At the THQ Nordic booth at the Gamescom 22 was demonstrated to me with pre-recorded gameplay scenes how Outcast 2 – A New Beginning next year the fans of Outcast – Second Contact and fun for new players. Although A New Beginning continues the storyline of the original, the developers assure that the plot itself stands on its own two feet. So newcomers are welcomed and those in the know can nod knowingly in the face of certain details.
After Appeal delivered a remake of the 1999 action-adventure with Outcast – Second Contact in 2017, the dream of the sequel, which failed at the time, should now come true. The story takes up the real odyssey of development history: Hero Cutter Slade’s attempted journey home from the parallel world Adelpha to earth failed and he suddenly ends up back in the strange alien world, but more than 20 years have passed. And the Talaner aliens no longer greet him as Ulukai (a kind of messiah), but are skeptical about the returnee. He is now truly an outcast. But the team isn’t going the more common route of making the sequel dirtier and darker. The universe of Outcast 2 should ultimately be utopian. Adelpha is brightly colored, the Talans still have their quirks and the atmosphere is based on light-hearted SF films from the 80s.
|These flying creatures become water suppliers in a quest, but they can also drop more explosive packages at the location of your choice.|
The developers are clearly aware of one thing: while the original was an early representative of the open world, today you have to hold the gigantic worlds hungry for your own free time at bay with a stick. Therefore, the team not only put a lot of time into refining the fights, but also into a quest design that wants to deviate from the usual division into story quests on the one hand and side tasks and “filler” activities on the other. So it should be possible for you right from the start to explore Adelpha freely and to visit the Talaner villages scattered around the world and take care of the problems on site. Instead of completing a specific task to trigger story progression, the world will respond when you complete certain feats. In other words, the adversaries who want to conquer the planet realize that Cutter has just appeared in a region and in turn launch their latest plan to stop you. As the developers emphasize, this should not mean that you have to liberate each region one after the other, as in other open-world titles.
On the one hand, the team wants to generate interest with an evolving world. If you talk to NPCs, their opinion of you can change over time (or through your actions). As a more concrete example of a development over time, I’m presented with a quest that begins with Cutter retrieving a mysterious object from a lake. For a while it is simply on display in the nearby village on the square, until it suddenly stirs: As it turns out, it is an egg and a Galenta, a kind of small flying whale, hatches from it. It is now circling above the village and is marked accordingly on the map. You can also see on the map when the Galenta is going on a trip or is starving. To fix the latter problem, you need the help of another village, which sends a pterosaur as a water transporter to water nutritious plants for the Galenta. On his excursions, you can protect the creature from predators with your weapons. You don’t have to though: no timer will expire if you don’t take care of the Flying Whale, it will just stop growing. On the other hand, if you help the Galenta to grow big and strong, you can use it as a flying mount that can even carry you onto enemy battleships. However: Such a giant beast does not escape your enemies either and they attack the village with their henchmen and drones, which then burned and lay in ruins in the presentation.
In general, there should be a feeling that the elements of Adelpha influence each other – that’s why certain icons on the map are often connected by lines. The developers do not promise a highly detailed world simulation, but in the wild it should happen that underground giant worms break to the surface and hunt other animals or enemies nearby. The system where you ask Talans where certain characters are and they reply “Walk 20 steps north” has been deprecated, but if a character knows anything about quest-related cues you can ask them about it, but their answer is just that again what she heard about Tier Y in her village. But sometimes they refer you to the village where this animal is bred, so where the people must have an idea about it. This should probably create a certain credibility without becoming too detailed.
|Some of the animations in the presentation were still bumpy, but the melee combat in particular conveyed the necessary feeling of power from a purely visual point of view.|
The subject of dependencies also runs through the gameplay in other ways. For example, if Cutter helps the village where the pterosaurs mentioned are bred, the residents will eventually offer to train them to drop bombs. This artillery support is said to increase even further as you solve more of the village’s problems. Another combat tool is a cannon, which Cutter uses to launch anti-gravity orbs that levitate enemies in a radius helpless in the air. The developers combined both, first raining down bombs (which still have to be shot in order for them to detonate), then both bombs and enemies flew first through the air and then into the air thanks to gravity reversal. It was certainly funny to watch, but from a purely mechanical point of view it was probably overkill. Cutter also shot regular rifles, which looked fun, but the punches and dive attacks with his shield in particular made a good impression, as they visually conveyed the power behind the attacks well. The movement through the pretty world with jetpack and wingsuit seemed fun.
The developers have managed to arouse anticipation for Outcast 2, even though I only followed the predecessor indirectly from test reports and the like. If the story draws you into the world and the team achieves its goal of motivating players to explore and pursue quests at will, rather than flower-beating them into a list of quests, the journey to Adelpha could be be a fascinating trip. But whether the developers can also implement their ambitions accordingly remains to be seen. visitors of Gamescom 22 can get a first impression with the trade fair demo. Outcast 2 – A New Beginning is close to beta, according to Appeal, and while the team has yet to give an approximate release date, there’s a good chance Cutter Slade will return to Adelpha in 2023.