Hinterland Reveals Spring 2016 Launch for The Long Dark® Story Mode
Multiple Playable Characters, Content Plans Detailed
(December 16th, 2015) Cumberland, BC, Canada. Independent game developer Hinterland Studio Inc. today released the first official details about the much-anticipated Story Mode of their exploration-survival hit, The Long Dark®. Set deep in the Canadian wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster, The Long Dark®’s “quiet apocalypse” pits the player against Mother Nature in a desperate bid to survive in the Winter Sandbox mode, which has already sold over 550,000 copies on Steam Early Access and Xbox One Game Preview and enjoys overwhelmingly positive user reviews.
The first part of Story Mode’s Season One launches in Spring 2016, with the entirety of Season One being released episodically over the remainder of 2016. Players will take on the dual roles of bush pilot Will Mackenzie, and doctor Astrid Greenwood, as they both struggle to survive the aftermath of the “First Flare” event, which has brought modern civilization to its knees.
Hinterland outlined the Spring launch and post-launch content plans as follows:
• At launch, The Long Dark® will include both the first part of Season One of Story Mode, and the Sandbox Mode. The Story Mode content launching in the Spring will amount to 3-4 hours of gameplay, in addition to the freeform Sandbox mode which offers 100s of hours of open-world exploration-survival gameplay.
• The remainder of Season One will be released in additional 2-3 hour episodes over the course of 2016, until the Season One story arc is complete. The expected play time for the entire Season One Story Mode is between 10-12 hours.
• Players will experience the events of the Season One from the perspectives of two playable characters: bush pilot Will Mackenzie, and Dr. Astrid Greenwood. The story will unfold as the Story alternates between these two characters, with the player experiencing both points of view.
• The core gameplay mechanics of Story Mode are derived from the Sandbox, though specifically tuned for narrative gameplay. Story Mode replaces the Sandbox’s permadeath with a progress-based save system.
• Story Mode will launch with two large features currently unavailable in the Sandbox: Survivors, and The Aurora. Although Story Mode will use much of the existing Sandbox game world, about 25-30% of the Story Mode world will be entirely new areas.
• Kickstarter, Early Access, and Game Preview backers will receive the Season One Story Mode content automatically as it is unlocked. No additional purchase is necessary.
• The Spring launch of Story Mode will mark the end of The Long Dark®’s time in Early Access and Game Preview.
• At launch, the current $19.99 USD “pre-release” price will be increased, to reflect the game’s enhanced content value after more than a year of polish and content updates, plus the addition of Season One Story Mode content.
“After keeping our community in the dark about our plans for Story Mode, we’re thrilled to finally be able to reveal some details of what we’ve been working on alongside the over 75 updates we’ve made to Sandbox Mode over the last year,” said Raphael van Lierop, founder and creative director at Hinterland, and writer/director on The Long Dark®. “Our success on Early Access proved there’s an audience for a more thoughtful survival experience, and the resources we’ve been able to invest in the game will help us pursue our ambitions around storytelling as we continue to expand this world. We see a bright future for The Long Dark®, and are committed to a long-term relationship with our players.”
In addition to Story Mode details, Hinterland outlined its ongoing commitment to the free-form, non-narrative Sandbox Mode. “Our original plan with Sandbox was to use it solely as a gameplay test-bed for Story Mode, and shut it down at launch,” explained van Lierop. “We’ve discovered that Sandbox offers a completely different experience, highly beloved by our players, and it deserves to continue to exist in its own right. So we plan to continue updating Sandbox with more features and content, expanding the foundation of our core exploration-survival experience, in parallel with our work on Story Mode.”
Further details around Hinterland’s open-world exploration-survival experience will be revealed in the coming months.