With the Steadfast Ranger Update of The Long Dark, Hinterland Studios returns with a big update after a long development phase. Outside of the introduction of new items some game mechanics got overhauled as well.
In the last Developer diary, creative director Raphael van Lierop already mentioned that the development of the game engine and the third story episode are being parallelly worked on. The Studio is hereby experimenting with separating the work between two teams, were one works on the story mode and the other on survival. With the Steadfast Ranger update the survival team has laid the foundations and now it’s the time for the other team to finish the story for the new episode.
The revolver is certainly the most spectacular innovation. It’s another firearm – and the last one to find its way into the game. It might not be as accurate and does less damage than the rifle but with its loud attack, it scares animals away. Not surprisingly the revolver functions as a defense weapon which can be used to defend yourself from wolf attacks.
Birch bark tea and energy drinks are new items that affect your character. However, it are no magic potions as the tea slowly increases your condition and works for a longer period of time. You first will need to crumble the birch bark before you can use it. The same counts for the Canadian energy drink ”GO” you won’t get wings to fly away but it will give you the final push to climb a mountain. After that, your head will start to buzz.
Improvised Cloth Wraps are now available for your head and hands. From simple fabric shreds, you can now put together some protection. While the heat effect is barely noticeable you do avoid frostbite on the most sensitive parts of the body.
Sprained arms and legs can still be worn on steep slopes. With the update, you now get a visual warning when traveling on dangerous terrain. But healing did become more complicated as you need a bandage to fix the joint and medications for the pain.
As of last the developers also revised the aiming and shooting mechanics. For a period of time, you can target your goal. You hold your breath and focus completely. You blind out your outer field of view and put a bullet, arrow or stone in the target. Your overall state greatly affects this ability: When you are freezing, your target point trembles. And when you are tired or exhausted holding your breath for that long isn’t possible and you might break the shot at a crucial moment.
3 … 2 … 1 … start! – And restart
Community Countdown: As with previous updates the developers have made an advertisement just before the release and virtually added a countdown. This is the strategy they will be using to communicate and excite their community when something new is happening. Which seems to work pretty well as The Long Dark is – also due to a decent discount – among the top ten of the ”global top sellers” on Steam.
Crashes and Hotfixes: On the evening of May 6th the update got released. The Steam version encountered some problems and despite all sorts of improvements, it was not perfect. While saving the game would crash and players had to restart the game. However, on May, 7th Hinterland Studio released another hotfix to fix the crashes. In addition, the sprained arms and legs will be more balanced in the upcoming hotfix.
When will Episode 3 go live?
The developers continue to be silent on this particular question. The information we have so far focus mainly on the plans of the developer. Episode 3 will focus on Astrid after she escaped Milton and will take place in Pleasant Valley. Redux showed the developers the right amount of hours for the storyline, which will be five to seven hours long.
Internal deadlines: The team encountered several bad experiences with non-durable release dates. Which means there won’t be any information in advance anymore. Raphael van Lierop says he wants to protect his team with this new policy. During game development, not everything goes as planned and no amount of management can push the team on the expensive of quality. Therefore, there will only be internal deadlines that won’t be communicated with the outside world.
We will keep you updated as soon as more reliable updates about the further of episode 3 are getting shared.
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