Outlast 2 has an interesting story and ending. The cutscenes bring up more questions than answers and it’s up to the player to fill in the blanks and connect the dots. It’s one of those stories where you have to read “between the lines”, where the little details matter far more than the bigger picture.
In a very unique way, the game does much of its story-telling through collectibles (55 documents and 50 video recordings). Finding and reviewing these collectibles is vital to understanding what’s really going on.
After 10 playthroughs and reviewing all collectibles here’s my understanding of Outlast 2’s events and a synopsis of the story.
Theories and explanations are further down after the synopsis.
- You play as Blake Langermann, husband and cameraman to your wife Lynn Langermann, who is an investigate journalist. Together you embark on a trip to find clues on the murder of a pregnant woman in rural Arizona.
- The game begins with a helicopter ride. Blake wakes up from a dream he had about Jessica Gray, a girl he was friends with in 4th grade. Jessica committed suicide, a memory that haunts Blake to this day. Blake and Lynn briefly talk about Jessica and then record an intro for their news report about the murder.
- Suddenly, there’s a flash of light and the helicopter engines fail. The helicopter crashes. Blake and Lynn get separated. The helicopter pilot is found skinned on a tree near the crash site. He clearly didn’t get skinned in the crash so Blake knows something weird is going on.
- Blake is now trying to find Lynn. On his search he encounters some hostile villagers. Everyone is out to kill him. It’s up to the player to escape. Along the way there will be another flash of light, causing all enemies to be in a state of paralysis. It’s evident that the light has a strong effect but Blake resists.
- Blake reunites with Lynn. He wants to know what happened but she refuses to say. Her only wish is to get away from here. Over the speakers, prophet Knoth can be heard, saying that he examined Lynn’s womb and concluded she is pregnant. He announces that the child of Lynn and Blake is the antichrist (devil) and calls out his followers, the “Christians”, to find Lynn and kill her before the child is born. (Note: the villagers see themselves as good Christians but Knoth’s teachings are deluded and advocate murder and blood sacrifice. They use the symbols of Christians but their faith is very distorted).
- Blake and Lynn run into a Christian search party. Then the “heretics” join them. They are a different cult that opposes the Christians. The heretics kill the Christians and take Lynn away. Blake is left alone in the dark woods.
- Blake escapes the remaining Christians and then there’s another flash of light. He now has his first vision (or hallucination / daydream). He’s suddenly back in the catholic school he went to in 4th grade, where his classmate Jessica committed suicide.
- After the vision you meet a lone villager called Ethan who is friendly and wants to protect you from the crazy people. From him you learn that the woman whose murder you’re investigating was his daughter, Anna Lee. She was raped by the prophet Knoth who got her pregnant. Knoth then wanted Ethan to slit Anna’s belly and kill the child. Ethan made up some stories to give Anna time to run away. As you learnt during the initial helicopter ride the police report said she had a lot of mercury in her blood and concluded that she strangled herself to death. Her murder remains unsolved.
- Blake finds shelter in the basement of Ethan’s house. He must then witness how Marta, a very hostile old hag, murders Ethan with an axe. Blake waits quietly in the basement and then escapes.
- Again Blake must escape some Christian search parties until he reaches the chapel. In the chapel he encounters a man who had his eyes cut out and is strapped to a wheel. His name is Josiah. The reason why he is being tortured is because he didn’t give up the location where the heretics are hiding Lynn.
- Blake hides in the chapel’s confessional box. Now he witnesses Knoth and his followers torturing Mary in front of Josiah. Mary is Josiah’s yokemate (spouse). Eventually Josiah gives up the location of Lynn to stop Mary’s pain, but Knoth kills them both anyway. Blake overheard the conversation and learned that Lynn is being held by the heretics in the mines. His goal is now to get to the mines to rescue Lynn.
- Blake makes his way through some other hostile areas and has a new vision of the school, this time not proceeded by the bright light. After the visions he finds himself on a hilltop. He tries to go over a broken bridge but an insect swarm comes flying at him and he falls down into the trees below. Now he goes through these dark woods and encounters Laird (a midget archer) and Nick (a bigger guy who is the archer’s mount). Laird is sitting on Nick’s shoulders and fires arrows. Blake escapes, has another school vision. After the school vision he is suddenly in the camp of Nick and Laird.
- Laird proclaims Blake the long awaited Scalled Messiah. He wants Blake to be reborn. To start the “rebirth process” they will nail Blake to a holy cross and leave him to die. Blake escapes by tearing his hands through the nails which wounds him badly. He escapes the camp but eventually gets caught in a fence where Laird and Nick pick him up again. This time they bury him alive to complete the rebirth.
- Yet again Blake can escape. Nick didn’t put enough dirt on the casket and as a result Blake could push it open from the inside and get out.
- Now Blake finds a rope with which he is planning to escape the woods. Laird and Nick get pushed down by some of the Scalled (who are the third faction in the game, outcasts living in the woods). Laird and Nick die from the fall.
- Blake’s visions start to get worse. He now sees demons chasing him. The visions will become much more frequent from here on out.
- Eventually Blake reaches a boat where he can make a raft and use it to go downriver. After a ~15 minute raft ride he will have his worst vision yet. He’s in the swimming pool of the school and the showers, toilets and flame detectors start to spray blood everywhere. After this vision it starts to rain blood outside. Blake’s hallucinations are now at their worst.
- On the path to the mines the school visions become more frequent and the demon that is chasing him in the school is getting more aggressive. He also runs into some of the heretic enemies before reaching the elevator to the mines. The elevator breaks and falls down but Blake survives the accident unharmed.
- He now goes through the pitch-black mines where he encounters Val, the female leader of the heretics and her followers. The heretics have Lynn and will try to kill Blake to stop him from taking her away. After all, they want Lynn’s child and anyone who’s in the way will be murdered. The only thing heretics are wearing is a crown on their head (made out of some branches), other than that they are completely naked.
- Val chases Blake through the mines. He escapes Val but then accidentally slides into the camp of the heretics where they have Lynn. One heretic blows some dust of unknown origin into Blake’s face. Blake can see Lynn in the distance; she is strapped into some contraption. The heretics are gathered around her. Blake is being grabbed by Val (the heretic boss) and has another vision – the most revealing one yet.
- During this vision it is revealed what happened to Jessica and why Blake is being haunted by those memories to this day. Jessica was fooling around with Blake in the kitchen’s storage room after school (their hiding spot). Blake repeatedly told Jessica that he likes Lynn and has been kissing Lynn already. Jessica is clearly interested in Blake and holding hands with him as they are trying to exit the school. On their way out they are seen by Father Loutermilch, one of the teachers. It’s a catholic school with strict rules (and they are only in 4th grade). Father Loutermilch is suspicious and asks Jessica to step inside the class room to discuss why they’re still in the building so late after class. He reassures Blake that he is not in trouble yet, but Jessica wants Blake to stay because she is scared. Loutermilch questions the two and suspects they were fooling around, which is a big no-no at their catholic school. He sends Blake home. Jessica is really scared of Father Loutermilch, who has a very threatening attitude towards her. She asks Blake to stay but he leaves anyway because Loutermilch told him to. On his way out the school he hears Jessica screaming. He goes back and follows the screams to find that Father Loutermilch has violently beaten Jessica unconscious on the staircase. It is known that Jessica later committed suicide (this not shown directly, just through some notes in the game and she is repeatedly shown hanging from a rope). This event was likely the reason she committed suicide. Blake didn’t love her (he loved Lynn) and didn’t stay with her when she needed him the most. Had he stayed, Loutermilch might not have attacked her so violently. The scene ends with Blake holding Jessica’s unconscious body in his arms.
- Blake wakes up in the mines again. Some enemies chase him to the exit, where he reunites with Lynn. How Lynn got there is unknown.
- Lynn and Blake escape the mines. It’s stormy weather outside, there’s lightning in the sky. Some trees get hit by lightning and go up in flames. They make their way to shelter but Marta (the old hag with the axe) shows up and wants to kill them before the birth. Through sheer luck or some higher power, the holy cross from the top of the church comes flying down and impales Marta. Now Blake and Lynn can escape to the chapel unharmed.
- Lynn has her baby in the chapel and dies shortly after birth. Blake holds the baby and blacks out.
- After he awakes, the prophet Knoth is sitting on a bench next to him. Knoth says that he killed all of his children (by which he means his “Christian” followers, they are all dead in the market square). He advises Blake to crush the baby’s skull with his heels and then slits his throat to end his life.
- Knoth is dead, Lynn is dead, all the “Christians” are dead, there’s no trace of the heretics or scalled. Blake goes down to the market square where all the corpses are. He is holding the baby in his arm. The baby is unharmed.
- At the market square Blake looks at the sun and has one final vision. He sees a girl with a bruise around her neck in the school kitchen. It appears to be Jessica. She says a prayer and the game ends.
- It is not revealed what happened to Blake or his baby.
- THE END.
- The bright light that crashes your helicopter and shows up before school visions is coming from a radio tower / microwave relay by the lake. It emits a strong microwave signal that controls people’s minds (this is explained via a document called “Old Traveler” found at the lake from one of the scientists). That’s why everyone has gone mad (except Ethan for some reason, the guy who protects you). Below is a picture of the full document explaining it:
- The brainwashing experiment is part of Murkoff Corporation’s secret program. They are the same company from the first game that reopened Mount Massive Asylum under false flag to experiment on humans. In the above document you can see the scientist referencing a bet he had with “Jenny Roland”. He means Jennifer Roland, who is known from Outlast 1 to be Murkoff Corp’s Pathologist. This proves the connection to Murkoff and the MKULTRA mind control program.
- In the beginning you (Blake) are still somewhat sane. But as you get closer to the tower and spend more time in the area you lose your mind more and more, get hallucinations and weird dreams of early childhood because the microwave brainwashing signal gets stronger. Blake blames himself for Jessica’s death because he didn’t love her, didn’t protect her when she needed him (she was fooling around with him but Blake liked Lynn. He also left her alone with the bad teacher who assaulted her, even though she asked him to stay because she was scared).
- The demon that haunts you in the school visions is Father Loutermilch, the teacher who violently assaulted Jessica. This can be seen by the scar above his right eye – the demon has the exact same scar. The memory of this event haunts Blake to this day, that’s why he sees Father Loutermilch as a demon in his visions (because Loutermilch was the bad guy and ultimately the reason Jessica committed suicide).
- In the end the microwave signal has gotten so strong that they all just murdered each other (brainwashing experiment, possibly gone wrong). The document speaks of anomalies in the signal strength and mentions that the signal is particularly strong at certain spots. There’s also a mention of the “feedback loop” which causes affected people to do crazy things.
- Blake finally loses his mind. The traumatic experiences and microwave brainwashing signals have broken him. He submits to the signal.
- It remains unknown what happened to the baby or if it was just an illusion to begin with. Maybe it’s just what Blake wanted to see. Before Lynn dies she says “there’s nothing there” which suggests there never was a child. She had been in the mines 800 feet below ground for most of the game, where the brainwashing signal might not be as strong. Blake and Knoth, however, were above ground most of the time and do see the child which could be a hallucination from long exposure to the microwave signal.
Unsolved Mysteries and Theories:
- Was Lynn ever pregnant or not? When you arrive it doesn’t show. There’s a recording immediately after reuniting with her in the end, in which Blake says it’s so cold and snowing outside, but there is no snow. In fact what you see is the world going up in flames, a hot storm and lightning in the sky. So maybe he imagined she’s pregnant, or the microwave signal made everyone think she was. But then half the game wouldn’t make any sense because everyone was after the child. The snow could also be a reference to the snow outside the school dream.
- Another theory is that the game does not take place over the course of a night like it seems, but actually Blake blacked out for weeks or months during the school visions and Lynn may have been 2-3 months pregnant when they arrived and she didn’t tell him (but how could he possibly miss this when they always travel for journalistic work together and live together. He mentions on the river that they haven’t done it in a few months). So it’s possible the game actually takes place over 7-8 months.
- One thing that’s clear is that Blake is getting more delusional as time goes by. This is evident by listening to the recording collectibles and he gets visions more often. There are many unanswered questions… maybe we have to wait for a DLC to get the missing pieces.
- Why was Ethan (guy who takes you in) not affected by the microwave signal? What does he mean when he says he has been “unborn”?
- Why is there a document saying Val is a man when she’s female in the game (Document #7: Val’s Secret)?
- Why does everyone think that Blake’s child is the antichrist?
- How did Lynn escape from the heretics in the mines all by herself? When we find her, she can barely walk without Blake’s support.
- What did Lynn mean when she said “there’s nothing there?” a moment after giving birth? It strongly suggests that she never was pregnant and never had a child, it’s just an illusion. Another theory is that she was talking about afterlife because she said it a second before dying and was delirious (she went to a catholic school, so probably believed in the afterlife). One contradiction is that both Blake and Knoth see the child after birth. Knoth notes this twice; he says after Blake blacks out “that’s the child, isn’t it?” and then goes on to suggest that Blake should kill the baby if he loves anything at all. So either both Blake and Knoth see a child due to mind control, or Lynn didn’t see things clearly while she was dying. Another point is that Lynn was trapped in the mines, 800 feet below ground, for most the game. It’s unlikely the brainwashing signal would reach that far so she was still somewhat sane and hadn’t been affected as much as Blake and Knoth who were above ground the entire time. But then why were the heretics so crazy; they were 800 feet below ground, too?
- During the birth scene the baby doesn’t have a shadow, supporting the theory that it was a hallucination from mind control.
- Furthermore, phantom pregnancies are mentioned in a document from Outlast 1 Whistleblower, titled “Miscarried Profits”. The document says that females can suffer from psychosomatic pregnancies because of how the “Morphogenic Engine” affects their immune system. The Morphogenic Engine was used in the first game to control Walrider (an experimental swarm of nanites). When reuniting with Lynn after the helicopter crash, she refuses to say what the Christians did to her. It’s possible they exposed her to a Morphogenic Engine and that’s why she’s going through the full process of a (phantom) pregnancy over the course of a night.
- All the video recordings taken during visions are corrupted. They have no picture but play a sound (sometimes a shape or logo can be seen flashing in the video file). If you revert the sound via video editing software they actually start to make some sense. A man can be heard speaking some prayers but it’s not clear who it is – could be Blake but he sounds very different in the recordings. The visions happen when the flash of light comes. The microwave signal made the helicopter crash at the start of the game so it probably messes with eletronics and that’s why the camera doesn’t work for a while. The fact that we hear a voice means something was really being recorded and supports the theory that Blake is wandering around in a trance while under the effect of mind control. A document from John, someone who hunted near the towers, reports the same thing. He too had a blackout and woke up miles away in a different direction. In the document he writes “I must have walked from inside my dream state because I found myself on waking a great distance away, and have not been able to trace my steps back to the humming towers”. Blake also wakes up in completely different places after the visions. This could mean much more time went by than the game makes us think. On some of the corrupted recordings it even sounds like two voices speaking. Were the voices possibly other people and did Blake meet up with them but doesn’t remember? The other villagers described in documents that they can’t remember where they went during the visions either and refer to them as “waking dreams”. The video recordings played backwards translate into some prayers and single words. They are all of religious nature but it’s hard to make out every single word.
- Another point John makes in his document is that he saw insects, mouths and sex organs in his visions – exactly the same things Blake was experiencing (mouths coming out of telephones, tongues grabbing him, swarm of insect lifting him up on the bridge). This could mean that mass mind control makes everyone see the same things, e.g. a child or pregnancy that isn’t really there.
- There’s a trophy and achievement for finishing the first playthrough called “Born Again”. Who was reborn (reincarnated)?
- Why does the girl at the end not have a bruise around her neck on the second playthrough, but it’s there on the first playthrough?
- For an in-depth overview of all characters, factions and how they are connected, see: Outlast 2 Characters & Factions.
Video Showcase of All Collectibles
Below is a video showing the contents of all documents and recordings in chronological story order. These provide very interesting hints. Pay attention to collectibles #78, 79, 82. Those explain the mind control and the connection to Murkoff Corporation. Another interesting find is collectible #14 called “Val’s Secret”. It says that Val is a man but in the game he (she) is female.
Have you found another hint or theory? What do you think happened to Blake and the baby? Let’s hear it in the comments below!