Appeal Studio released its first images for Outcast: Second Contact. Yves Grolet has revived his 90’s studio with his old colleagues Yann Robert and Franck Sauer, and together with Bigben Interactive, they plan to bring the critically acclaimed Outcast series into the 21st century.
According to a press release included with the images, Outcast Second Contact will be an expanded HD remake of the original 1999 title. The developers want to stay loyal to the game’s plot, gameplay, music, and level design while touching up the visuals to compete with modern PC games. It’s clear from the snowy image””which bears an impressive resemblance to the game’s tutorial level””that Appeal Studio wants to (forgive me!) appeal to loyal fans of the original.
To their credit, Grolet and his colleagues have plenty to be proud of; the original Outcast was one of the first open-world video games, and its dedication to developing the Talan culture has spawned plenty of lore-loving fans. Unlike its console contemporaries, Outcast’s protagonist (Commander Cutter Slade) actually had a voice””and an entertaining personality to boot! Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the original Outcast was the music: the Moscow Symphony Orchestra provides an amazing sci-fi soundtrack rivaling the work of John Williams! There are few games, old or new, that can contend with Outcast’s artistic strength.
Unfortunately, Appeal’s remake might be poorly timed. A modified version of the game (Outcast 1.1) was released on Steam less than two years ago, which takes almost all of the wind out of the new remake’s sails. Even the title faces some issues since its initial impression makes it sound like a sequel instead of a remake. According to Appeal, the “Second Contact” refers to Slade’s original mission, not a second one; the “First Contact” was the drone that Slade is entrusted to repair. Players who are unaware of this detail are bound to be disappointed.
Another problem lies in the original game’s popularity; although Outcast was critically acclaimed, it wasn’t a commercial success. The game demanded too much hardware to properly function on most computers of the day, so while some gamers managed to form a fan base most simply turned to less data-demanding games. Fast-forward 17 years and that pocket of Outcast fans have dwindled even more, especially now that Appeal Studio faces much more competition than it did in 1999.
Despite the difficulties, Appeal and Bigben seem up for the challenge. The images released include the new case covers for PS4, and Xbox One, which means Outcast will be coming to consoles for the first time. The remake’s first public appearance at Friday’s Gamescom in Cologne was relatively well-received, especially towards the new visuals. Appeal seems eager to create a sequel to Slade’s journey, and Outcast: Second Contact is the first step to making that sequel a reality. Come March 2017, Grolet and his colleagues will learn if their hard work will be rewarded.