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Video Game / DreadOut

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"We are all dying waiting for you to get here."

DreadOut is a Survival Horror game from an Indonesian indie developer called Digital Happiness. When a group of high school students go astray from their field trip, they discover an old, deserted town and quickly realize that something sinister seems to be happening. Linda, the main protagonist, soon discovers that she suddenly has a spiritual power that can - perhaps - save her and her friends from the unknown.

The gameplay is based on taking pictures of the ghostly enemies to fight them, much like the Fatal Frame series. However, the gadgets used here are modern inventions like smartphones and digital cameras rather than something vintage. Also, the game is based on Indonesian folklore ghosts and takes place in a rural Indonesian town. As usual for the genre, the game contains exploration and puzzle-solving.

Available on Steam here. After a demo/tutorial that was later integrated as Act 0 in the game proper, Act 1 was released in May 2014, and Act 2 in February 2015. Before the game itself came out, two spin-off digital comics were released; one takes place around the same time as the game but involves a different cast of characters, while the other is set during the Indonesian war for independence.

A stand-alone Interquel called Keepers of the Dark was released on March 24, 2016. Taking place just prior to the final boss fight, it elaborates on a missing period of time and provides a few more hints to the larger story.

A spin-off game for Virtual Reality devices, called DreadEye VR, was released in November 2017. In it, the player takes the role of a dukun (an Indonesian shaman) and performs rituals to summon and face spirits. It is set in the same universe but has no direct connections to the story of DreadOut.

A sequel was announced in September 2018 and released on Steam on February 21, 2020.

A live action movie adaptation has been released in Indonesia on January 3rd, 2019.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: In Indonesian myth, Pocongs are usually depicted with their limbs tied, leaving them more-or-less incapable of physical assault with hopping being their only way to move. In the game... not so much. In Act 2, however, some weaker hopping Pocongs are met and are predictable cannon fodder, counting only on large numbers.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most ghosts are called with their Indonesian names, although there are a few who get just a definition in English, like the "scissor man".
  • Alliterative Name: The heroine's full name is Linda Meilinda.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Act 0. Also a case of Psychic Dreams for Everyone, since most of it turns out to anticipate many events of Act 2, like the fight of Pocong Radja, who is awakened in Act 0.
    • Averted in Dreadout 2. The prologue chapter feels quite similar to Act 0 from the first game, and features many supernatural and surreal events, but it turns out everything that occurs really did happen, and Linda hears about the consequences the next day at school.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: When you die, you have to walk through a black void into a light to try again. Normally, the light gets further away every time you die. However, it can be forced to a fixed length through an option in case you really just don't feel like dealing with it.
  • All the Other Reindeer: In the sequel, Linda has become a pariah at her school, due to being the Sole Survivor of the village incident, with all the students blaming her for the deaths/disappearance of everyone else who was there.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: One of the rewards for funders.
  • Ascended Extra: In Keepers of the Dark, Sewurupa, a ghost that isn't very dangerous and you can even ignore in Act 1, makes two appearances that imply it is far more important than a simple filler enemy.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: The main boss of the Colonial Sewer area in Keepers of the Dark is a large, nine-tailed fox beast.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • To defeat Sundel Bolong, Linda must take a picture of the hole on her back.
    • In Keepers of the Dark, Seeing Blind can only be damaged when he reveals the eye within his mouth.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Linda may be forced to crawl in mud or move waist-deep in water (and near the end, in ghost vomit), but will always come out perfectly clean.
    • In Keepers of the Dark, after the door to Room 109 floods past you, Linda is actually covered in muck until you end up back in the hub room, which might be justified since it all exists in some sort of ambiguous mirror realm to begin with.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The posters in the town are written in untranslated Indonesian, unlike the notes. Some of them have humorous meaning or are puns.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the true ending, Linda manages to banish the Lady in Red and leave the abandoned town. However, Ira reveals that she has to stay in the village forever to prevent the darkness the Sisters summoned from escaping into the world and Miss Siska seems to has a dark agenda of her own, meaning that Linda is forced to leave the town as the Sole Survivor of the group. Also, Linda has now inherited the dark power from the Lady, with her willpower and Ira's recorded message as the only things preventing it from over-leaking.
  • Body Horror: Palasik is a floating woman's head with the internal organs dangling from it.
  • Boss Rush: Keepers Of The Dark is focused on Linda in a room with 8 doors. Each door leads to a different area, in which a powerful ghost must be defeated in order for her to leave, some of these areas also have a secondary ghost lurking around. Not all ghosts need to be defeated in order for her to advance, though, and some of the areas have items that need to be collected in order for it to be completed.
  • Break the Cutie: Linda comes out relatively unfazed from Act 1, but as Act 2 unfolds, starting from the killing of Donny before her eyes, the events take an increasing toll on her.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Borderline case at the end of Act 0.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • In one of the rooms in Act 0 you can find a dirty teddy-bear-ish doll hung by a noose, with a fallen chair under it; you can find it again in Act 1 as an easter egg.
    • Interacting with a doll in Act 1 triggers a boss fight.
    • In Room 108 of Keepers of the Dark, there's a doll that follows you around, but only if you aren't looking at it (you can catch it falling to the ground if you turn around fast enough), and it hurts you to touch it. Contrary to the fear it induces, once you find out who it belonged to, you can pick it up and reunite it with its owner.
  • Darker and Edgier: Act 2 compared to Act 1, both in imagery and turns of events.
  • Deadly Doctor: In DreadOut 2, the boss of the hospital level is a murderous bonesaw-wielding doctor ghost known as the Gore Surgeon.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • Early in Act 2, Linda has to outrun her classmate Donny, who is in an homicidal frenzy due to a ghost that has taken control of his body.
    • Later, Linda encounters her best friend Ira, who is being possessed by a doll named Suzie.
    • It is left ambiguous, if Mrs. Siska is possessed or actually the Big Bad / The Dragon. The sequel indicates the latter is the case.
    • In the sequel, the first "boss" you encounter is one of Linda's classmates, driven berserk by an evil spirit and wielding an axe and a smartphone.
  • Downer Ending: The alternate ending has Linda seemingly escape, only for the Lady in Red to just kill her in a car crash.
  • Down the Drain: Keepers of the Dark introduces two sewer levels: Room 101's Dark Sewer and 104's Colonial Sewer.
  • The Dragon: The Genderuwo (giant ogre-like creature) that acts as a Border Patrol in the first game and attacks you in the second game turns out to be this for Siska.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: "we'RE all DYING... we'RE all DYING... we'RE all DYING."
  • Endless Corridor: The Demit Lorong chases Linda in here.
  • Evil Counterpart: Dreadout 2 shows that Siska is essentially this for Linda. Both of them are descended from prominent families with supernatural powers, but while Linda's family were apparently defenders of humanity, Siska is descended from a long line of leaders of a dark cult that worships the evil spirit-god Blorong. The ending of Keepers of the Dark even shows that the two of them are physically similar in appearance other than their age difference.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In Act 0, and also at one point in Act 2.
  • Fanservice: Linda's alternate costumes are not Stripperiffic by any stretch, but are certainly more revealing than the default school uniform, especially the casual outfit with the ripped jeans. They also show that quite some care went to her assets.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: The main feature of the gameplay.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Several of the ghosts are based on Indonesian mythology and even the story seems to be taking the mythology of Ouroboros as one of its main aspects. The hint for Ouroboros is immediately seen on the logo, if one takes a closer look at the O from out.
    • The "BFF" Steam Achievement is unlocked by taking a photo of Ira near the beginning of Act 1. Yeah, she and Linda are best friends according to the game's lore. But one would easily notice the heartbreak symbol, splitting the letters into half. By the middle of Act 1, Ira gets separated from Linda, and on Act 2, we witness Ira's death, right in the first-person perspective of her protagonist BFF.
  • Ghostly Gape: At least one apparition has this appearance (albeit with white eyes above a black mouth).
  • Ghost Town: Where the characters get stuck in. It's left ambiguous as to whether the place was abandoned (lots of cars and such suggest people certainly didn't plan to leave), whether the ghosts killed everyone, or if it's not really abandoned at all and the characters are simply trapped in some sort of parallel version of the town. The sequel implies it was an abandoned ghost town, but doesn't go into detail about whatever happened to the people who used to live there.
  • Go into the Light: If Linda dies, she finds herself in a black void with some candles around her and can return to try again by walking into a bright light.
  • Girly Run: Linda runs in this manner.
  • Haunted House: Or rather, lots of haunted houses making up a haunted village. The most notable haunted house would by the Lady in Red's manor, which becomes an isolated level all on its own in Keepers of the Dark.
  • Hub Level: The main location of Keepers of the Dark, in the form of a Portal Crossroad World.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • And how. As far as we know, the phone used by Linda is a normal smartphone.
    • Early in Act 2, Linda briefly takes an umbrella to defend herself.
  • Large Ham: Linda's "friend" you encounter in Act 0, and possessed Ira in Act 2.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While talking to Suzie possessed Ira, she tries to point out that Linda doesn't even care about her enough to even know her phone number. If you actually put in Ira's correct number, she'll admit she was wrong and say "Achievement unlocked" just when you unlock the Call Me Maybe achievement.
  • Magical Camera: Camera applications and devices seem to act as catalyst for Linda's newfound power.
  • Meaningful Name: IrisPhone. The iris is responsible for altering the size of the pupil to control the amount of light received by the eye.
  • Mirror World: The setting of Keepers of the Dark. Most of the game involves revisiting old areas with slight differences, such as the school being filled with mannequins. It is also accessed and eventually left through a mirror.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Depending on a choice to be made near the end: going back into the school to confront the Lady in Red, or just escape.
    • Even the true ending has a small difference depending on a choice the player made in Act 2.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The Stinger of the alternate ending. A funny scene shows that Yayan was just stuck in a bathroom in the school all the time. We see this, however, after witnessing Linda's death in a car crash.
    • Also Linda chasing a classmate into an abandoned building and sitting across from her in a tiny room with a creepy doll until the girl starts blabbing on and on as if nothing is wrong.
    • The end of Act 0. You fight a monstrous ghost entity, wake up violently... then watch your classmates play in the background and have cheery music play over your best friend smiling at you.
    • Linda and Ira chat and play in front of the school as the rest of the group explores the town. Cue one student missing, Ira getting possessed and everything going down from that.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: The Third Sister while possessing Ira implies that the Sisters and their servants don't kill humans unless they're actively at war with the Spirits. This is backed up by Dreadout: The Untolds, which reveals that Doni and Shelly were killed by the Genderuwo, who is Siska's servant. The Second Sister was just possessing Doni's corpse after defeating the Genderuwo. That said, Third Sister will kill Ira if you provoke her too much, so it seems to be more a guideline than a rule.
  • Nightmare Face: And how. There's a lot of them from the ghosts, just look at the page image above.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Indonesian rock band Koil makes an appearance in Keepers of the Dark as a boss: they are resurrected by a fan who goes as far as collecting some of their objects to perform a dark ritual. The true band members are very much alive.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: In DreadOut 2, some of the ghosts early in the game actually won't attack you if you don't attack them, and you can even hold conversations with them. Based on their dialogue, it appears Linda's supernatural powers have evolved enough that some monsters from the Other Side respect her enough to not want to mess with her.
  • Optional Boss: After collecting all three Soldier's Medals, Linda can explore the town at nighttime, facing ghosts that are not normally encountered in the game such as Pocong, Kuntilanak, and a Young Genderuwo.
  • Pig Man: Babi Ngepet. A large sized pig/boar with a human face when viewed with the camera.
  • Point of No Return: In Dreadout 2, reaching the end of the forest in Chapter 5 marks the point where you can no longer revisit earlier areas and are set on a straight path to the end of the game. You should finish all achievements/sidequests before this if you're interested in them. You can revisit chapters after beating the game, you retain your collectibles but this resets your sidequest progress.
  • Puzzle Boss: Several ghosts can only be defeated if you solve a puzzle in connection to the environment around them.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The sequel indicates that the Sisters lived during "ancient times", suggesting they're centuries if not millennia old. However, Dreadout: The Untolds indicates that the Second Sister is only about 70-100 years old, but also shows First Sister/Lady in Red is old enough to have fought off the Portuguese conquistadors centuries ago. It's possible the Three Sisters are not biological sisters, but rather those who become the guardians of the seal on Blorong.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black:
    • The student characters we've seen in the game are wearing their school uniforms during their field trip, which is quite the standard in many Indonesian schools.
    • Averted with Bayu from the comic, who wears more normal casual clothes.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The sequel confirms that the Sisters were guarding the Great Serpent, Blorong, in order to keep her sealed away. By defeating the Sisters, Linda allowed Siska to escape with an infant Blorong for her own nefarious agenda.
  • Secret Legacy: The sequel reveals that Linda is descended from a line of spiritual warriors, accounting for her supernatural abilities (channeled through her smartphone) and ability to fight hostile ghosts.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with more questions than answers.
    • Elaborated on in the Interquel, Keepers of the Dark, which implies that DreadOut was the story of the villain releasing a Sealed Evil in a Can and attaining a power that needs to be confronted in a sequel.
    • DreadOut 2 ends having reasonably wrapped up all loose plot threads (most lingering questions concerning the events of the first game are addressed, and the Big Bad is seemingly abruptly killed), but ends so abruptly without any real denouement that it feels like they expected to continue the story in a sequel.
      • An August 2020 patch added a new Post-Final Boss and extended ending that seems to set things up for a sequel. After you stab her, Siska transforms into a spirit monster that you fight. The game cuts to Linda's neighborhood, where it's shown that Blorong's tower and the Meat Moss from the spirit world is now manifesting en-masse in the real world, resulting in a military response and confusion amongst the civilians.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Act 0, you can find a girl just standing there facing the wall.
    • There are some in the Steam achievements, such as
    • Early in Act 2, you'll find a shack full of stuff: a giant pair of scissors, an health pack, a typewriter, a whip and a vintage camera.
    • Also in Act 2 there's a bizarre skeleton waving at a TV camera nearby. This is a rather morbid reference to an actual Indonesian reality program that basically consisted in participants staying at least one night, followed by infrared cameras, in places said to be haunted; they could give up any moment by waving. The program was cancelled because of the rumor of one participant having died, which caused a warning from the local broadcasting commission. The rumor was later confirmed to be false. The show was re-broadcasted in 2014.
  • Silent Protagonist: Linda. She does gasp or shriek when hurt or pants when out of breath, but doesn't actually speak. There's only one instance where she actually says anything and that is during one of the endings, saying "Scary".
  • Silent Snarker: Linda. Despite not talking, her facial expressions, especially when interacting with Ira in front of the school, show her snarky nature.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Naturally applies to most of the female ghosts here.
  • The Quiet One: Save for a few gasps and grunts, Linda doesn't say much and doesn't really talk with the other characters, even if they're having a conversation with her.
  • The Stinger: Both possible endings have one.
    • In the good ending, it shows that the evil has begun spreading outside the town and Linda is tied to it.
    • In the bad ending, it shows that Yayan was simply locked in one of the school bathrooms the whole time.
  • The Stoic: Downplayed. Linda does show emotions, but not as much as her friends do. Heck, Even comments that Linda was never the type to panic or be surprised by anything. Act 2, however, puts Linda in front of more traumatic events.
  • Tongue-Tied: When trying to figure out how Doni might have died since she doesn't think her sister did it, the Third Sister is instantly forced into her ghost form and all you hear are screams before she explains that she's not allowed to explain certain things about how ghosts work.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Downplayed with Linda and Ira. They're both Childhood Friends, but are not above playfully hurting each other (i.e. slapping, play choking).
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Happens near the end, twice.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Yayan is unknown in the true ending. We get to see him in the alternate ending, though.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After the fall of some debris makes it impossible for the possessed Doni to reach Linda, the ghost who possesses him just breaks his neck. Subverted when the Third Sister reveals that they won't kill, implying that Doni was already dead when you ran into him, and the ghost only broke his neck to freak Linda out.
    • However, given that Third Sister will kill Ira via Neck Snap in that exact same conversation if you insult her, she's clearly lying when she says the sisters won't kill the living. At the same time, she does imply that Doni was already a corpse when Second Sister possessed him.
  • Uncertain Doom: Yayan's fate is left ambiguous; you never find his body, and in fact in the bad ending it's revealed he was simply locked inside a bathroom while everyone else was running around being chased by ghosts. In DreadOut 2, Linda is referred to as the Sole Survivor of the abandoned village incident, but Yayan is noticeably absent during a dream sequence in which Linda sees the corpses of everyone else who was killed during the incident. Dreadout: The Untolds shows that Yayan was let out of the bathroom by the Headmaster, who he runs away from after a humorous conversation. Notably, the Headmaster appears to be human rather than a ghost, and it's possibly implied that Yayan was somehow teleported to the year 1985.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • In Dreadout 2, there's only 1 Black Dreadling in the labyrinth under Siska's mansion. It always runs, making it much faster than the regular Dreadlings, which makes it very difficult to defeat with the irisphone since it usually runs too close to you before you can hit it with the camera.
    • The Pocong Pacul (hoe-wielding Pocong) mini-boss only appears once in the game, in the labyrinth under Siska's mansion. It's easy to miss, too, as it only appears if you use the key on the locked display case after already removing the key item in the case. Not triggering it's appearance causes you to miss its entry in the Ghostpedia.