Video Game / Outcast
A surprisingly, amazingly good third-person adventure, Outcast was noteworthy for its time for a host of innovative and effective game developments, almost all of which sadly reduced its chances in the marketplace. It had the bad luck to use unusual rendering method widely called "voxels" to generate a wide-open, go-anywhere play world... just when 3D accelerators based on rendering polygons got really popular. (In their defense, had they gone with polygon rendering on the GPUs available at the time, no computer in the world at that point in time would be able to handle the game.) It had a deep story, with good writing... just as Internet-based deathmatches with Excuse Plots became popular. It had a full orchestral — and we mean orchestral, as in "a big bunch of real musicians" — score, in a time when techno or rock was almost required on any game's soundtrack.

You, as Cutter Slade, are sucked into an alternate world, Adelpha, after a physics experiment Gone Horribly Wrong, along with several researchers: William Kauffman, the head of the project who believes in an infinite number of parallel universes; Anthony Xue, his partner who is responsible for the energy requirements, and Marion Wolfe, a former journalist and daughter of the senator who, after a botched paradrop exercise, essentially forced Cutter into retirement. Your character winds up in an alternate world, with a vaguely medieval society of aliens called the Talan going about their business, who immediately begin to revere him as their messiah, the Ulukai. Oddly enough, though, they all speak English when talking to you. The merchants sell ammunition that fits your guns. And there's an in-universe reason for all of that...

A sequel was planned, but before development could really get off the ground, the company went bankrupt. This website preserves what little remains from the original sequel's development materials, including a design doc draft. A fan-made, open source sequel entitled Open Outcast is currently in development by a group of enthusiasts. And in April of 2014, several of the original devs started a Kickstarter project to fund an HD remake of the first game, with eventual hopes to develop a sequel. While said Kickstarter didn't succeed, the developers are still working on finishing the remake, titled Outcast: Second Contact, hoping to release during the latter half of 2017. The trailer for the remake can be watch here.

Now sold on GOG and Steam, if you missed out the first time around. With the digital releases, the game was updated to run smoothly on modern-day computers with higher resolutions, an improved HUD and gamepad-friendly control options.

This game provides examples of the following:

  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • Certain Talan would make ammunition for your weapons.
    • From what we are told, the weapons the soldier Talan fire at you are basically channeling their lifeforce.
  • Action Genre Hero Guy: Cutter Slade is a pretty straight-forward example being a brown haired, white dude of muscular build, as well as a semi-retired special forces operator, with a somewhat cynical worldview and a snarky sense of humor.
  • Actor Allusion: Cutter Slade looks remarkably like Bruce Willis. In the german Dub he is even voiced by Manfred Lehmann — the most often used german synchron Voice for Bruce Willis.
  • Aliens Speaking English: They have their own language, and some words from it are used prominently throughout the game, but for the most part everyone you talk to speaks English.
    • Explained by Kauffman and Xue teaching them English when they arrived many years before
  • Alternate Universe: Attempting to find one is part of the game's story. The entire game takes place in one, called Adelpha.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Fail the sneaking test at the beginning of the game enough times, and the Talan overseeing it will offer to say you passed it anyway. Which is appreciated, as the AI's detection can be dodgy, and you've barely had time to familiarize yourself with the game mechanics.
  • Apocalypse How: Damaging the probe sent to Adelpha causes a black hole to start forming on Earth, which will cause a Class X if the team doesn't fix it in time.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The game featured extremely advanced AI for its day. The enemies would attempt to flank the player, hide themselves behind cover (though without Gears of War sticky cover), call for reinforcements and flee if they felt completely outgunned.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Averted. The enemies would attempt to flee if they were losing the battle hard enough.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Come now, Cutter Slade.
  • Badass Normal / Retired Badass: Cutter Slade is a former US Navy SEAL.
  • Bag of Holding: Cutter's backpack holds an amazing amount of supplies; lampshaded in one of the "outtakes". Justified (or handwaved) by it being a nanominaturisation backpack, complete with accompanying sound effects.
  • "Begone" Bribe: The only way to get the street musicians in Okriana to shut up.
  • Big Bad: Fae Rhan , actually Anthony Xue
  • Brick Joke: From the intro:
    Major Vernon: We sent a probe through the boundaries separating us from the other dimensions.
    Cutter: Really. Where'd you wind up, Belgium?
    • Then much later, when Cutter is waiting for a town meeting to finish in Okasankaar, a watery region where fishing is the main industry.
      Cutter: Humidity... two hundred percent. I was right, this is Belgium.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Yod = God. Zort = Shit. Zorkins = Money. Shamaz = Priest. Daoka = Portal. That only scratches the surface of the terminology you'll be bombarded with from early on. There's even an ingame lexicon for everything.
  • Convection Schmonvection
  • Dance Party Ending: If you get enough completion percentage.
  • The Dragon: Kroax.
  • Dummied Out: In the game there exist a level three upgrade for flamethrower and level one upgrade for the tranquilizer rifle, which you can only obtain through cheating. All upgrades to the flamethrower decrease the wind-up time of the weapon, and at level three the flame comes out the instant you press the fire button. The single upgrade to the rifle in turn makes the dart fly faster, greatly decreasing the need to anticipate the movements of your target.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Xue, again, when he kills William Kauffman and becomes Fae Rhan.
  • Fan Sequel: open Outcast, a total conversion for the CryTech3 engine.
  • Feelies: Included were sheets detailing every weapon available in the game and translations of every word of the Talan's language, "Agazork", into English.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Since Fae Rhan took over, ecological disasters have followed. The game never makes it clear whether it actually is the Yods (essentially Talan gods) expressing their displeasure, or a natural consequence of the exploitative industrial and agricultural practices instated.
  • Girly Run: Marion does not walk or run. She flounces, and then flounces faster. Cutter has a strange gait too.
  • Hand Cannon: Every gun that Cutter has is an over-sized pistol and he uses all the guns with a single hand. Almost all of them pack tremendous power, your main gun in the game is a massive machine pistol that shoots tracer bullets and your guns just go up from there.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Outcast Outtakes, which showed the game as an in-development film. look here
  • Humanoid Aliens
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: The game provides a justification, if only for the disposable part: Doors with locks are uncommon, and Fae Rahn's soldiers have taken over all such spaces to be used as storage. In order to hinder the soldiers the Talan who craft the keys have made them deliberately brittle so they break as they are used.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cutter can be this, mostly in early cutscenes with Wolfe.
  • Justified Save Point: The Gaamsaav crystal.
  • Karma Meter: Help the Talan and your reputation will improve. Hurt and kill the Talan and it worsens. If it bottoms out, Talan will be openly unhelpful and prevent you from learning enough to make any progress. The better it is, the cheaper you can buy your equipment back (see No Hero Discount) and the more you'll be able to sell certain items for.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: You can ask one specific beggar in Okriana about the story of how he fell on hard times, and he will say it is a long story and ask if you are sure you want to hear it. If you press a button to skip his speech after this point he will note you are bored by his story and stop telling it. You can ask him again, and if you do listen through it all in real time, he will reward you just for giving your attention and patience.
  • Literal-Minded: Talan tend to be confused whenever Cutter uses a figure of speech, which is due to them lacking knowledge of all the intricacies of the English language. Same goes for his numerous instances of sarcasm.
  • No Hero Discount: Averted, though you do have to work for it. The Talan believe you're a Messiah, prophecised to save them from tyranny. This doesn't stop a group of identical merchants, all brothers, from selling your own equipment to you in an attempt to prove to their father that they can make enough money to inherit the family business. However, the items are considered holy relics with protective powers and the safer you make the Talan feel, the less demand there is for them and the prices will be lower.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you kill a plot-critical talan, it's essence will not dissipate into the atmosphere normally. Instead it'll chase you forever. Once it catches you, you die.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Talan only ever refer to Cutter as "Ulukai", Kauffman as "Kazar", and Xue as "Fae Rhan".
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: All of Cutter's weapons fire slow moving things, though some are slower than others. The FT-74 in particular is so slow, you can kill yourself by running forward into your own fire.
  • Real After All: Beyond the magic-like powers some Talan have the game's various references to the Yods seem to just be standard religious explanations for regular occurrences, however, the way Fae Rhan's castle is destroyed at the very end suggests they really are real.
  • Scenery Porn: For a world rendered near-entirely with voxels, it's really pretty.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: In the box art Cutter Slade is about to shoot you.
  • Shout-Out: One musician in the city Okriana will sometimes randomly play the first few notes from a Star Wars song.
  • Stable Time Loop: Kauffman and Xue end up in Adelpha a few decades before the probe, Cutter or Marion do. In the decades between, Kauffman becomes the prophet Kazar and predicts the arrival of Cutter, the Ulukai; Xue becomes Fae Rahn, has Kazar killed "reverted", and then ends up sending one of his soldiers to damage the probe when it finally arrives.
  • Standard FPS Guns: You only get the pistol for free - all the rest you have to find or buy, and then upgrade to make them truly battle-ready.
    • HK-P12: Pistol.
    • UZA-SH1: Automatic. Bullets ricochet when the gun is upgraded.
    • LN-Duo 500: Grenade Launcher.
    • FT-74: Flamethrower.
    • SLNT-B: Marksman gun, inflicts poison.
    • HAWK-MK8: Energy Gun. Can be a real Game-Breaker when fully upgraded because it fires one-hit kill blasts about as quickly as you can click.
  • Statuesque Stunner: In Second Contact Marion is just as tall, if not slightly taller than Cutter. In the original version she was clearly a few inches shorter.
  • The Lifestream: Essentially how essences worked.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: It was released in 1999 and set in 2007.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Justified, as the weapons of hostile Talan function by channeling their essence into a weaponized form, which Slade lacks.
  • Warp Whistle: The Daokas, which allow teleportation between the different regions of Adelpha. There are also F-Links, beacons that allow you to teleport within one region.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Killing Talan, if it didn't cause a Non Standard Game Over, would make others verbally abuse you and refrain from giving you any help. This made it impossible to progress in the game or improve your reputation