Outcast focuses upon the misadventures of Cutter Slade, a hard-luck former Navy Seal. A parallel world called Adelpha is discovered, and the U.S. military sends a probe to investigate. However, a Talan native of Adelpha damages the probe, unexpectedly creating a rift in the fabric of spacetime that threatens to destroy Earth itself. Slade is charged with the task of escorting three top scientists to Adelpha to repair the damage and save Earth.
Awakening in Adelpha with the hangover of a lifetime, Slade finds himself separated from his team, and mistaken for the Ulukai, the Talans' messiah and savior. Finding the probe will require Slade to earn the trust of Talans across six different regions of Adelpha, and thwart the armies of the tyrranical Fae Rhan, who has used fear and prejudice to turn the Talans against themselves.
Outcast is an action-adventure which emphasizes combat, interaction with NPCs and platform puzzle-solving. While the game does allow for a restricted degree of free-roaming and offers side quests which may be tackled in different orders, the game's story keeps the gameplay fairly linear. A few game-breaking bugs punish players who manage to accidentally experience certain plot-points out of order, but these bugs are rare.
Slade must earn the trust of the Talans, who live in fear of reprisal for aiding Slade in toppling Fae Rhan's forces. He builds this trust by helping them with a variety of problems, from locating family members, to cutting off supply chains to Fae Rhan's forces. During his quest, Slade gains access to portals that will wisk him away to other regions on Adelpha, each with its own climate and culture, from the rolling riss fields
of Shamazaar to the bustling desert city of Okriana in Talanzaar. Slade's travels are further aided by his trusty Twon-Ha, a bipedal beast of burden ridden like horses.
The action takes place in third person, utilizing mouse and keyboard controls similar to other PC-based shooters. Slade has access to a nearly limitless inventory, thanks to a backpack which miniturizes all items for easy storage. When not in the thick of action, Slade can imprint his essence on a crystal called the Gamsaav, which allows the player to save the game. This process takes a few seconds to activate, and will cancel out if the player is attacked, thus requiring the player to be careful when deciding to save.
The social interaction takes place through in-engine cutscenes, based upon dialogue trees. Slade's choice of approach can help or hinder him with some of the more skittish locals.
Despite Adelpha being a parallel world to earth, the world itself is considerably different. It consists of six regions, each of which is seperated by large seas of water. Since these waters seem to be impassable, the only way to travel to another region is through the use of portals, which are called Daokas. Each region has a distinct landscape and the inhabitants all have their own unique way of life.
- Ranzaar - This is by far the coldest region in all of Adelpha. Covered in nothing but snow and ice, and extremely low temperatures, only the hardy Talans can survive here. This is also where the player starts the game and learns the ropes of controlling Cutter.
- Shamazaar - This is where riz comes from, one of the Talans' largest sources of food. It's also home to four temples, each of which represents one of the essences of the Talan.
- Talanzaar - A large dessert with only one city, Okriana, which also happens to be the largest and busiest city in all of Adelpha. The city is divided in different areas, called boks, each one with its own form of merchandise. A major portion of the side-quests are found in Talanzaar, and it's also here that players find out more about the obvious absence of women and children.
- Motazaar - Dry mountainous region where the Talan mine for the precious metal helidium, which the soldiers need for their weapons. Rivers of lava cut through the landscape.
- Okasankaar - A marsh-like region, with a small town by the name of Cyana. The waters here are extremely dangerous, as venturing too far will cause players to be attacked by sannegtas, which can be best described as mutated sharks.
- Okaar - Dense forest housing mysterious temples and the crash-site of Cutter's ship. The region is populated by a primitive tribe known as the Oogoobar who do not welcome outsiders.
Outcast used a software-based voxel engine (similar to that used in the early games in the Comanche series) to produce its rolling landscapes. Superimposed upon the voxel terrain were polygonal buildings and characters, also rendered entirely in software. The game does not support 3D hardware acceleration. An early version of the engine was shown in their 1997 vehicular combat game No Respect.
A voxel is a element of a three-dimensional grid (volume-element), in the same way that a pixel is an element of two-dimensional grid (picture-element). Outcast's voxel engine uses height-maps to render terrain. Every element in a height-map stores a depth value, thus it describes a simple volume. The following describes the advantages of using software ray-casting to render these height-maps.
The developers elected to use voxel technology to create a world with a more organic feel, as polygonal technology at the time only allowed for rudimentary shapes and most 3D accelerators of the time were ill-equipped to handle additional particle and reflection effects. Outcast's voxel engine allowed for curved surfaces, depth of field and light bloom effects, and realistic snow and fire particle effects. Perhaps most notable was the game's rippling water with refractive and reflective properties that realistically changed depending upon the viewing angle. Many agreed that artistically, Outcast was far ahead of its time.
However, the graphics did not come without a price. The game was only capable of running in two resolutions, with a maximum resolution of 512x384, below the 640x480 and 880x600 resolutions that were standard for the time. Even at the lowest settings, Outcast boasted hefty hardware requirements that required players to have the latest in processor technology.
Despite the advanced graphics engine, the game was nevertheless maligned by some who criticized it for its lack of support for hardware acceleration, giving some the impression that Outcast represented an inferior product.
Outcast features fully-voiced dialogue, which was still unusual at the time for action-adventures of similar scope. The voice acting was considered to be excellent for the time, as was the music, which featured a sweeping orchestral score recorded by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. The music was further augmented by ethereal choral arrangements and well-placed cues that matched the score to the on-screen action.
Despite poor marketing in the US, the Outcast website featured a wealth of bonus content, including multiple reels of outtakes and bloopers, the latter mimicking blooper reels that are commonplace fodder for DVD releases.
The soundtrack was available as Redbook audio on the second CD, and was later made available for download from the website.
Based upon rather poor PC sales, a Dreamcast port was scratched. It is unknown how far along in development the title was at the time of cancellation. A polygon-based sequel for the PlayStation 2 was cancelled when developer Appeal went bankrupt; unable to secure funds, the developer closed its doors in 2002.
Some of the development team went on to found Elsewhere Entertainment, later acquired by 10tacle and renamed to 10tacle Studios Belgium. Development on a spiritual successor to Outcast, entitled Totems, was eventually halted when 10tacle too was closed.
The game was recently released on digital distribution platform GOG.com for $5.99.
One of the developers, Franck Sauer, published a post-mortem of the game's development.
In the wake of the cancellation of Outcast 2, a dedicated group of fans took it upon themselves to create their own sequel entitled "Open Outcast."
The team has created a playable demo called Oasis using the CryEngine. The graphics are significantly improved over the original and all the old worlds plus one new and lots of quests will be featured in an upcoming release.
Players will need only a demo of Crysis Wars to play Oasis. No release date has been given.
The game designers created a unique language which they used throughout the Outcast. For example, the soldiers often yell "Négta!" which means kill, and Slade is referred to as the "Ulukaï": Soul of Essence.
The manual of the game contains a dictionary where the words spoken in the game can be found and translated. The list of the words of Adelpha are written below:
- Achondar - Dragon-snake
- Adelpha - The world of the Talans
- Ador - Rock
- Afar - After (Soon, tomorrow)
- Agakamôn - The language of the heavens
- Agazork - The Talan language
- Am - Instance
- Até - How much
- Barr - Evil (bad)
- Bok - District
- Boogot - Toxix and explosive mushroom
- Booyat - Mushroom growing in hot areas
- Botar - Before (Yesterday)
- Cyana - City of the marshes
- Dagué - Danger, problem
- Daguérach - Poisonous plant
- Dammenaï - Common little rodent
- Dano - Give (Return)
- Daoka - Sacred gateway
- Darosham - Gateway where spirits are born
- Dissem - Different
- Dolotaï - Long time
- Doo - Also (again)
- Eïssa! - Banzaï (war cry)
- Eluee - Water Essence
- Elueen - Those born of Water
- Eoth - East (right)
- Faé - Fire Essence
- Faé Rhan - The Master of Adelpha
- Faékynn - Those born of Fire
- Faénéa - Fibes extracted from Gawarats which have healing properties
- Fehane - Moss
- Gaéat - To love
- Gamor - Carnivorous predator, a cross-between between a wolf and tiger
- Gaamsavv - Stone (saving crystal)
- Gandha - Earth essence
- Gadahar - Those born of Earth
- Ganele - Seashell
- Gemehar - Kind of Sanar tree
- Gizhaïe - Essence Bearer
- Gorgor - Big carnivorous animal
- Guita - Feel
- Gwar - Wound
- Gwarat - Cactus
- Gwarta - To nurse (heal)
- Hâ - Yes (to be, there are, there is)
- Hao (Haomé) - Hi (Hello)
- Hazadess - Ghost
- Hazifar - Ventilope driver
- Héko - Here
- Hélidium - Ore specific to Adelpha
- Hokaza - Thank you
- Horr - HHmm, eh, ahem
- Hoti - Twôn-ha fruits (sweets)
- Ka - Air Essence
- Kaar - Life, Living
- Kaïjin - The tale of the heavens
- Kamenaï - Designated birds
- Kamôn - Those born of air
- Kanoon - Well (Good)
- Kata - Bless
- Kaza - Please
- Kazar - Lost prophet
- Kiakii(iii) - Fun
- Ko - Who (and direct object, indirect object)
- Koï - What (and direct object, indirect object)
- Kez - Where (and adverbial phrase of place)
- (Tar) - When (and adverbial phrase of time)
- Krakit - Spider-like animal
- Kroax - Leader of the Fae Talans
- Labta - To go (travel, move)
- Lako - There
- Lampé - Beer - alcohol
- Lepta - To help
- Madé - House
- Maya (Mayamé) - Goodbye
- Maé - Me
- Mag - Hunger
- Magta - To eat
- Magué - Food
- Magwa - Plant with regenerative properties
- Maorr - Master
- Maré - Important (very)
- Meenaï - Several (a lot, all)
- Miléa - Harmony
- Môn - Relics
- Mool - Krakit's salivary gland
- Motaz - Mountain
- Motazaar - World og Mountains
- Moté - Someone
- Nani - Explosive
- Né - Non
- Nédano - steal
- Né iki - hard
- Négta - To kill
- Nékaar - Death
- Néogaé - Woe
- Noroth - North (high)
- Ogaé - Happiness
- Okaar - Forest World
- Okasankaar - World of Marshes
- Okk - Old
- Okriana - Main city
- Ôn - One (number)
- Oogoobar - Living beings (primitives)
- Oroth - West (left)
- Pigweet - Rodent
- Pok - Belongings (thing)
- Rammu - Toxic plant
- Rân - White
- Ranzaar - White earth
- Rembat - To remember
- Riss - Rice
- San - Water
- Sanar - Common tree Essence
- Sangta - To drink
- Sankaar - Fish
- Sankaari - Fisherman
- Sankra - Chaos
- Sannégta - Killer of the seas (sharks)
- Sayat - To say
- Sem - Same
- Séyat - To see
- Shamaz - Designates the Talan priests
- Siénole - Rare plant with hallucinogenic properties
- Sodoth - South (low)
- Solan - Deference
- Sota - To buy
- Takta - To take (use)
- Talan - Designates the inhabitants of Adelpha
- Talanzaar - Populated world
- Todar - Today
- Trad - Merchant
- Tradta - To sell
- Twôn - Two (number)
- Twôn-Ha - Designates biped animal (milk-giving and wild)
- Twôn-Ha Gui - Biped trap
- Ulukaï - Souls of the Essence
- Ventilope - Large flying animal able to be domesticated
- Wa - Work / occupation / class
- Wabta - To wait
- Wanat - To want
- Wata - To work
- Yo - You
- Yod - Spirit of the Essence
- Yod Eluee - Spirit og the Essence Water
- Yod Faé - Spirit of the Essence Water
- Yod Gandha - Spirit of the Essence Earth
- Yod Ka - Spirit of the Essence Air
- Zae - Sure
- Zaza - Twerp
- Zeedog - Predatory animal, sedentary and lives in the marshes
- Zonn - Freind
- Zark - Enemy
- Zorkin - Monetary unit used on Adelpha
- Zorr - Soldier
- Zort - Excrement
Original System Requirements
- CPU Type: Pentium MMX
- CPU Speed: 200 MHz
- RAM Required: 32 MB
- Hard Disk Space: 500 MB
- Graphics Type: SVGA
- Graphics Resolution: Multiple Resolutions
- Color Depth: High Color