What makes Outlast so terrifying?
What does Outlast do that other games seem to overlook?
Classic techniques used in many games and films like creating tension though sound design and instilling a sense of helplessness by removing the character’s ability to fight are effective methods of creating a terrifying experience.
Outlast however, seems to take the experience a step further when it capitalizes on the player’s indecision, exploiting fear of the unknown and a sense of desperation. Small details such as bloody footprints leading to an off-side corridor allow the player to speculate as to the horror what’s lurking there, allowing the experience to be specific to each individual playing the game- a sort of bespoke personalised brand of fear.
If not executed perfectly, or if the atmosphere begins to feel forced, the high impact violence which is a major part of the game can make the entire experience seem goofy, circumventing the game’s purpose.