The Long Dark is a first-person sandbox survival simulation, developed and published by Hinterland Studio, that emphasizes quiet exploration in a stark, yet hauntingly beautiful post-disaster setting. The picturesque Northern Canadian wilderness frames the backdrop for the setting of The Long Dark, and it looks like it’s about to get even better with the announced episode 3, which currently doesn’t have a title, is coming our way in December 2018, making it a white and snowy Christmas for all.
Raphael van Lierop, Founder and Studio Creative Director at Hinterland, recently wrote the announcement on the official The Long Dark’s website, where he talked about the “Redux” editions of episodes one and two and unveiling a whole new experience of Wintermute, The Long Dark’s story mode. In Raphael’s dev post on this site, he stated that:
“We’ll be teasing out more Episode Three details in the months ahead, but as a reminder: in Episode Three, you’ll play as Dr. Astrid Greenwood, and the story picks up in the aftermath of the events of Milton, as experienced from Mackenzie’s point of view in Episode One. You’ll meet new survivors, explore a new region, and find out more about the events prior to, and after, the First Flare event that engulfed Great Bear Island — and perhaps the rest of the world — into “the long dark.”
“Along with Episode Three, we’ll be releasing the “Redux” editions of Episodes One and Two, which we’ve spent the last year reworking in order to set up a stronger foundation for Episode Three and the remaining parts of the five-episode WINTERMUTE story mode. The improvements made in the Redux versions are pretty extensive, and most of them were made based on community feedback, so we hope you’ll go back and replay them before continuing on to Episode Three.”
Some of the work that has gone into the Redux episodes include:
- More open and flexible mission structure, reducing the forced linearity of the story missions; this includes restructuring the side missions and making more of the content optional
- Whole new playable intro sequence for Episode One
- All NPC dialogue is now fully voiced and animated using an entirely new animation system
- All dialogue and narrative scenes are now presented in first-person, using an overhauled dialogue UI
- New major story elements in both Episodes, including a new NPC
- Although the high-level episode story arcs remain as before, almost every story beat, dialogue moment, and mission element has been improved, with about 80% of the dialogue rewritten to accommodate
- Removed the Trust system as it contributed to the “fetch questy” feeling of the first two episodes (we plan to re-purpose this system for elsewhere in the game)
- Completely overhauled Bear Hunt mission and added new game-play (Episode Two)
- Improved tutorial presentation
- Improved story UI elements
- …and many other fixes and improvements.
Raphael also mentioned about the reasoning behind the Redux work in his February dev diary, and in it he brushed upon the negative feedback from user and critic reviews The Long Dark received that included mission structure, the lack of fully voiced dialogue sequences, glitches and issues with the opening tutorial.
“In terms of the openness of our mission structure — it was always our intention that things would open up and become less linear in Episode Three, and beyond, but after considering the feedback about Episodes One and Two, I felt that making the player go through 15-20 hours of fairly linear missions so that they could get to Episode Three’s more open structure, was asking too much of them. So, one of the things we’ve done is go back to the Episode One and Two mission structures and work on opening them up, so that most missions can be done in any order, and some missions — like Jeremiah’s Survival School — will become optional”
It was only in June that The Long Dark announced its Vigilant Flame region was added, which gave an entirely new wilderness exploration area, brand-new game-play features, as well as numerous bug fixes. Also, the new Hushed River Valley region and the revamping of the cooking system.
The Long Dark is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.