The first game, Outbreak, is a 2D Top-Down View game taking place in an abandoned hospital during a city-wide zombie outbreak. Either alone or in up to 4-player co-op, players take control of one of four survivors and must explore the hospital for a means to escape while dealing with the zombies within. It was released on Steam on June 17th, 2017.
The second game, Outbreak: The New Nightmare, is a 3D third-person perspective game with fixed camera angles but a floating tracking camera (similar to Resident Evil – Code: Veronica). Following a new group of survivors, the game takes place in various locations around the zombie-infested city. Players select which of several levels they wish to play, and play through to gain experience to upgrade their character. It was released on January 5th, 2018
The third game, Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles, is more single-player focused than the previous games. It has fixed static camera angles and takes place in a series of seperate independent rooms (similar to the early Resident Evil games), unlike the 2nd game where each location was a single continuous map. Players take the role of Lydia, an off-duty cop and one of the survivors from the second game, who finds herself seperated from her group and taking shelter in an old mansion in the countryside, which seems to have ties to the origins of the outbreak. It was released on April 2nd, 2018.
The fourth game, Outbreak: Lost Hope, changes from the fixed camera third-person perspective of the previous two games to a more modern Always Over the Shoulder camera. Players take the role of Gwen, a mother searching for her missing daughter Hope after a car crash in the zombie-infested countryside. It was released on April 22nd, 2019.
The fifth game, Outbreak: Epidemic (originally titled Outbreak: Pandemic until real life events made a change of title seem prudent), continues with the previous game's over-the-shoulder camera gameplay, while returning to the mission-based co-op gameplay of the second game. It follows a 3rd new group of survivors: Gwen (from Lost Hope), Tom, Kara, and Renault. It came out on Early Access on July 9th, 2019, and saw a full release on February 11, 2020.
The sixth game, Outbreak: Endless Nightmares is set immediately after the events of The Nightmare Chronicles, and follows Lydia and her 5 companions from the 2nd game who seem to have found themselves trapped in some sort of spacetime anomaly or Dying Dream. The game features rogue-like/rogue-lite elements, with players operating out of a hub area to explore procedurally generated areas. It can be played with classic fixed camera angles, over-the-shoulder third-person camera, or in first person mode. It was released May 19th, 2021.
The seventh game in the series, Outbreak: Contagious Memories, is similar to the 3rd and 4th games in that it focuses on a single-player campaign experience, and is also the first game in the series to feature cutscenes and voice acting. Like the previous game, it can be played either over-the-shoulder third person, with classic fixed camera angles, or from a first person perspective. The game follows Lydia as she awakens in a warehouse with two other survivors, and must find a way to escape the zombie infested city. It was released April 6th, 2022.
The Outbreak series contains examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital: The setting of the first game is a zombie-infested hospital.
- Action Mom: The fourth game has you take the role of Gwen, a mother in search of her missing daughter Hope.
- Apocalyptic Log: In true Survival Horror fashion, notes from the former occupants of whatever location you're exploring can be found giving you some hints as to what happened before you arrived.
- The Big Guy: Renault in the 5th game is a massive firefighter, who's easily as big and brawny as the game's Tyrant Expy. He specializes in shotguns and two-handed melee weapons, and depending on class he either has a massive inventory size, or regains health by doing melee attacks at the cost of a smaller inventory.
- Checkpoint Starvation: The 2nd and 5th games have no saving, so if you die in the middle of a level you have to play the entire level all the way through from the beginning.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: Up to four people can play the first and fifth games together, and the second game has two-player co-op.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: Lampshaded in the page image taken from the first game, where a code was written on the bathroom mirror in blood, and the character asks why would anyone do this.
- Downer Ending:
- The third game ends with Lydia blowing up the mansion and the viral laboratory underneath it, but this doesn't really achieve anything since the damage is already long done. Also, she succumbs to the infection and turns into a zombie, attacking a group of survivors who find her (who may be the other survivors from the second game). A collectible note in the 5th game indicates She Got Better... somehow.
- The fourth game ends with Gwen realizing her daughter was Dead All Along and that she's delusional, and may have even kidnapped someone else's daughter believing her to be her own. However, she comes to terms with what she's done and resolves to try and help other survivors.
- The fifth game ends with the survivors escaping in a helicopter just as a nuke goes off to wipe out the city and the infection with it. However, the blast causes the helicopter's systems to shut down... while it's high in the air.
- Emergency Weapon: If you run out of ammo, you can use a melee weapon to fight the zombies with, but you're pretty much guaranteed to lose health doing so. Often, it's best to not even pick up a melee weapon as it uses up one of your limited inventory slots. The fifth games introduces a character who specializes in melee weapons, getting some of his health back for every enemy killed in melee.
- Enter Solution Here: A number of locks throughout the games require a numerical code to open.
- Giant Mook: From the 2nd game onward there are two enemy types that serve as bosses of sorts (referred to as Brutes in the statistics screen), usually found at the end of a level or guarding a key item. One is a large, bald, muscular zombie with a giant clawed hand, and the other is a 7-foot tall bipedal molerat-like creature that resembles the Demogorgon. Both take a lot of hits to bring down and advance on you relentlessly once triggered. In the early games they can take 30+ pistol shots to kill and pretty much require either the magnum or grenade launcher to effectively kill, though they become more manageable in the later games.
- Government Conspiracy: The first game implies the zombies were caused by unethical government experimentation on helpless hospital patients in an attempt to discover a cure for death. When they kept making zombies instead it was clear their research was a failure, but they kept going anyway to justify their budget expenditure. The later games drop this plot thread, instead attributing the zombies to an evil nameless corporation doing viral research in order to create bioweapon creatures.
- Hand Cannon: The magnum pistol kills most regular enemies in one shot and takes down bosses in just a handful of shots.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Your inventory is limited, so you have to pick and choose what you carry and what you leave behind. The most extreme example is the second game, where most characters have only 4 inventory slots (which is just enough for a weapon, ammo for that weapon, and a key item, with one space left for something else) and one character has 6 slots as their special ability (3 other characters can obtain a 6 slot inventory as the final upgrade in their upgrade tree).
- Let's Play: Two Best Friends Play did an episode featuring the second game during one of their Halloween horror game marathons. They ultimately concluded that the ultra-low indie budget really showed.
- Locked Door: A lot of the doors are locked, and the hunt to locate keys for them is an important gameplay element. However, one of the playable characters in the first game, Alendra, starts with a lockpick that allows for bypassing simple locks... but this is offset by greater vulnerability to all attacks.
- Missing Child: In the fourth game, Gwen has been separated from her daughter, Hope. The goal of the game is to find her.
- One-Word Title: Naturally, with a title like "Outbreak".
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Bipedal lizard monsters half the Player Character's size serve as Elite Mooks, being faster, more damaging, and having much more health than the zombies.
- Resources Management Gameplay: It's a survival horror game after all. Downplayed in the 2nd and 5th games, though; since the levels are one large continuous map, you have to kill every enemy you encounter or else they'll just follow you from room to room until you've got a conga line of a dozen zombies chasing you. As a result, rather than deciding which zombies you can evade to save ammo, like in Resident Evil, resources management instead becomes more about remembering where ammo you didn't have enough inventory room to pick up is so you can go back for it later if you start to run low or change your carried weapon. The 3rd game is more of a traditional survival horror experience, with separated rooms and an inventory box in safe rooms, so you're able to save ammo by evading zombies and stockpile it for later use.
- RPG Elements: The second and fifth games have your earning experience to upgrade your character as you play the game.
- Save Point: The third and fourth games, which are more single-player focused, have computers which serve that purpose (provided you have a floppy disk in your inventory).
- Shotguns Are Just Better: A shotgun can be used as a weapon. It one-shots zombies at close range, and can take out the lizard monsters with just a few shots.
- Timed Mission:
- One section in the fifth game has the survivors in a cave filling with gas. They need to find and collect train parts to fix said train before time runs out.
- The final level of the fifth game gives you 80 minutes to escape the city before a nuke goes off and destroys everything. However, the level only takes 30-40 minutes playing normally, and it's extremely unlikely it would take anyone the full 80 minutes to finish the level.
- Women Are Wiser: The two male player characters in the 5th game are unable to combine healing items, but have more specialized combat stats as a trade-off.
- Zombie Gait: The zombies from the second game onward certainly have it.