Red Barrels is Making Some "Minor Adjustments" to Outlast 2's Difficulty

Red Barrels is Making Some "Minor Adjustments" to Outlast 2's Difficulty

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If you thought Outlast 2 was too hard, Red Barrels may agree with you.

Outlast 2 launched on April 25, and since then has been trying to scare the pants off everyone that plays it. It's also reportedly quite difficult. So difficult, in fact, that developer Red Barrels is releasing a new patch to tone it done a bit, at least on Normal difficulty.

In the patch notes, the developer says that the "developers also learned something while going through countless streams, let's plays, and reviews; perhaps they were a little too sadistic." In response, there's a new patch, Red Barrels says that, "Today's patch introduces some minor adjustments to the game's difficulty in key areas and moments. On Normal difficulty this will offer players a more appropriately balanced experience while still maintaining higher levels of challenge on Hard and Nightmare difficulties."

As with any patch, there are also some bug fixes and other things tossed in. You can see the full list of what's included over on the game's Steam Community page.

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Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Aerosteam:
Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Developers still do QA?

JCAll:

Aerosteam:
Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Developers still do QA?

Apparently? I even looked up the credits before posting - a QA team was definitely involved. What a time to be alive, sometimes I'm not even sure if sufficient compliance testing was done for most video games. :|

Aerosteam:

JCAll:

Aerosteam:
Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Developers still do QA?

Apparently? I even looked up the credits before posting - a QA team was definitely involved. What a time to be alive, sometimes I'm not even sure if sufficient compliance testing was done for most video games. :|

difficulty isn't really covered by QA's job description. it's more a design aspect, and testers should be focusing primarily on bugs. play-testers are the people that would give feedback on difficulty--but they're basically gaming's version of test audiences and won't necessarily reflect the majority opinion (and may well be outside a developer's budget, depending). we all know how useless or stupid focus groups can be.

either way, testers are playing games for a living, and it's their job to deliberately break them. they're not exactly the best measure for the average-skilled gamer. it can be hard to say for sure if something's "too hard" (if we're not talking outrageous/completely unfair difficulty) when your "focus group" is a bunch of hardcore gamers whose main focus is breaking the game in as many ways as humanly possible. testers may also be using cheats to get to certain points in the game in order to make sure a bug is fixed or check a specific chapter/section, so that can also skew things.

or they just didn't really listen to their (play-)testers. that's always a possibility.

saluraropicrusa:

Aerosteam:

JCAll:

Developers still do QA?

Apparently? I even looked up the credits before posting - a QA team was definitely involved. What a time to be alive, sometimes I'm not even sure if sufficient compliance testing was done for most video games. :|

Snipsnapbibbitybap

It may not be the focus of QA but it can be a by-product while testing for errors. Testers can be monitored on how often or how quick they fail at the same time as testing for death animations, checkpoints, loading times, etc. But eh, this is just a lesson for Red Barrels to not make the same mistake next time and at least they're paying attention to the public opinion.

QA can test for both bugs and play experience. It's just a different type of testing and doesn't normally happen at the same time.

Maybe this is the scripter in me, but I'm kinda curious as to what they actually changed. The only thing they say is that certain moments are easier.

Chaosian:
QA can test for both bugs and play experience. It's just a different type of testing and doesn't normally happen at the same time.

Maybe this is the scripter in me, but I'm kinda curious as to what they actually changed. The only thing they say is that certain moments are easier.

I'll bet $100 its nothing more than decreasing enemy damage and/or increasing the pc's health. I'll give an outside shot that they slow down NPC reaction time, but I doubt it.

Aerosteam:
Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Within a horror game it can be easy to overlook difficulty concerns because you designed and know the correct decision to make at the time. Knowing the way forward can make it difficult to see any problems in arriving at that decision for the uninformed.

Its an issue with puzzle and horror games. I mean, go replay a static one. Something that took a lot of time and effort the first go around takes seconds and makes you wonder how you missed the obvious back then.

Aerosteam:

saluraropicrusa:

Aerosteam:
Apparently? I even looked up the credits before posting - a QA team was definitely involved. What a time to be alive, sometimes I'm not even sure if sufficient compliance testing was done for most video games. :|

Snipsnapbibbitybap

It may not be the focus of QA but it can be a by-product while testing for errors. Testers can be monitored on how often or how quick they fail at the same time as testing for death animations, checkpoints, loading times, etc. But eh, this is just a lesson for Red Barrels to not make the same mistake next time and at least they're paying attention to the public opinion.

it sounds like the changes weren't anything major, anyway. besides that, testers are by no means a representative sample of the gamer population, so it's much easier to assess such an issue once the game is in the hands of a lot more people.

Elijin:

Aerosteam:
Shouldn't this have been done during QA?

Within a horror game it can be easy to overlook difficulty concerns because you designed and know the correct decision to make at the time. Knowing the way forward can make it difficult to see any problems in arriving at that decision for the uninformed.

Its an issue with puzzle and horror games. I mean, go replay a static one. Something that took a lot of time and effort the first go around takes seconds and makes you wonder how you missed the obvious back then.

also, this. my dad did design work for Myst IV: Revelations, and i vaguely remember him talking about the design process for the puzzles being a bit of a mess because the designers weren't approaching the puzzle solutions the way a completely uninformed new player would; they already knew the solution so they were unintentionally making the puzzles too hard.

To be honest, I'm hoping this fixes the whole "I walk into a room and die with little warning" scenario that keeps showing up. There should be at least some kind of hint at some points in the game that something bad will happen and it felt like a few of those red flags were missing.

 

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