Independent studio Red Barrels’ Outlast proved to be one of the breakout horror games of 2013 after releasing to critical acclaim on PC, before making its way onto consoles with a release on Xbox One and PS4 in 2014. The utterly terrifying experiences of protagonist and reporter Miles Upshur firmly placed Red Barrels on the map; proving to be a huge success with both critics and gamers alike.
With its sequel Outlast 2 currently in development and scheduled to release early 2017 simultaneously for consoles and PC, we took the chance to talk with the studio once again to discover their 10 most influential horror games of the 21st century. Red Barrel’s co-founder David Chateauneuf didn’t disappoint, offering some interesting answers.
Amnesia The Dark Descent 
“That game recreated the horror genre. It put forward the idea of having a protagonist without a weapon to defend himself. Frictional mixed the concept with the sanity meter in order to force the player not to look at the monsters (awesome idea!!!). We cannot forget that they pushed hard to have some new physic mechanic in order to make the player feel more immersed in the environment and have some interesting puzzle. The storyline was great they had the guts to start the adventure without having a real threat for the first 30min. AWESOME GAME!”
Silent Hill 2 
“This is definitely my best horror game ever!!! That game is complete!!! They really really worked hard to make the player feel uncomfortable. The ambience with the fog brought some kind of solitude and made the place feel like nothing was alive. The characters were sometimes sane, sometimes completely off, making the player confused about what was going on. On top of that, they had weird creatures, your worst nightmare type of stuff. All in all, the perfect psychological scary game.”
Fatal Frame 
“Fatal Frame makes the list because they [Koei Tecmo] brought a new way of interacting with danger. Integrating a photo camera as a tool for the player was an awesome idea. It forced the player to play differently. He had to face his fears by getting the frame that would kill the ghost. Usually, you want to run away and avoid the threat and the scares, but in this game, you had to face it. Brilliant!”
Eternal Darkness 
“I will always remember that game. One word!!!! SANITY!!! Best game using this feature. I was having fun the other day watching all of the hallucinations that these guys did back in the days. From what I recall, they were the first to have multiple protagonists that you could play in separate stories and they would actually die!!!! Damn!!! I was used to playing as the same protagonist throughout the same game, but with this Eternal Darkness, I was blown away!”
Dead Space 
“No one before Dead Space managed to create a good and scary space-horror-game. They [EA Redwood Shores] succeeded in creating tension even if we had a weapon in our hand. They created awesome sequences with a perfect build-up leading up to an effective scare. And they had…The Plasma Cutter!!! What a cool weapon!!! Perfect for those creatures that use the air vents to trap and scare us. Actually, I think it is the game that made me so scared of air vents.”
Alan Wake 
“I really enjoyed playing this game. The feeling in that game was really unique. The perfect storytelling and their approach to telling the story in this game are definitely equal to the quality of a great Hollywood movie. While I was playing this game, I really felt I was living some kind of Stephen King book. The experience was immersive. Walking in a forest during night time while the wind blows is really something that I did not want to do after playing this game. Every sequence and narrative moment were well paced and integrated to form a unique experience. Awesome game.”
“Really good mix of shooting and scary moments. I remember playing F.E.A.R. at lunch time in broad daylight and jumping out of my seat when colleagues would come near me. Or that moment when I went down a ladder and came face to face with the girl. Creepy stuff.”
Five Nights at Freddy’s 
“This game succeeded with a simple concept. To survive while watching a monitor. That’s it!!! Sometimes that is enough to have a good scare. Five Night’s at Freddy’s makes the list because of the art direction of the monsters and his uniqueness in the genre. Also, because it succeeded in the art of managing and manipulating the player and making him build his own fear. The game was really accessible and allowed many players to jump right into the action easily. Good job guys!”
Slender: The Arrival 
“Slender Man!!! I downloaded that free game and I got scared. Again, that game owns a place in our top 10 because of the originality of its concept and by his accessibility. I would never have thought that this type of game could be scary. A concept that put a little bit of pressure on the player during an exploration inside a dark forest while a strange tall man lies is around every corner, ready to jump at your screen… It works!!! Since that game, we can find many others interesting games that use this genre. Thank you! Slender Man!”
Resident Evil 4 
“Resident Evil 4 is a masterpiece. It was really interesting to see Resident Evil coming up with a new perspective. That camera over the shoulder was reused in other games after. The story is ok, but the overall experience of this game is awesome. With Resident Evil 4, they found the perfect balance between action and horror. That game is filled with good scary moments, good intense action sequences and adrenaline scripted events. Thumbs up!”
Outlast 2 is slated for release early 2017 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.