The Long Dark developer, Hinterland Studio, has released a top-to-bottom overhaul of Episodes One and Two of the game’s story mode.
In development for more than a year, the ‘Wintermute Redux’ is based on player feedback. The update aims to improve The Long Dark’s story mode experience and lay technical foundations for the final three episodes of the story mode, which will be made available as they are completed.
Hinterland states that the ‘Wintermute Redux’ update contains numerous revisions, fixes, and upgrades, as well as new content. According to the studio, major highlights include the following:
“Narrative Presentation: New dialogue mode; all story is now experienced in first-person; all dialogue is fully voiced and animated. All cinematic moments have been redone.
“Narrative Content: All dialogue has been re-written and re-recorded. While the high-level story arc of Episodes One and Two remains the same, many of the supporting details have changed. We’ve introduced new plot elements, new locations, a new introduction, and overall a general layer of presentation polish on narrative content.
“Mission Structure: We’ve opened up the mission structure; previously there were several plot elements or side mission content (ex. Jeremiah’s Survival School) missions that were prerequisites to progressing in the story. As much as possible, while maintaining a logical story flow, we’ve made the mission structure more flexible. Side content is properly optional now and can be accessed over time and in between key narrative moments.
“Gameplay Improvements: In addition to opening up the structure somewhat, we’ve also retuned many of the mission objectives to provide the right amount of challenge. We’ve worked to reduce the amount of backtracking that is required to complete missions (while maintaining the right amount of open-world exploration to keep things interesting). We’ve completely overhauled the Bear Hunt mission structure, integrating it more fully into Episode Two, adding new Bear Spear gameplay, and adding climactic new encounter to complete that story. We’ve also made improvements to how we present mission information to the player. And finally, we’ve retuned the Survival ‘needs’ per Story Experience (Green, Capable, Hardened) and increased the amount of ammunition (Rifle, Distress Pistol) available in the world.”
‘Wintermute Redux’ game saves are not compatible with old versions of The Long Dark’s story mode. However, those users who have already played through Episodes One and Two in the original story mode and do not want want to upgrade to ‘Redux’ can freely continue with Episode Three upon its release in 2019.
The Long Dark was funded via financing from the Canada Media Fund and a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013. The title has been in Early Access on Steam since late 2014 and consistently patched and updated with new and revised content, leading up to an official launch on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 1, 2017.
The independent team has experienced no small amount of success with The Long Dark, announcing that the minimalist survival game had sold a healthy 1.3 million units just prior to its official launch. The studio also revealed that it has partnered with Jeremy Bolt, producer of the Resident Evil series of films, to work on a live-action adaptation of the property.