Canadian survival game The Long Dark (developed & published by Hinterland Studio Inc.) is leaving Steam Early Access on August 1, 2017, according to a news post on the game's Steam Community. (Bear in mind that the news post has some spoilers about the game's upcoming story!)
The Long Dark is a survival game set in the north Canadian Wilderness where players must struggle to survive in a frigid, uninhabited region. Although they will occasionally have to go up against wildlife, their greatest dangers are the cold and lack of proper supplies needed to survive. A bit of exploring can rapidly turn into a whiteout blizzard with no easy way back home, and many a player has died out on a frozen lake due to hypothermia.
The game as it stands only has a Sandbox gameplay mode, but the transition out of Early Access will also bring the debut of the game's story. We'll spare you the spoilers, but it will be split into five distinct episodes. Each episode of the game takes 4-6 hours of gameplay to complete according to Hinterland Studio Inc., owing largely to the sandbox nature of the game as well as the variability of features like weather and randomized loot in containers. The first two episodes will release simultaneously at launch, and the final 3 episodes of the game will be released across 2017 & 2018.
One minor change that has been made is some names being swapped around: Sandbox is now called Survival, and Story is now known by its proper name of WINTERMUTE. A story trailer for WINTERMUTE was released alongside the announcement that the game is leaving Early Access; please bear in mind that the trailer may contain spoilers if you would like to avoid them.
Although the game is already available in its Early Access state on Steam and Xbox One, it has yet to make its way to PlayStation 4 due to the ecosystem's lack of an Early Access program. The Long Dark will be made available for PlayStation 4 for the first time on the same day that the PC and Xbox One versions drop Version 1.0 and leave Early Access for good.
The game's departure from Early Access will mark the debut of the story mode, but it won't mean the end of development - Hinterland Studio Inc. will continue to work on the game for some time. Of course, the Story mode will be a core focus of the game, but the Sandbox mode will still be getting some love. Hinterland has released a comprehensive F.A.Q. on their website that answers a lot of common questions players might have about what's going to be happening in The Long Dark in the near future.
Aside from this announcement, the developers have stated that the game is getting a bump up in price from $19.99 to $34.99. This was done as a reflection of the over 100 updates made in the game since its initial release. The news post contains way more detail that we've covered here, so be sure to check it out if you want to see every little detail (but again, bear in mind that there are story spoilers!). If you haven't yet played The Long Dark, you can grab it on Steam for $34.99 or your regional equivalent or on the Microsoft Store for the Xbox One for $19.99 or your regional equivalent.
Quick TakeI picked up The Long Dark on sale a few months ago and played it for a few hours. I had always been looking for a survival game that didn't also feature a bunch of PvP combat and/or zombies, and in my opinion this particular game by Hinterland Studio Inc. delivered admirably. It still has its rough edges, and it continues to suffer from the "no true end of the game" problem that nearly all survival games suffer from, but I thought it was an excellent challenge overall. I'm looking forward to the release of the story mode.
Have you had an opportunity to play The Long Dark? What do you think of the game's survival mechanics so far? Are you looking forward to the story mode? Let us know in the comments below!