For those of you who are not familiar with the game, The Long Dark is an indie survival simulation game developed by Hinterland Games and is set amidst the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster that left the world in shambles. As the player, you are left to your own devices to figure out how long you are going to be able to survive the winter wasteland before you enter…The Long Dark (or in other words, you die). Thus far the game is limited to a Sandbox Mode, meaning there is no story yet, there is no character development, there is only survival.
The game takes place in the northern wilderness and consists of exploring the various expansive maps, gathering materials needed for equipment and shelter, hunting down animals for food, and even fending off more predatory animals such as wolves and bears. This is all done knowing in the back of your mind the inevitable outcome of the game: you will eventually die. Unlike many other sandbox/survival games, there is no hope for you in the Sandbox Mode of The Long Dark. Other games like Minecraft, Rust, Arc, etc. the player has the ability to tame the wild and create a life for themselves. They end when you have either all but defeated nature or when you just quit playing. The Long Dark, on the other hand, takes a more nihilistic approach. You are constantly fighting for food, shelter, warmth, and protection. You can’t stay in one place for too long or you will either freeze, starve, or be mauled to death. That’s what makes The Long Dark so special: you can fight for your life as long as you want, but you will aways eventually die.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, there is only this Sandbox Mode currently, but that is not the end of the story for The Long Dark. The game initially had its Kickstarter campaign successfully funded back in 2013, and the next year they released the game on Steam Early Access which brought about even more success for Hinterland. Since then the team has been working diligently on another highly anticipate feature in the gameplay: the Story Mode. We have heard about this missing Story Mode for years now. Fans of the game have been waiting patiently for this episodic adventure to be released, of which I am one. But, according to many of the update posts on the site, the team has been caught between regularly releasing updates for players of the Sandbox Mode and developing the soon to be released story mode.
The latest update we heard was last month, December 19, 2016, to be exact, in which Hinterland reiterated the game development team is working hard to bring the new Story Mode to the public. They even gave fans a couple of short clips unveiling the 2D stylized graphics used for the cinematic cut scenes, and let me say, it is beautiful. It seems the team has done a phenomenal job thus far creating a unique style that will most certainly make The Long Dark stand out amidst other games in this genre.
But, after nearly 4 years, is it really going to be worth the wait anymore, or has Hinterland stalled for too long? In my honest opinion, this game is going to be BEYOND worth the wait. Indie games tend to lack the flare of some larger titles, and in order to obtain some sense of individuality, Hinterland has decided to take the time to really work out the kinks and to develop superb gameplay for current and potential fans to enjoy. So fret not, Story Mode is on its way!
Keep your eyes and ears open for any future updates. And for those of you who really do care about the indie gaming community, remember what Miyamato once said that Hinterland quoted in their latest update post: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” So be patient and stay faithful.
Let us know if you have anything to add to the story. We love to hear your feedback as a valuable part of the indie gaming community. We will continue to follow the development of The Long Dark before and after Story Mode releases, as well as many other indie gaming titles and developers. So stay tuned for more updates and news regarding some of your favorite developers and indie games here at EAG.