Red Barrels Co-Founder provides insight into Outlast 2's cryptic story

Outlast 2 came out this week, and from the moment players got their hands on the game debate has been raging about the game's story. What's real and what isn't? Is everyone hallucinating? Should we be seeking out sources beyond the game itself to help us figure out what's going on?

We've been just as conflicted about it as all of you since publishing our review, and decided to reach out to Red Barrels directly to see if they were willing to offer any additional information. Studio Co-Founder Philippe Morin sent us back some answers, which you can read below.

Major Outlast 2 spoilers ahead! 

GameCrate: What sort of information from outside of Outlast 2 should people seek out if they want to understand more about the story? This could include things like the first Outlast game, your marketing materials online, or just subjects people should research.

Philippe Morin: They should read the comic book series.  The 5th issue is coming out soon and it will be the one that bridges the gap between the 2 games.  Also, we heard about a Tumblr page named The Murkoff Report.  Apparently, lots of people want to expose Murkoff and they post stuff there. ` Just know Murkoff is probably monitoring all activities, so whatever you do is at your own risk.

GC: In the school flashbacks, are we supposed to understand that Jessica committed suicide, that she was killed, or is it left intentionally unclear?

PM: Without giving a straight up answer, I can say that the school sequences are in a specific order.  Have I ever told you about Sammy Jankis?

GC: What in-game indications are there that indicate whether events Blake is seeing are "real" or not?

PM: That's one of the main concepts: how do you define what's real?  Is reality subjective?  Can you alter someone's reality and make them act according to your own agenda?  If I can make you believe the world will end in 2027 because a little green man told me, then that becomes your reality and you're going to start making choices based on that reality.  So, in other words, it's up to you to decide what's real and what isn't.

GC: Are there some plot-critical notes or recordings that are easy to miss?

PM: Some are definitely harder to find.  Exploration must be rewarded.

GC: Are mind control towers and/or the Morphogenic engine responsible for most of the crazy events we see in the story?

It isn't untied to what you're not saying. Or is it?  :)

GC: At the end of the game, is the baby real? Missing shadows and an ambiguous statement from Lynn ("There's nothing there") have people debating this.

PM: See answer to question #3.

Though it's clear Red Barrels wants to preserve the big mysteries around their plot for now, Morin's responses can help provide some context to help us understand the story. It's clear that those who claim that they are absolutely certain about events unfolding one way or another are on the wrong track, and the game's narrative is intentionally left open to interpretation. 

Morin's reference to Sammy Jankis, a central character in the film Memento, is interesting. That film features non-linear storytelling elements and a protagonist whose mental state makes him an unreliable narrator, so there's another huge bucket of fuel for the Outlast 2 story discussion bonfires. 

We'll have more Outlast 2 story coverage coming soon. Until then, share your Outlast 2 theories in the comments.