The Long Dark Adds Cabin Fever & Sandbox Challenges

One of the most wonderful things about The Long Dark [official site] is that it seems to affect different people in different ways. Take John, for example. He loves it, and has written about why on more than a few occasions. Alice, on the other hand, found she’d taken its harsh survival sandbox as far as she could pretty quickly. I fall somewhere in between the two in that I do love me a bit of surviving but at times need more incentive to do so than just coz. To this end, the game’s latest update v.321, named “Tireless Menace”, has introduced ‘Challenge Modes’ – objectives that frame the time spent avoiding death within its sprawling confines.

Update v.321 introduces two challenges. Hopeless Rescue sees you trekking from Mystery Lake to the summit of Timberwolf Mountain in order to poke around the fuselage of a crashed aircraft, before hoofing it back to the lighthouse at Desolation Point. You’ll need to complete this journey in fewer than seven days. In The Hunted, Part One your objective is far simpler: escape a murderous bear who’s out to, well, murder you. Make it from Pleasant Valley to the Travis Homestead alive and you’re a winner.

As well as changes to the user interface – such as a new radial menu that allows fast access to menus and crafting and such – the Tireless Menace update adds cabin fever and a new rest system which makes sleep a resource, meaning you can only nod off when you’re tired.

“We feel that these changes will go a long way towards keeping the game more interesting for long-term players, add another layer of strategic decision-making and resource management around where and when you Rest, and increase the challenge for those who’ve embraced long-term hibernation techniques,” say developers Hinterland.

Here’s more on all that in video form:

Earlier this month, Hinterland revealed an increase in scope had delayed The Long Dark’s much-awaited story mode, however outlined their future development goals via this road map. While what I’ve seen so far from the Tireless Menace update looks good in and of itself, it seems it could also go a long way in bridging that gap as far as offering an element of structure to the game’s survivalists is concerned. Full patch notes for update v.321 can be found here.


  1. teije says:

    Tried this out for a bit just in regular sandbox and radial menu takes a bit of getting used do, but seems useful. Didn’t play long enough to assess the other gameplay changes, but the exteriors are looking better than ever.

    My major issue with TLD currently is how crazy dark the interiors are during the day. Even when an interior has windows and its a bright sunny day outside, most interiors are so dark you can barely see anything. I hope they change that.

    • KD7BCH says:

      Wolf AI has gotten a substantial upgrade to variety. They are still dangerous but not asininely so. You can carry a piece of meat for a decoy and they will feast on it usually this is the best way to get rid of the wolf issue if you aren’t avoiding them. Otherwise charge and knife it out with them. The new sleep and recovery system is vastly improved.

  2. medwards says:

    I discovered intestinal parasites and cabin fever the hard way directly after the update, and directly before I wanted to make a summit attempt on Timberwolf Mountain. Many sad faces.

  3. Cooper says:

    I hope this is making basic survival a bit of a chellnge. I really like the ‘easiy’ mode where the wildlife (wolves) aren’t aggressive, but it makes the game trivial. I’d really like a mode where survival itself is hard, not simply because you have to creep past arbitrarily aggressive wolves…

    • Shiloh says:

      I feel the same way. I played it with the new update yesterday, but not really long enough to see if the revamped item degradation mechanism is going to make a difference.

    • teije says:

      Agree 100%. Survival mode on the hardest level, but without the insane Fluffys.

      • penryn says:

        Yes, same. I’d love to be able to separate those two degrees of difficulty.

  4. Banks says:

    The updates they’re making look really great. Still, I’ll wait until the single player content is released to jump back in. What I played a year ago showed great promise and I don’t want to ruin all the surprises yet.

  5. Mi-24 says:

    I fall in the category of “people who really like the long dark but feel lost in the pure sandbox mode” and really welcome this update. Played the bear challenge last night and it’s great

  6. scritty says:

    Strange to have someone previewing features of a genre they express they don’t like and don’t play in an article like this.
    Imagine if all games were treated like that “The new Doom game is out, I hate shooters, but if you insist it’s ok, but for me it’s ‘meh'”
    It’s not as if the reviewer mentions it once and then gets on with it. The dislike of the genre is alluded to several more times in the body of the preview and the summary is also dismissive of the genre.
    Got to ask. What’s the point of that?
    People who don’t like a genre don’t tend to buy games in that genre – or read posts or articles about that genre or individual games.
    So who is this article aimed at?