Interview: Outcast: A New Beginning Revives The Beloved Open-World Classic

game cover
Outcast: A New Beginning - via Appeal Studios

The much-awaited sequel to the open-world action-adventure returns as Outcast: A New Beginning. The game throws players an intense, robots-battered, detailed open world in a third-person shooter. With the same concepts and world settings from the original Outcast, the new game aims to give players more freedom to explore the campaign however they desire. 

To gain more insights on the Outcast: A New Beginning’s development, community feedback, and inspirations, we interviewed Andreas Shmiedecker, the Game’s Producer for THQ Nordic over email. 

Outcast: A New Beginning – via Appeal Studios

Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your work on Outcast.

Andreas: My name is Andreas Schmiedecker, I’m the Game’s Producer for THQ Nordic (Publisher).

The original game did exceptionally well for its time, but of course, the gaming industry has changed drastically since then. In what ways does the sequel appeal to the modern audience while keeping the core elements of the decades-old title?

Andreas: Outcast is such an iconic IP – it was an open-world game before there were any other open-world games. It gave the players unprecedented freedom to do quests in any order they liked. And it also was a beautiful, exotic world, nothing like a player had seen before. So when we (THQ Nordic) acquired the rights to this classic IP, it was always clear that we wanted to revive it. We are very happy with the result and the reactions of old fans have been very positive so far.

I think in this day and age we see a lot of dystopian and rather dark versions of the future. One thing that’s different about Outcast is its brighter outlook, both in the story and in its art style. It is mostly connected to this beautiful world that is called Adelpha. Both the plants and animals, but also the Talans, who live there, are very unique and fantastic. We tried to make it both familiar to Earth, but also feel very alien.

Another big inspiration for the unique art style was classic science fiction – movies, but also comics. While many other games give a rather dark and pessimistic feeling of the future, we wanted it to be more bright and colorful!

The developer of the game, Appeal Studios from Charleroi, Belgium, is a small team, comprised of some veterans who already worked on Outcast 1 back in 1999, and lots of newcomers. But they all share the love for the planet Adelpha and the excitement of providing a unique experience that immerses you in the fantastic world they have built.

Open World of Outcast A New Beginning
Outcast: A New Beginning – via Appeal Studios

The sequel focuses a lot on the freedom aspect, which several other titles in the open-world genre adopt in their own unique way. Which ones would you say are comparable to Outcast: A New Beginning in their depiction? 

Andreas: The team was mostly inspired by the approach of games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both in its freedom and its approach to verticality.

There have been some rumors that a sequel to the original game was planned since the beginning and that Outcast 1.1 was an attempt to revive the hype and get funding for the sequel. Could you tell us whether there is any truth to those rumors?

Andreas: We never comment on rumors 😊 But the team was very dedicated to bringing Outcast back and explored all possibilities to realize this sequel after more than 20 years. We (THQ Nordic) are extremely happy that we can publish this game now.

Are there any plans to bring a French dub of the game in the future? Even though Patrick Poivey may no longer be with us, there are many original fans who would love to play the game in French.

Andreas: The game features voiceover and text in French.

Expansive Open World
Outcast: A New Beginning – via Appeal Studios

What were some of the difficulties of transforming the core assets from the original game? Especially since the original game does not have as many details in the graphics/textures.

Andreas: Outcast: A New Beginning was built completely anew from the ground up. Of course, the art team had to make sure that the established style was consistent and that all the lore details were correct. For this, we worked hand in hand with the community that had been active for all these years, keeping Outcast alive in fan forums and websites. But, from a technical standpoint, everything was built new.

Outcast was one of the first games to use new Voxel Technology and raytracing. But will the sequel use the latest upscaling technology like DLSS, FSR, and XeSS at launch or later in the future?

Andreas: The game supports DLSS at launch. We’re currently looking at adding more technologies in future patches.

Is Outcast: A New Beginning set to be the start of a potential revival of the IP? Can we expect to see more in the future?

Andreas: We are excited to bring back Outcast and have received a lot of positive feedback about that. In the future, we’ll be happy to expand on it further, but nothing has been decided yet.

Were there any features or ideas that didn’t make it to the final version?

Andreas: Yes, there are always lots of aspects you need to skip, mainly due to time and budget restraints. One thing that we would have loved to expand on, was more interactions with the creatures, wildlife, and plants of Adelpha. We hope we can do this next time.

Outcast: A New Beginning is an open-world third-person action-adventure sequel to the original Outcast from 1999. The game was developed by Appeal Studios and published by THQ Nordic. The game was released on 15 March 2024 for PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5. 

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