Miles Upshur receives an email from an inside source (known only as "the whistleblower") at the Murkoff Corporation that owns the nearby abandoned asylum. Being an investigative journalist, Miles takes advantage of the information and drives to the asylum to investigate the cruel experiments that the email speaks of in order to possibly unravel a great story. With only a camera in his hand, he leaves his vehicle and manages to break into the asylum. Before long, Miles is attacked and eventually trapped in the asylum. With only his camera, that allows Miles to see in the dark, he must escape and try to unravel the secrets of the asylum.
Outlast is a first person horror game that values running from attackers rather than facing them. The game takes advantage of darkness to build atmosphere. Miles' camera has an optional night vision at the cost of battery power. Batteries are limited so players must use the night vision wisely. Players must navigate through the dark corridors and sneak by homicidal patients that roam the hallways of the asylum in order to escape the asylum.