This project's funding goal was not reached on May 7, 2014.
About this project
Outcast is an action-adventure game developed in 1999 for the PC. We are the original development team and IP owners and are working on this reboot. This is how the original looked like back in 1999:
And a screenshot from our current early prototype (click to enlarge):
Key features (shots from the original) :
- Non-linear game play in free-roaming environments over 6 worlds
- Combats against clever reactive AI
- Fully voiced interactive dialog trees for ALL characters (including NPCs)
- Awesome symphonic music with a 80 piece orchestra and 40 choir
- 20+ hours of highly engrossing adventure
In 2007, the U.S. government successfully sends a probe to an alien world in a parallel universe. As the probe is transmitting video images of the world, an alien life form discovers the probe and damages it, causing a disruptive backlash of energy to form a black hole threatening Earth. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Cutter Slade is given the job of escorting three scientists (William Kauffmann, Anthony Xue and Marion Wolfe) on a mission to this alien world to recover the probe and stop the threat. Arriving in this alien world, Cutter is separated from the other scientists and is hailed by the natives as their messiah, the Ulukai.
Want to know more? Check this excellent review of the original game:
"Okay, so the hero’s name is stupid and the plot sounds like a rehash of Stargate, but trust us, this action-adventure game was revolutionary. You could freely explore open world cities, mountains and forests (two years before GTA III). You could commandeer extraterrestrial vehicles – in this case, dinosaur-like creatures - for quicker transport (two years before Halo). You could pick and choose missions in the order that suited your playing style (nine years before Fallout 3)."
Outcast has been critically acclaimed to the point it has reach some cult status among many PC gamers. However, the software-only nature of the original engine meant the game has been ignored by many at a time when hardware-accelerated 3d polygons was becoming the norm (and they loved flat corridors apparently :P ). Now we have the opportunity to bring this fantastic game to a wider and newer audience and to reward existing fans with brand new visuals and improved gameplay.
We need your help to achieve our goal of producing a highly polished product on par with today's highest quality standards. We think the game deserves it and we count on you to make this dream come true.
- All objects, textures, environments and characters entirely remade from scratch in hi-definition.
- Targets 1080p @ 60fps, and supports beyond HD
- Enhanced adventure:
. Annoying story bugs removed
. Improved HUD
. Improved inventory
. Improved notepad
. Improved dialog interface
- New Cutter locomotion, control and animations
- New camera control
- Xbox and PS4 controller (and other compatible) support on Windows
- 6 Large worlds to explore redone from scratch in HD
- Fully voiced characters (main characters AND all NPCs) in English, German and French
- Over one hour of symphonic music performed by a 80 piece orchestra
Meet the core team
Fresh3d and a team of world-class developers is working on the game, along with support from Yves Grolet as gameplay advisor. The studio founded in 2004 and headed by Yann Robert and Franck Sauer, has a significant experience in developing games for PC and consoles and has worked on several shipped games on PC, PS2, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Most members from the core team were present in the old days, when developing the original Outcast, and we are delighted to have them on-board to help develop this HD reboot.
I'm Co-Owner and Creative Director at Fresh3d and was co-director on the original Outcast. I have over 26 years of industry experience, and you can read details about all the games I've been working on at my website francksauer.com
I love video games. Like many, I like playing them, but my real passion is about making them. To me, video games is the most creative and complete form of entertainment. It combines all other forms of entertainment and adds interactivity on top. What makes me tick is the intricate combination of art and technology that is required to make a game. I love to make visuals, sounds and music, write stories, develop universes and implement interactions. Don't we have two brains? Maybe we've been designed to make games!
I started my career In the eighties with the creation of my first commercial games for the Commodore 64 and the Amiga. Those games were 'No', 'Iron Lord', 'Unreal' and 'Agony'.
The success of these products gave me the opportunity to start two game development companies, the first one was dedicated to coin-op game development and the second one was Appeal, the company that created Outcast.
In 2001, I embarked on a new adventure, Elsewhere Entertainment, a game development studio focused on innovations in game design and game production excellence. After several products, this was followed by the creation of AMA Studios, a Belgian game development company linked to Ubisoft and focused on motion gaming.
The expected release time frame for the initial goal (Windows PC) is late 2015. Other releases will follow (if stretch goals are reach) depending on digital stores policies. We will do our best to ship as fast as possible on all platforms and will announce updated release schedule during development.
Risks and challenges
The usual main risks in games development are to go over budget, miss deadlines, ship unfinished/bugged products or even sometimes go bust before the game's release. Often, these go in pair with immature technology, bad design, bad management and intense publisher pressure.
By doing a reboot of an existing game (one that we know very well), we pretty much remove (by definition) some of the design risk.
As we are going indie, we don’t have artificial deadlines arbitrarily fixed by a publisher. We will ship the game when we think it’s ready. We will make sure the game is polished, bug-free and meets the backers’ expectations.
Still, nothing is entirely risk-free. One could still go over budget, and that is a significant risk. Also, unexpected problems or difficulties could arise and that can cause delays.
To mitigate these risks, we rely on mature technologies and we work with a world-class team of experienced programmers, designers and graphic artists that have worked on, and shipped, many games (including launch titles), on many platforms, worldwide.
Depending on the stretch goals, we might need to deliver the game on several platforms, each with specific constraints and limitation and that can introduce some delay in the delivery. You should understand that delivering on close platforms is subject to platform holder's policies.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Because we forgot about it ! And no, we cannot make changes to pledges after launch.
But we’re please to say: Yay, all backers from 40$ upward will also have the digital soundtrack included !
All visual assets are going to be made from scratch, so basically we are redesigning all characters and environments and rebuilding them from scratch using hi-end sculpting and texturing tools.
The control of the main character, his animations and the camera will be completely rewritten from scratch as well. Other animations, and overall game pacing, combats in particular will be either completely redone or at least greatly enhanced depending on some stretch goals.
The high-level of character AI should be preserved, while a new motor skill engine will take care of driving the animations.
The shapes of the worlds will be greatly enhanced too as can be seen in the screenshot above as we don’t have the same voxels convexity constraint anymore. However we will need to preserve most of the ground terrain features to maintain some of the data for enemy covers and the like. On top of that we will populate the worlds with decorative objects such as small rocks and vegetation.
What we keep from the original game is the story, the dialogs and the music as those alone would easily suck-up most of our budget if they were to be redone today.
Outcast is a very large game, millions of lines of code, huge environments, lots of characters, various interactions and all that in 3D already.
The effort to bring this reboot to life has nothing to do with let’s say rebooting a 90’s 2D Amiga game for instance. To create a modern rendition of the game is not so different from creating a 3D game from scratch in production term, except we have something to start with and we can save a lot of money on the story, the voices and the music.
Indie games requiring 100k to make are often made by 2-3 people in a den during a year and are most of the time very simple 2D games. Not to understate that kind of games, they can be really fun and creative but they are nothing to be compared to a full fledge 3D game in term of production cost, especially at the quality level we are aiming for.
This is a limitation of Kickstarter, not us. When the campaign ends, you’ll be able to continue pledging on the game’s site through Paypal. We have to wait the end of the campaign not to compromise it. We’ll provide a link in due time.
We are planning the release on GOG (DRM free) as well as Steam. We will also run our own online shop and that will also be DRM free.
As we are keeping the original voices, it will still be available in the following audio versions:
While the following subtitles will also be available:
If there is demand, we’ll see what we can do to include more languages in the subtitles. If that happens, we’ll make an announcement in due time.
Yes it will if we get their greenlight
We recently acquired all the rights to the Outcast franchise, and that was a prerequisite to start anything Outcast related. We believe in a close relationship between the developer and the player, something only independent development can provide. We believe cutting the middleman and going through digital distribution allow for reduced cost of games, yet we think some people prefer having a physical object and that’s fine by us. We believe creative control must stay in the hands of the developer and we think publishers don’t add value to indie projects. We believe Kickstarter is a great platform for funding and promoting an indie product. For all these reasons, we think Kickstarter is the way to go for this project.
No, this is Outcast 1, with graphic assets rebuilt from scratch in high definition and running on modern platforms using modern technologies. However, if the Kizaar stretch goal is obtained, one can say this is a first glimpse at Outcast 2 starting there.
While we would love to make a full fledged Outcast 2, we think expectations would be so high it would be impossible to fund it based on the current Outcast community alone. Modern AAA games typically require 20+ millions USD to develop. Such an amount of money is currently out of reach of a Kickstarter campaign. Even if we managed to bring down the required money to ‘only’ a few millions thanks to cutting the middleman, removing the often-excessive publisher’ share, and relying on digital distribution, the risk of failure is still quite large. Our goal with this reboot is to broaden the audience by bringing new players into the Outcast world, while rewarding the Outcast community with a beautiful modern version of their favorite game. When that is successful, we can start thinking about a campaign for a full fledged Outcast 2.
Outcast was a PC-only game but you’re mentioning consoles in your stretch goals. I don’t want the PC version to be dumbed-down because of consoles.
We understand your concerns, and they may have been valid in the past few years. Now we are at a the start of a new generation of consoles that share the same set of features (not necessarily power) with the latest PCs. That means we will not have to compromise the PC version because of consoles.
As PCs will potentially always be more powerful than consoles, the high-end PC version will enjoy higher framerates and possibly higher resolution (consoles version will be limited to 1080p).
To make that clear, Outcast Reboot HD will not support PS3 or XBox360, this is new-gen only.
Note that the release of the console version of the game is subject to the console manufacturer approval.
We are always looking at using the best and most suitable technologies for a given project. We usually combine several technologies from various vendors and that includes FreshEngine, our proprietary cross platform, cross generation engine that has been in development since 2004 and used in several commercial games produced by our teams. Our engine has been used in published games on Playstation2, Xbox360, Xbox One and PC. It currently supports PC (DX9 & DX11), VITA, PS3, Xbox360 and Xbox One (PS4 is in the works). On top of that, we often make use of third party technologies such as physics, sound or post process engines. Our goal is to lower the technological risk by using flexible, robust, affordable and mature technologies that when combined together provide awesome results and are well known by the team.
- (30 days)