THE LONG DARK

The Long Dark may be a first-person survival computer game developed and published by Hinterland Studio. The player assumes the role of a crash-landed bush pilot who must survive the frigid Canadian wilderness after a geomagnetic regional storm disaster. the sport received seed financing from the Canada Media Fund, and further funding was secured through a successful Kickstarter campaign in October 2013.

An alpha version was released through Steam Early Access in September 2014. The alpha version was later launched on the Xbox One together with the primary two launch titles related to Microsoft’s Game Preview Program in June 2015. Early reviews of the alpha release were generally positive, and therefore the game went on to sell around 750,000 copies by April 2016. It was officially released on all aforementioned platforms on Lammas, 2017, also as for PlayStation 4. In 2017, it had been announced that a movie adaptation of The Long Dark was within the works. On Citizenship Day, 2020, it had been announced that the sport would be coming to Nintendo Switch later that very same day.

Gameplay

The Long Dark may be a survival game set in an open world environment and played from a first-person perspective. the sport takes place within the frigid Canadian wilderness where the player assumes the role of a crash-landed pilot struggling to survive after a geomagnetic storm. The gameplay is stated by the developers to be a “survival simulation that accounts for blood heat, caloric intake, hunger/thirst, fatigue, wind-chill, wildlife, and a number of other environmental factors.” There are three game modes available to the player, “Story Mode”, “Survival mode”, and “Challenge mode”. During the game’s alpha release, the player had access to Sandbox (Survival) mode, with a choice to spawn in one among the six regions: “Mystery Lake”, “Coastal Highway”, “Pleasant Valley”, “Forlorn Muskeg”, “Desolation Point”, and “Timberwolf Mountain”, all of which are connected together through transition zones. There are currently 11 regions within the game, as 5 have since been introduced. These are named: “Mountain Town”, “Broken Railroad”, “Hushed River Valley”, “Bleak Inlet” and “Ash Canyon”.

The objective is for the player to survive as long as possible by scavenging and utilizing whatever resources they’ll find within the planet. This includes commodities like food, water, firewood, medicine, and tools like weapons, axes, knives, and a myriad of other items. Wildlife is additionally present, like deer which may be looked for food, and wolves and bears which are a continuing threat to the player as they venture outside. All items and wildlife are randomly spawned for each new game, so no two games are going to be alike for the player. Tools and items degrade over time, forcing the player to form careful decisions regarding their condition and their eventual need for repair. Fire, is a primary component, is important for warmth and cooking. The player has got to forage for wood and fuel on a daily basis to remain alive. 

The player also can get sick from gastrointestinal disorders and diseases. The Long Dark simulates a full day/night cycle which may be a fundamental part of the sport. The sport also simulates temperature and windchill, both of which are random during every playthrough, encouraging the player to watch the weather carefully in the least times to stop death from exposure. Initially, the sport didn’t feature varied experience modes, but thanks to player demand, Hinterland added three experience modes to accommodate a variety of playstyles, and a fourth mode added later. the simplest mode, “Pilgrim”, is for players trying to find a more exploratory experience, “Voyageur” may be a middle ground and therefore the most well rounded with reference to exploration and survival, “Stalker” offers a more hardcore survival experience, and “Interloper” is for players trying to find a punishing, difficult experience.

Added late in 2017, “Custom” lets the player customize many of the gameplay elements to make a singular playstyle.

The save game system enforces careful deciding by the player; saving only the player’s avatar enters a building, sleep, passes time, or receives an injury. When the player dies, this leads to permadeath and therefore the original save file is deleted, forcing the player to start out a replacement game.

Story mode

Story mode is episodic and was initially planned to be released in late 2014, but was pushed back to late 2016.

Development was pushed back again and therefore the game was ultimately released on Lammas, 2017, with the primary two episodes of the five-part story, entitled “Wintermute”, released together. Episode one was entitled “Do Not Go Gentle” and episode two is named “Luminance Fugue”.

A redux version of episodes one and two were released in December 2018, with many changes made to the gameplay, presentation, and mission structure. Episode three was released on October 22, 2019. Episodes four and five, to finish the story, will follow later.

Development

Following the completion of his work as a director on Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Raphael van Lierop left Relic Entertainment to figure on projects which he felt were “more personal” and “more representative of [his] values”. Van Lierop also left Vancouver, moving his family from the town to the northern part of Vancouver Island. Inspired by these new surroundings, he formed Hinterland and commenced to figure on The Long Dark, a game about surviving the Canadian wilderness. Hinterland wanted to explore a post-apocalyptic world from the fringes, faraway from the urban apocalypse, which “we’ve all seen 1,000,000 times” and faraway from “B-movie cliches like zombies”. Van Lierop was also keen to impart a Canadian identity upon the sport, having been frustrated with homogenized AAA video games which sacrificed character for mass-market appeal, he summed up his approach with, “I’m Canadian. This game is Canadian. affect it.”

When van Lierop announced the Hinterland team in September 2013, members included Alan Lawrance, formerly a lead at Volition, Marianne Krawczyk, writer of the God of War series, and David Chan, BioWare’s first audio designer. A year later, they were joined by Ken Rolston, the lead designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Hinterland operates as a virtual team, with its members working remotely. Lawrance cites his ability to figure from home as an important thing about his decision to hitch Hinterland.

Hinterland obtained seed funding from the Canada Media Fund, and in September 2013, launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Long Dark to boost C$200,000 and build a community around the game. The campaign was successful, raising C$256,617 upon its completion in October 2013. PayPal contributions following the Kickstarter campaign pushed the ultimate total to over C$275,000 by March 2014. Hinterland announced the game’s voice cast during the Kickstarter campaign, allowing The Long Dark to capitalize on the actors’ individual fan bases; the cast announced were Mark Meer, Elias Toufexis, Jennifer Hale, and David Hayter. Hinterland was mindful of the game’s scope, not eager to expand the team’s size and increase risk, then limited their Kickstarter stretch goals to people who added quality, instead of people who added in-game content.

Van Lierop spoke of their studio’s approach to early access at the 2015 Game Developers Conference where he warned against allowing the player community to dictate the game’s direction. Van Lierop spoke of the differing play styles within the game’s audience; though players that preferred a “hardcore survival” experience were within the minority, they were most vocal within the player community. Had Hinterland pandered to those requests, they could have alienated the silent majority of their player community.

In April 2016, Van Lierop posted an update about the Story-mode release, explaining that Hinterland had elected to delay the launch of Story mode until it contained 4-6 hours of initial gameplay rather than the originally planned 2 hours. He pointed to the evolution of Sandbox mode as one more reason for the delay, saying that its popularity had grown to the purpose that Hinterland decided to bring back regular updates for it, albeit it had been originally conceived merely as a test-bed for the Story mode. His post also provided a developmental road-map with short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals for additions and enhancements.

In February 2020, the developers asked Nvidia to get rid of The Long Dark from GeForce Now, a cloud streaming service, shortly after the service exited beta and went “live.” The developers said that their game was improperly placed on the service with none kind of licensing agreement; Nvidia agreed to get rid of it as a result.

Commercial reception

By January 2015, the sport had sold 250,000 copies and by August 2015, 500,000 copies had been sold. In April 2016, Hinterland announced that over 750,000 copies had been sold across all platforms and expressed gratitude over the 99.78% approval rating from the Steam user-base. As of September 2019, 3.3 million copies are sold.

Accolades

The game was nominated for “Best Art Direction”, “Best Game Design” and “Best Music/Sound Design”, and won the award for both “Best Writing” and “Strategy/Simulation” at the 2018 Webby Awards.

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