Let's start with Thwacke, a consulting firm consisting of scientists and researchers who study, among other things, the nature of mental illness, the science of fear and the ways in which humans experience terror. Thwacke has partnered with indie developer Red Barrels to make the survival horror game Outlast as authentic as possible by contributing real-world data.
“The survival horror genre has seen many changes over the years, but the core is always a cerebral experience that capitalizes on anxiety and startles the player,” said Dr. Maral Tajerian Ph.D., neuroscientist and pain researcher. “Due to the background of certain patients in the Outlast asylum, there are a lot of interesting behaviors that could be unsettling to a player. We believe there is tremendous space to help Red Barrels get creative beyond portraying asylum patients as thugs.”
“By providing us with research and insights on criminally-insane patients, as well as historical asylum layouts and techniques, Thwacke is helping us make Outlast’s gameplay both scary and scientifically grounded,” said Philippe Morin, Red Barrels co-founder. “The more grounded it is, the more believable the world we’re building will be.”
“They’ve been a seemingly bottomless font of everything I need for this story: psychoses, paranoia, and violent perversion,” said J.T. Petty, Outlast scriptwriter. “With their experience in psychology and emerging technologies, Thwacke has brought the ideas we reveal frighteningly close to the realm of the possible.”
Outlast takes place n the remote mountains of Colorado, where horrors await inside Mount Massive Asylum. This long-abandoned home for the mentally ill has recently been re-opened by the transnational Murkoff Corporation's “research and charity” branch. It's been operating in strict secrecy… until now.
Independent journalist Miles Upshur, acting on a tip from an inside source, breaks into the facility and is trapped. What he discovers walks a terrifying line between science and religion, nature and something else entirely. His only hope of escape lies with the terrible truth at the heart of Mount Massive.
The game will launch on September 4, 2013.
Get ready to scream.