Outcast: Second Contact is just three weeks away

Outcast

Outcast holds a strange and special place in my heart, conjuring up memories of everything great and frustrating about PC gaming. Back in 1999, Outcast was a technological marvel, a Stargate SG-1-inspired story, an enormous alien world and a mixture of polygonal and voxel graphics capable of doing the environment justice. It was the Crysis of its era.

Unfortunately, like Crysis, it was too much for most PCs of the time, and even an upgraded re-release on GOG still struggled to run consistently well. Good then, that original Belgian studio Appeal never stopped dreaming. In three weeks, we’ll see the release of Outcast: Second Contact, a modernised remake of the original. Click onwards for a trailer, hot off the trailer machine.

For the sake of the historical record, here are the original and updated GOG trailers for the game. It’s surprising how much has simultaneously changed, yet stayed the same. It’s clear that while Second Contact looks a little stiff by modern standards – perhaps adhering too tightly to the original design – the original was easily ten years ahead of its time, its sprawling worlds and complex AI unparalleled at the time.

If you’ve never played Outcast, the easiest way to describe it would be a hybrid of The Legend of Zelda and Far Cry. A large but segmented world to explore with lots of wildlife, hidden goodies and NPCs to interact with, interspersed with enemy strongholds to clear out, minibosses to slay and some entertainingly explosive weapons to use. The original game had full terrain deformation due to its grainy, voxel-based environments, a feature I hope is retained in this new version.

I’m excited to try my hand at it, and see how it stacks up against both the original game and the unrealised potential it always had. For the first time ever, PCs are capable of doing the alien world of Adelpha justice, and I am eager to hop on my Twon-ha once more. It’s been a long  time coming, but I’m about ready to dial on home on that totally-not-copyright-infringing Stargate substitute.

It’s due out November 14th, and you can keep an eye on its launch by following or wishlisting it on Steam here.

27 Comments

  1. Freud says:

    The brilliance of Outcast is that it played the stranger in a strange place theme perfectly. You had to discover a world that had a real sense of place because of the language, architecture and how the society worked.

    Because it was so immersive, you could forgive the game for having somewhat wonky combat.

    • poliovaccine says:

      So it’s Morrowind? Sold.

      • Sin Vega says:

        I’d argue that it’s much better than Morrowind in terms of being a living place that you need to explore. It doesn’t have acres of text and backstory, so you have to figure out what’s what by observing and especially by talking to people, which gives you opinions and interaction and a bit of drama where Morrowind leans more towards dry and impersonal text. And more importantly, in Outcast, people other than you actually do things. Of course it’s all scripted, so if you sit back and do nothing, the world will pretty much cycle forever, but you’ll still see villains patrol, and farmers go out to fields and harvest rhyss, mingle a little, then come back home when it gets dark.

        It’s not incredible, and might perhaps seem rather basic now, but it’s lively and colourful, and has a lot of character.

  2. FeepingCreature says:

    Did Cutter always look like a weird hybrid of Deadpool and Alex Denton? I don’t believe I remember that from the original.

    • Sin Vega says:

      The main thing that jumped out at me from that trailer is that they’ve made him look rather generic. Originally he looked older, balder, a bit more tired and a bit more… well, a bit more odd. Less like a generic brownhair hero, more like a fairly regular person you’d see in a pub somewhere. It’s not disastrous, but it does seem a slight downgrade.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        Yeah, I always thought it was a “guy in his late 40’s that didn’t ask for it” kind of hero. I remember it quite well because I was a kid and it made me think “what if my dad was an action hero?” and he was like in his 50’s already. Of course, everyone older than 20 always looks ancient when you’re 9 years old.

      • Mandrake42 says:

        Yeah, he looks a bit like Nathan Drake now. I kind of preferred the soldier nearing retirement for active duty look of the original Cutter. Oh well, as you say, it isn’t necessarily a disaster, but as a long time fan of the original it’s a little jarring.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah that’s the only thing that bothers me about this remake. Cutter should be a grizzled “too old for this shit” veteran like in the original, not generic young action hero / Nathan Drake impersonator. He even still has the same older-sounding voice. It’s just a really odd choice.

    • Konservenknilch says:

      In my head, he was always a bit like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Regular guy but somewhat grizzled and rises to the occasion.

      Which is probably because the german version used the Bruce Willis voice actor, Manfred Lehmann, but still ;)

      • Sin Vega says:

        Definitely, and the first person who came to mind for me too, even though it’s not a perfect fit. The main difference was in the sarcasm. Coming from an Alex Doucheton type character, zingers and sarcasm and one liners can come across smug, whereas coming from a John McClane/Cutter Slade type guy, it comes across as more exasperated and sympathetic, like rather than wanting to look cool, they’re just tired of this crap and want to go home.

  3. Scraphound says:

    The original was a surprise favorite of mine.

    I absolutely adored it. I’m a sucker for immersive games, and it drew me right in. It really felt like an alien world, and I was discovering its mysteries on my own. Not through heavy-handed exposition.

    The trailer looks a little clunky, like it’s adhering just a bit too closely to the original, as stated. Still, this is a day one purchase for me. I wish more games made an effort to be less blatantly “game-y”. I love being immersed into fantastical and bizarre new worlds.

  4. Moonracer says:

    I am grateful that game like this and Pathologic are getting proper remakes.

  5. Catterbatter says:

    Oh now I’m getting excited. Time to dust off the ol’ gamsaav!

  6. Lars Westergren says:

    > a Stargate SG-1-inspired story, an enormous alien world and a mixture of polygonal and voxel graphics

    And one of the most groanworthy protagonist names ever – “Cutter Slade”.

    It was a lovely game though. It’s going to be fun to try the remake.

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    I played the Gog version of the original just weeks ago (the 1.1 version) and I’m 100% positive it DID NOT have real time terrain deformation, voxel engine or not.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Waltorious says:

    I played the original Outcast for the first time around 2009 or so and loved it. Looking forward to this!

  9. tomimt says:

    Original Outcast was one of those games I wanted to play, but when I did, I just couldn’t get past the bad controls. But I do remember digging the intro movie it had, as it was pretty damned well-made CGI for the time.

  10. Pliqu3011 says:

    Surprised Outcast’s beautiful orchestral soundtrack by Lennie Moore, still one of the finest in all of gaming, hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      Does Youtube embedding work here?

      link to youtube.com

      World of Snow (35:44) and World of Temples (43:25) are my personal favorites. Heaven On Adelpha (10:12) is definitely worth a listen too.
      … Or just listen to all of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I was just thinking the same. I never played the original game, but the soundtrack is what impressed me most about the trailer, and it sounded more like actual in-game stuff than specially-arranged “trailer music”, so I’m glad to learn that’s true!

      *skips around that YouTube video* O_O Well, there’s no doubt I’ll be picking this up on release, now. Thanks! I’ll be looking to see what else this guy has done, too.

  11. Stedios says:

    I played the original at release and found it rather thrilling, though I never finished it, look forward to the new version, is it following the same story or a new one?

  12. EgoMaster says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 18 years since I finished this game. I loved the story and attention to detail, like the farm worker warning you the foreman is too close, so he can’t talk about him. Man, I’m getting old. (And still playing games.)

    As for the trailer, it looks a bit rough. Rather than a “modern remake”, it looks like a reskin that still keeps the unpolished parts of the original such as voice acting and the animation.

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