The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio
Hotfix 2 for the "Faithful Cartographer" Test Branch is now live on Windows, Mac, & Linux.

This brings the Test Branch version of the game to v.414T.

For a full list of fixes, please refer to the SPOILER-FILLED Test Branch forums found here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/305620/discussions/8/

(You need to be logged in to Steam and own the game to access the Test Branch discussion forums.)

As always, keep in mind that some people don't want to know the contents of the update until it goes live in the Main Branch, so please do not discuss details of the Test Branch here in the comments, or in the public forums.

Thank you!

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio
Hotfix 1 for the "Faithful Cartographer" Test Branch is now live on Windows and Mac. Linux will follow shortly.

This brings the Test Branch version of the game to v.413T.

For a full list of fixes, please refer to the SPOILER-FILLED Test Branch forums found here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/305620/discussions/8/

(You need to be logged in to Steam and own the game to access the Test Branch discussion forums.)

As always, keep in mind that some people don't want to know the contents of the update until it goes live in the Main Branch, so please do not discuss details of the Test Branch here in the comments, or in the public forums.

Thank you!

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio
*****
UPDATE: Steam is having connection issues currently so this may affect your ability to access the test branch.

Hello everyone,

We've just updated the TEST BRANCH. Keep in mind this is full of SPOILERS.

This is the Test Branch version. Not the FINAL version of the update.

As usual, you need to own the game and be logged into Steam to access the Test Branch sub-forum. All the information you need to opt-in to the Test Branch, as well as detailed Testing Notes, can be found here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/305620/discussions/8/

You must log in to Steam and have the game to view the Test Branch sub-forum; if not, you will see an error when you try to view it.

Please respect our community guidelines when participating in Test Branch discussions.

UPDATE: Windows, Mac, and Linux versions are all live.

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio


Hello community,

We are in the final few days of preparing the next update, FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER, for the Test Branch.

We are aiming to have the Test Branch updated by the end of this week.

As always, the Test Branch is an opt-in Steam branch that is full of spoilers. If you prefer to preserve the next update as a fresh experience, we recommend you wait for the full update release.

Our current estimates on FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER are that it will be ready by the end of May, but this depends on how the testing and finalization process goes.

This "end of May" window should be considered a tentative, aspirational deadline.

We will provide ongoing progress reports and communicate final dates when we get closer.

Also, just a reminder, that with FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER, all current saves will be wiped. Profile data will be preserved, however, so all progress towards Feats, and all saved Journals, will continue to work.

Remember that the Test Branch is insulated from the Live Game so you will not be affected by the save wipe until the full update is released later this month.

SPOILERS: For more information about some of the features and content being added in FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER, refer to this recent dev diary post.

Thank you for your time.

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio


Hello,

As promised prior to last week's "Midweek Madness" sale, the price for The Long Dark has now increased to $34.99 USD, or the equivalent regional pricing based on Valve's recommendations (which are in turn based on the relative buying power of your local currency).

This price change has no impact on current Early Access players who purchased the game at the previous Early Access price. You will still get the promised content on our August 1st launch, as well as the remaining episodes of Season One: WINTERMUTE as they release, for no extra charge.

The previous $19.99 "Early Access Price" reflected the early Alpha state of the game when we launched it in September 2014. Since then, the game has received around 100 updates and a large amount of new content.

We feel this higher price point reflects the true value of the experience, both now, and for the first full season of WINTERMUTE, our story mode, the first two parts of which will launch on August 1st.

Please note that this will be the new price at our August 1st launch, barring any potential launch discounts.

For more information about The Long Dark, our launch plans, including pricing and included content, please visit www.thelongdark.com, or check out our FAQ.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our efforts.

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Apocalyptically icy survive ’em up The Long Dark [official site] will start its story campaign and leave early access on August 1st, developers Hinterland Studio have announced. The ‘Wintermute’ story will see a pilot try to find his partner and learn what’s going on as the world goes to icehell, and comes in five episodes – the first two of which will be available at launch. Another big early access update is coming before then, mind. Hinterland say it will bring a new UI, cartography, and the option to do terrible things to rabbits. First, have a peek at Wintermute: … [visit site to read more]

The Long Dark

Despite being Kickstarted in late 2013, arriving in Early Access the following year, and launching several wholesome updates along the way, The Long Dark has long missed one key feature: a story mode. Now, after a two and a half year wait, this is no longer the case. 

Just over three weeks ago, the survival exploration game's developer Hinterland Studio launched an unspecified countdown timer which we—and the game's corner of Reddit—suspected was related to the much-anticipated story mode. 

Of course nothing was certain until the clock had run its course. Now it has and, due on August 1, 2017, the first two episodes of The Long Dark's five-part 'Wintermute' story mode will arrive. It looks something like this: 

As for what it entails, the first pair of Wintermute episodes centre on bush pilot Will Mackenzie and Dr. Astrid Greenwood and the events that unfold following their separation out in the wilderness. I've read over the blurb that now features on the game's website, and while it's not overly spoiler heavy I'll avoid spilling the (cold) beans here and let you browse that at your leisure.  

It is worth noting that the devs reckon that "6-10 hours [duration] for the two episodes seems pretty consistent". Hinterland also notes that episodes three to five will arrive between now and "into 2018." 

Prior to the arrival of the elusive story mode, a relatively extensive update to the game's sandbox mode is also expected—which will introduce an overhauled save system, reworked UI, and an "opt-in" map system, among other things. Full details of that can be found in this direction.  

The Long Dark's Early Access variation out now on the Humble Store for £14.99/$19.99. Its Story Mode is due August 1, which is when the game will also release in full. 

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.  

The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio
***NOTE: This post contains Story Mode spoilers.***



***NOTE: This post contains Story Mode spoilers.***

Dear Community,

It’s been some months since you heard from me. Last time, I shared an update with you that shed some light on the challenges of working through Story Mode development through 2016. This time, I’m happy to share some definitive news, not only about Story Mode, but about our next Sandbox update as well.

Today, I’m here to tell you that THE LONG DARK will be leaving Early Access/Game Preview on August 1st, 2017. On that day, we’ll be releasing the first two episodes of WINTERMUTE, our five-episode “story mode” for THE LONG DARK.

Here’s a teaser of what’s to come in WINTERMUTE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg3n3nBaKPw

The first two episodes of WINTERMUTE are about bush pilot Will Mackenzie and Dr. Astrid Greenwood, and what happens when they get separated after a mysterious geomagnetic event causes them to crash deep in the Northern Canadian wilderness. In Episode One: “Do Not Go Gentle”, Mackenzie tries to survive the savage wilderness long enough to find shelter, hoping for the comforts civilization might bring. He quickly learns the world around him is not what he expected. In Episode Two: “Luminance Fugue”, Mackenzie begins to understand the true nature of the disaster he finds himself in, all the while searching for signs of Astrid. He also begins to learn the answer to the question, “how far will you go to survive?”, as he navigates relationships with the other survivors he meets along the way.

Total gameplay for the two episodes ranges due to the open-world nature of the game, but we’re finding 6-10 hours for the two episodes seems pretty consistent. Episodes Three to Five will be released over the remainder of 2017, and into 2018.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be able to give you a definitive launch date for the game. So that we can continue to share more information about gameplay and content in the months leading up to launch, we’ve created a new site for the game: www.thelongdark.com

Another thing that’s really amazing for our studio and team is that we’re going to be launching the 1.0 of THE LONG DARK on three platforms: Steam (Windows/Mac/Linux), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. As there is no “early access” type program on PlayStation, we haven’t yet been able to bring the experience to that audience, and expanding the community around THE LONG DARK to include PlayStation players is a huge step for us. It’s going to mean more players, and more resources to pour back into the game, and expand it in new and interesting ways, perhaps even beyond our current plans.

As many of you know, THE LONG DARK has always been a passion project for us, and the first Season of the game -- Winter -- was always meant to be only the first part of the experience. By expanding our audience, this gives us a better chance of being able to continue investing resources into the world of THE LONG DARK, while also retaining ownership of the Intellectual Property, and the independence of Hinterland as a studio. Unlike many “indies” in this space, Hinterland is 100% independent and self-funded. This independence is core to our development philosophy and our team culture, and it’s a big part of why we’ve been able to take creative risks so far.

I know that the PS4 announcement might not seem important if you’re already playing THE LONG DARK on Steam or Xbox One, but I hope you can see how for us, it’s a really monumental step in expanding the reach of this world’s fiction and gameplay foundation we’re building, so that we can continue to build THE LONG DARK into the experience we dream for it to be.

That brings me to the recent countdown we launched at www.thelongdark.com. I know that in some corners of our community, this countdown timer was not a popular thing. Some people felt that it was insulting to be given a “timer for a timer”. I can see this and I’m sorry that it created frustration for some of you. This was certainly not our intention.

It’s hard to remember, sometimes, that our whole approach to Story Mode development -- and the reason why we’ve said so little about it to date -- is about building anticipation. It’s also easy to forget that most of our community is waiting to come back to the game -- waiting to wake up and feel excited about it again. And the PlayStation community hasn’t had a chance to feel a sense of excitement or ownership for THE LONG DARK yet. As a small studio handling all our own marketing, we need to use the tools we have to get people excited about the game, and often these people are not the ones who are scouring our social media posts every day. It’s the fence-sitters, the journalists, the people who have yet to discover this game. This is why we’ve not said much about development over the past months, and why we’re taking the next three months to run a campaign as we lead up to full launch. This is about doing everything we can to get the word out, and building buzz takes time. Most Early Access games don't get to have a second launch, and we're doing everything we can to overcome this. We hope we'll have your support in this, as it's critical to our ongoing success.

Let’s talk about what the next three months look like for us, so that you understand more about what this time means leading up to the launch. We have to finish final art content, polish, and playtest to ensure the first two episodes are as compelling as they can be. That’s the rest of this month. Then we fix all the bugs we find in the first two episodes -- that’s going to happen over the rest of May and most of June. We have to work on some performance improvements (optimizations) and get all the new content translated and integrated into the game. That will mostly happen in June. And then July, we go through an intensive Certification process on Xbox and PlayStation, to ensure everything is ready to go for August 1st.

Phew. Lots still to do!

Besides that, I promised one more Sandbox update before Story Mode launches. Later this month, we’ll open the Test Branch with an update to the game called FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER.

Here’s a loose list of what you can expect in that update:

Complete Save System overhaul
As you can imagine, maintaining backwards compatibility for saves over the past 3+ years has made our save system a bit of a tangled mess over time. We think this may be part of why there’s been some instability, on Xbox One in particular, with lost saves and some corruption at times. This new system should improve stability, and also prepare us to handle the new Save requirements of the WINTERMUTE episodes. Keep in mind that all your current profile data will continue to work -- this means existing progress towards Feats, or Survival Journals you’ve saved, will still be valid post-update.

Completely New UI
We’ve done a complete aesthetic overhaul of our UI & HUD, and added a lot of new functionality -- too much to list here. Every screen has been completely rebuilt. In some cases, as with the Radial for example, we’ve streamlined the usability (for example, you can now eat or drink directly from the Radial). We’ve improved the Pack, Clothing, and Status screens, and updated the HUD with a bunch of improvements. Really, there are 100s of improvements nested in this overhaul. The FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER update will have about 80% of this process complete, with the rest being done in time for our full launch.



Cartography Gameplay
Mapping has never really been part of the “sandbox” experience of THE LONG DARK, but as we’ve seen a growing interest in the use of external maps from the community, we thought we’d add some entirely “opt-in” cartography gameplay. You’ll have to use charcoal from campfires to update your own map of the world, which you survey bit by bit, and this map’s value will depend on how well you keep it updated. The goal with this system is to provide a useful tool for players who’d like to map their world, without making the game any easier, and without penalizing players who prefer to continue playing as they do currently, sans maps!



Throwing Stones
You’ll now be able to throw Stones at wildlife. They make a good tool of “last resort” against Wolves -- you might get lucky enough to scare one off -- and you can hunt Rabbits with them. Stun a rabbit, then see if you have the heart to finish it off. This tool provides a good “early game” tool for defense and acquiring food, and is something we plan to build on in the future.



Throwing Flares & Torches
Some of you may remember the game before we added Brandishing. That mechanic has never quite achieved its intention, so we’ve pulled it out and put Throwing of Flares and Torches back in. This gives you a useful, re-usable tool for scaring off wildlife.

Carcass Quartering
A long-standing community request has been the ability to harvest animal carcasses from the shelter/safety/comfort of...anywhere that isn’t outside. We’ve added a system where you can Quarter carcasses and move “chunks” of them around. But keep in mind that -- like everything in THE LONG DARK -- there is a risk/reward scenario to be considered. Quartering carcasses is less efficient, and also makes you much more interesting to prowling wildlife, both at the Quartering Site, and when you are carrying heavy portions of carcass around with you.

Struggle Weapon Selection
You can now select the tool/weapon you want to use in the moments before you engage in a Wolf Struggle. We think this works to address some long-standing complaints about the Struggle system, and we’ll continue refining this in the future.

Improved First-Person Presence
You’ll see we’ve added first-person presence to the Rifle, Bow, Distress Pistol, and improved the presentation of the Light Sources like the Flare, Torch, etc. As always, we plan to continue improving this as the game continues to evolve.

Tons of New Art
In addition to the UI overhaul, you’ll notice that a lot of the game world looks better. We’ve been slowly updating all the old item labels and signs, to create a more cohesive world.

New Graphics Settings
We’ve added more variety in the display and quality options so that you can find a better balance of performance and beauty, based on your specific system. (Note, this is for PC/Mac/Linux players only.)

Tons of Bug Fixes and Optimization
Holy cow we’ve fixed a lot of bugs over the past few months. TONS.

“But what about ____?” We know there’s a lot of stuff on the Roadmap that didn’t end up in this update. No Cougar or Moose. No improved Cooking. Some of those features have been prototyped and will most likely end up in the game at some point. Others, we just haven’t got to yet. Keep in mind that our Roadmap has always been aspirational -- we reinforce that to help manage expectations. We see the Roadmap as a shared “wishlist” of what we’d like to add to the game over time, to help you understand our vision for the experience. But it’s not a restaurant menu, or a promise. We hope you’re excited about the things you’re getting very soon, and we’re just as excited as you are (maybe even more so!) to continue improving the game with new features, content, and of course, refining the features and content that are already in the game.

We know that this is a lot of info to take in -- and we know you probably have questions. We’ve created an FAQ section on the new site, to hopefully answer some of the questions you may have. Aside from that, we’re here and ready to answer you, and now that the release date is published and the PlayStation 4 announcement is in the wild, we can focus on the next few months of finalizing the FAITHFUL CARTOGRAPHER update, finishing Episodes One and Two, and getting this game into your hands!

I hope you’re as excited to be at this point in the journey as we are. Launch isn’t far away now. WINTERMUTE is around the corner.

See you in the quiet apocalypse.

- Raphael
The Long Dark

I can still remember the first time I set foot in Skyrim. Everything seemed so big—its map, its trees, its mountains, its townships—and I spent my first couple of hours aimlessly wandering around its world. Having completed not one quest beyond the game's de rigueur introductory exchange, my under-powered hero was often left pegging it across the plains from far stronger foes and, of course, I revelled in the occasions where I rode my luck and came out on top. 

One particular battle of note saw me going toe-to-toe with a tenacious bandit. It was a tiresome affair as we fought back and forth, exchanging trivial single blows from Windhelm all the way up to Winterhold. By the time I'd run out of potions of minor healing, I threw caution to the wind and went in for the kill/valiant defeat. At the time I remember being amazed by how good close-quarters combat felt—how important each weighty jab felt, and how satisfying it was to see the beleaguered bandit finally fall before me. 

It was then that I was equally amazed by something else: this bandit was carrying gold, two minor stamina potions, a secondary sheathed weapon and an apple. And as if that haul wasn't surprising enough, my character—who could barely swing a sword at this point—was able to determine the fallen enemy's concealed inventory instantly. Sure, the shield and the sword and the fur armour were readily recognisable, but how the hell did my hero know this dude had a piece of fruit tucked away in his pocket just by looking at him?  

Despite Skyrim, BioShock and Dishonored being among my all-time favourite videogames, one thing that inherently annoys me in their self-acknowledged quests for seamless realism and 'immersion' is how unbelievable instantaneous looting is. Even with x-ray vision, it would take decidedly longer to ascertain what's on our foe's person than the respective lightning-fast evaluations of the Dragonborn, Jack and Corvo. 

Hinterland's survival exploration game The Long Dark does things a little differently. In a game where weapons are a curious luxury—and where your ability to use them is almost nonexistent—scavenging and looting is not only central to its makeup, but is also key to whether or not you make it through the night alive. A simple 'Searching' meter dictates how quickly you're able to case containers, shelving units, supply crates, corpses and more—and its speed in doing so reflects how quickly, or slowly, you might expect to sift through an old drawer or a frozen, lifeless body's pockets in reality.  

At first you'll shrug off the searches that wield nothing, as you quickly move onto the next stuffing your pockets with whichever treasures you happen upon. But before long, when you're starving, dehydrated, injured, sick, freezing, or, as is often the case, all of the above, a single search can be the difference between life and death. Suddenly, an instantaneous search doesn't seem so bad, as that once innocuous 'Searching' bar takes on a whole new level of urgency and importance: whereby the closer it gets to completion without spoils, the further your heart generally sinks.

And yet, conversely, that extra wait can result in flashes of unparalleled joy. During one venture into the icy wilderness, I'd become slightly over-encumbered and, of course, stumbled upon a pack of blood-thirsty wolves. I spotted an ice lodge up ahead and decided to try to circumnavigate the mob by going wide into the encroaching trees. Or so I thought. Before I knew it I was being hunted down at speed and the forest in front of me that I'd attempted to use for cover did nothing but impede my beeline for safety. I wound up on the deck with a ravenous wolf gnawing at me. After shaking the beast off I was gravely injured, bleeding out and carrying entirely more than my weakened body could handle. 

I tried ditching a few bedrolls to lighten the load, but it was clear my priority was sourcing medicine and fast. I hobbled along to the lodge leaving a trail of blood at my back, only to discover I had a wolf bite on my head of all places that had a 50 percent chance of becoming infected. Carrying just one dose of antibiotics, I was equipped to stave off the infection, but without any bandages I wasn't going to last much longer. 

After a quick scour of the room, I spotted a locker, two drawers, a plastic container and a first aid box. Rejoice! Over to the first aid housing. Searching… a flare! Okay! Not the most useful item, but back to the search. More antibiotics. Search over. Shite. Onto the container. Nothing. The first drawer. A chocolate bar and a pair of worn gloves. The last drawer. I'm done for. Searching… Another chocolate bar. The search drags on. A bandage. A F****ING BANDAGE! I'm saved!

And of course by 'saved', I actually mean 'able to treat my wounds, sleep, and leave the cabin only to be mauled to death by the pack of wolves who'd camped outside my door overnight'—but let's not split hairs, eh? 

That urgency, that forced and uncomfortable searching pause, and that moment of elation when a game that's otherwise brutally unforgiving throws you a bone is nothing short of marvellous. I've of course had umpteen useless searches end my life in The Long Dark as I fight against the clock, but the anticipation of each scramble is a thing of beauty—which can equally relate to discovering food when you're starving, firewood when you're freezing, or, if you're especially lucky, a firearm when you want to get your own back on that blasted wolf pack.

A few weeks back, The Long Dark launched a mysterious counter which we're almost sure is tied to its much-anticipated and as yet absent Story Mode. That timer expires tomorrow—stay tuned for our coverage once we know more.  

The Long Dark - Valve
Save 50% on The Long Dark during this week's Midweek Madness*!

The Long Dark is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness. Monitor your Condition, search for life-saving supplies, and master survival skills like fire-building, maintaining your gear, hunting, fishing, and landmark-based navigation. There are no zombies -- only you, the cold, and everything Mother Nature can throw at you.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
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