a rushed shooty final act among some other game design sins. It’s a pity they can’t really do much about these things.

    eta: That video, while looking better, has the same old pathetic draw distance from 1999. If there’s a game for massive sweeping vistas it’s this one. No doubt they’re working on it.

  11. Urthman says:

    The giant moons / planets in the skybox look kind of ridiculous.

  12. magogjack says:

    I first played this game four or five years ago and it is one my top ten.

  13. Dave Tosser says:

    57th best HD update ever?

  14. Stardreamer says:

    Wow, that guy’s accent is thick. “cddrsld” supposedly means Cutter Slade, although perhaps that cheeserific, trying-waaay-too-hard name is why they’re obscuring it. :)

  15. Eery Petrol says:

    These developers are making and selling an HD remake of the original while the game’s fanbase is creating an entire HD sequel to the game from the ground up for free, with a working prototype already available. I’d rather have my money go to them, but they’re not asking.

    http://www.openoutcast.org/wp/

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      They’re not asking because they don’t own the rights. And the fans have been working on OpenOutcast for years, while the original devs clearly are only just starting to work on this new version. Can’t really compare the two.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Also can I just note that it seems really weird to manufacture some kind of rivalry between a fan-game and a remake/reboot by *the original devs*, especially since they have previously given their blessing to the Open game. Making this into A versus B seems like the fastest way to kill both projects.

  16. Earl-Grey says:

    I’m quite sad that the Kickstarter campaign for Outcast HD isn’t gathering more momentum.

    I have rather fond memories of not playing the original when it was released back in the day.
    -The game proved far to taxing for my humble little shitbox.
    I did buy the original on GOG some time ago, but I spent so long fucking around with the widescreen mod for it that I eventually lost the will to play the damned thing.

    I was hoping this campaign would succeed. seemed like a good way to experience the game properly for the first time.

    What a shame.

  17. bill says:

    Is this an official remake with access to all the original assets? Or is it more like a fan made remake in a new engine?

    Because a game is about much more than just the graphics… if they don’t have access to all the source Audio, AI, etc.. then I don’t see it getting very far.
    If they do, then I’d be interested.

  18. jaguar skills says:

    I know this guy speaks English a lot better than I speak whatever his native language is, so take the following in the good humour it’s meant to be taken in. He reminded me of this guy;

  19. Wixard says:

    It’s kind of impressive how well the game aged due to it’s art aesthetic and vibrant colors. I could see this coming out today on say, a 3DS or some app game store somewhere.

    I remember playing this way back when. It wasn’t a perfect game, even looking through thick nostalgic glasses, but seemed ahead of the curve.

    I also vaguely remember reading a magazine headline somewhere proclaiming how voxels were making john carmack nervous. It was the future, in the present, at the time.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      This is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
      It seems to me that if a game has its own style, something is recognizable and appealing, then it will age well. No matter how obsolete the tech becomes it will still have its own style, and it will still be appealing.
      Whereas games that looked incredibly realistic and were hugely technologically advanced at the time, may look laughable just a few years later, if they don’t have that sense of style to fall back on.

      What’s funny here is, if I’d been thinking about that when Outcast came out, I’d probably have put it into the second category. But looking at the original now, I definitely place it in the first.

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