Dev Diary – September 202313.09.2023.
The team’s been very busy since we released Part Three of TALES, and all the subsequent hotfixes. We have lots to talk about so I’m going to dive right in!
QUALITY OF LIFE UPDATE
Between all the work splitting the game, working on TALES content, and the free updates to Survival over the past year and more, we’ve gotten behind in our bug maintenance, and we just weren’t happy to see some long-standing issues still lingering, along with newly introduced bugs.
The team has spent the past several weeks working through a big list of issues, and they are just putting the finishing touches on a Quality of Life Update which will fix over 150 bugs in the game, across Story, Survival, and TALES. We’re going to keep chipping away at our bug list over time, but hopefully somewhere in this list of 150+ fixes, we manage to hit at least a few of the bugs you’ve personally been struggling with in the game.
The QoL Update is now locked, and the Test team needs a couple of weeks to finalize and verify the bug fixes show up correctly in the release branch, so we’re currently targeting a QoL update launch near the end of the month. For the full list of fixes, keep an eye on Steam, the official forums, or our social channels to be notified when the QoL Update goes live.
And as always, if you encounter a bug and want to report it, please use our Support Portal. Bugs reported there are reviewed, vetted, and then find their way into the main database where the Test and Dev teams can review, evaluate, prioritize, and fix.
TALES FROM THE FAR TERRITORY, PART FOUR
As with the other parts of TALES (our paid DLC for Survival Mode), Part Four will come with a free update to Survival, and the team is packing in a range of content and gameplay features targeting release by the end of the year. We’ll get more precise with the release date and feature list as we get closer to launch, but to give you a sense of what’s being added, you’ll find:
- the new MINE region, showcasing some new hazards and a new gear item
- the second TALE, following up on Signal Void from Part Two
- several new gameplay tools and mechanics, including the Travois and some new clothing
- and great free updates to Survival, including — wait for it — proper coverings for first-person hands!
We’ll release a full list of items taken from the TALES roadmap and more information about what’s being included in the free Survival update as we get closer to launch. It’s a big update and will be a great way to finish the year!
HINTERLAND MERCH STORE VIRTUAL “POP-UP”
Many (so many!) of you have been asking us when we’ll re-open the Merch store. We’re in the middle of redoing the Hinterland website in anticipation of all the new things we’re making, and our plan is to launch a whole new store with new items when that’s done.
In the meantime, by your request, we’re going to clear out some of our existing merch in time for some holiday gifts, as the new store won’t be online before the international mailing cut-off for this year’s holiday season. You’ll be able to grab from a series of legacy items including posters, hoodies, hatchets, and mugs. This will likely be the last time they are available before the new store goes live, so if you like these legacy items, grab them when the Pop-Up goes live (exact timing TBA).
Once we open the pop-up store we’ll announce the sale on Steam, our official forums, social channels, and our mailing list. If you want to be notified of the sale and grab a discount code, sign up for the Hinterland mailing list. We don’t have a firm date yet, but we’ll announce the details ASAP.
Many of you have been asking us about what we’re working on “next”. Obviously, we’re working on Episode Five, and the completion of TALES, both targeting finalization in 2024. But part of the team has also been hard at work on new things. Why? Because it takes years to create and develop new ideas and new games, and we need to have something new ready by the time THE LONG DARK is finished next year. This is critical to our continued existence as an independent game studio.
This is especially true now as we can see how tough the games business has become, with independent studios shutting down all over the place, growing pressure on the business models we’ve come to depend on, and other macro shifts in the global markets. Hinterland and our projects exist within this broader context, and part of my role as head of the studio is to make good decisions for our long-term survival. Managing portfolio and growth is a big part of that.
We’re not quite ready to take the lid off our secret internal projects yet, but I will say that there are three in development, all original and Hinterland conceived, funded, and with plans to self-publish, as we’ve done with THE LONG DARK. Two of them are ambitious, large-scale projects that will set the foundation for Hinterland’s future beyond THE LONG DARK. One of them is a smaller project that started out as an incubation with a small external team, and grew to the point where we brought the team and the project in-house so we could support them better and guide development in a more hands-on fashion according to Hinterland creative values and culture. We’ll have more to share about this smaller Hinterland project within the next six months or so. What I will say is it’s a thoughtful, beautiful, linear sci-fi game that is very very different from THE LONG DARK, being made by a small team. And with this team having come in from outside Hinterland, the development has not impacted progress on THE LONG DARK; it’s just been something that’s been done alongside our other work.
As for the other bigger projects, we won’t be saying much about them until Episode Five is closer to launch.
SPEAKING OF EPISODE FIVE...
Yes, it’s still in development. No, we aren’t saying much about it yet. It’ll ship in 2024, and I will tell you more about it before the end of the year, including sharing a title and key art reveal, as well as a bit more information about the plot (but no spoilers!). As you can imagine, we have a lot of story to wrap up in Episode Five, and a lot of groundwork to lay for the future of THE LONG DARK IP in how we complete the WINTERMUTE storyline, for games and other projects, so Episode Five will be our biggest yet. I know you’ve waited a long time for this, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it when the time is right. It should be a fitting end to what we hope will come to be seen as a survival epic for the ages.
Stay tuned for more info about TALES FROM THE FAR TERRITORY, Part Four, in the coming months, and keep your eyes open for the release announcement for the Quality of Life Update, and the Merch Store Pop-Up. Again, if you haven’t already done so, we recommend you sign up for the Hinterland mailing list, since due to the current social media apocalypse, we’ll be using it more and more to stay in touch with our fans. If you'd like to discuss this dev diary with other Hinterland fans, we encourage you to jump into the Official Forums.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon!