Dev Diary - November 2023

Dev Diary – November 2023

Hello Survivors,

We’re nearly finished with Part Four of TALES FROM THE FAR TERRITORY, the paid Expansion Pass DLC for Survival Mode, so I thought you might be curious to know a bit more about what’s being added in this new part, launching early December.

As outlined in my September Dev Diary, Part Four — which will be called BURIED ECHOES — includes the next new region in the Far Territory: the Zone of Contamination. 

The old Langston Mine lies at the heart of the Zone of Contamination, industrial pollution from decades-old mining operations leaving it a poisoned wasteland patrolled by toxic wolves, featuring large industrial remnants and hiding many hazards, and mysteries! At its heart, an open-pit mine scars the landscape, and deep inside its twisting tunnels — if you survive the poisoned gas — sits a room that holds many secrets. The Zone of Contamination is the second of three large regions that make up the Far Territory, and we’re excited to see how you find it pairs up with the Forsaken Airfield, which we launched in Part One.

Starving Wolf
The Zone of Contamination, coming in TALES, Part Four.

To go along with the Mine theme, we’ve included a variety of new and useful gameplay tools: a Respirator, which when worn will protect you from poisoned gas you might find in the Zone of Contamination, and eventually, other parts of the Far Territory and Great Bear Island at large. The Respirator relies on consumable Canisters to provide its protection, so keep an eye open for those as you explore the Far Territory. We’re also adding Chemical Boots, which can protect you from the toxic pools that pollute the Zone of Contamination (these pools are really hard on regular footwear!), and a Hardhat that offers strong physical protection against head damage. There’s also a Miner’s Coat and Miner’s Pants, which make up a whole set of protective gear, if you manage to find them all. 

And while exploring the Zone of Contamination, make sure you keep an eye out for the Poisoned Wolves that patrol the area. They are leaner than regular wolves, and more desperate. Living around the toxic pools have left them poisoned themselves, and without much to eat, so they are more dangerous than usual. Their bite can leave you with the new Poisoned affliction, so be extra careful when exploring the Zone of Contamination.

Mine Keyart
The Langston Mine sits at the heart of the Zone of Contamination, and hides many secrets.

Within the Zone of Contamination, you’ll also be able to start the second Tale: Buried Echoes. A continuation of Signal Void which we introduced in Part Two, Buried Echoes adds another layer of mystery to the story of the mine workers, the Security Chief, and the enigmatic Rüdiger. Buried Echoes presents a story that goes in a somewhat unusual direction for THE LONG DARK, and we’re excited to see what you think. The Tale and the new region also feature new music, which all add to the atmosphere of Part Four. And, as with Signal Void, there’s a special gameplay reward to be gained for completing Buried Echoes. You’ll first have to get there to see what it is. (And don’t worry, the Tale will be available in Interloper experience mode.)

The Travois, coming in TALES, Part Four.

Beyond the Zone of Contamination and Buried Echoes, Part Four also adds a significant new gameplay tool: the Travois. A craftable, movable container, the Travois is constructed from Saplings and other materials, and allows you to drag a large amount of extra gear around with you. But keep in mind, you will make some compromises to movement speed while dragging the Travois, and you can’t take it everywhere! And depending on what you choose to load it up with, it can be a very effective wildlife attractant, so be careful to stop and look around once in a while, lest a pack of hungry wolves or a bear sneaks up on you. It’s the perfect tool for moving large amounts of gear and items from one location to another, when stocking up a new safehouse or supply cache, or moving your main base of operations to a new region. 

As always, we don’t want players who opted not to purchase TALES to feel left out, so we’ve also included some meaningful free updates to the “base” Survival game, which will be available to everyone who owns THE LONG DARK or SURVIVAL EDITION.

As we shared in the September Dev Diary, we’ve finally managed to find a good way to add hand coverings in the game. Now, what you see on your hands will reflect what you have equipped in your hand slots in the Clothing Menu. Same for the lower sleeves of whatever you are wearing on your arms. We’ve updated some animations so that they work better with things like Mittens. We’re very happy with how this has turned out, and we feel it brings a whole new level of immersion to THE LONG DARK. We hope you agree when you get the chance to try them out.

We’ve also added a whole new series of first-person Harvesting Animations. Now, when you choose to Harvest a carcass for meat or other resources, you will see your hands involved with the harvesting action, as well as the tool you have chosen to harvest with. It’s another way that we’re trying to always enhance the sense of immersion in THE LONG DARK for our players.

You will also have the opportunity to use the new Insulated Flasks, which let you store and keep liquids warm for longer. Perfect for when you want to stack some Warmth buffs for those long treks across the frozen wilderness. The Flasks come in a variety of colours and patterns, so keep your eyes open for them as you move through the world. 

And finally, we’ve added a new Scurvy affliction to the game. Certain foods will now provide you with Vitamin-C, and if you don’t consume enough of them over time, you can develop Scurvy Risk and then eventually Scurvy. It’s a horrible thing to contend with. Definitely something to keep an eye on for those longer-running games.

That mainly sums up the focus of Part Four of TALES, and we think it’s a great way to end the year for THE LONG DARK.

The last note I want to make is about the recent Hinterland Pop-Up Merch Store. As many of you know, we closed our store in 2021 because of COVID, and due to overwhelming requests from the community, we decided to open it up just to clear out our “old” inventory in time for the holidays. We didn’t really anticipate the demand, and the Pop-Up shop -- which we had planned to run for 3 weeks -- sold out over 1300 items in less than three hours!

Our original plan was to use this to clear our stock to make room for a whole new line of merch items in the new year, but we know many of you didn’t get the opportunity to purchase a Hinterland mug, or a Jackrabbit hoodie, or one of the fantastic Granted x Hinterland sweaters. So we’re looking at restocking as much as we can for the new year, and our current plan is to sell many of these items along with the new items we’ll be launching in the new year. So if you missed out this time, you’ll have at least one more opportunity to purchase some of this classic Hinterland or THE LONG DARK merch. If you want to be kept up to date on these sales, we recommend signing up for the Hinterland newsletter.  

That about wraps up the November dev diary. Keep your eyes open for the release of BURIED ECHOES and the free Survival Update that comes at the same time, early in December. You can expect a full narrated update video to launch with Part Four, which will go into more detail about each of the new additions to the game.

Stay warm out there.