The third episode of snowy survival sandbox The Long Dark‘s story campaign is due to launch in December, developers Hinterland Studio announced last night, alongside revamped versions of its first two. Hinterland are making the opening chapters less linear, see, to reflect the planned structure of episode 3 – and address some criticism. Our episode 2 review in particular took issue with the linear quest structure forced on sandbox survival, which still felt needlessly like a tutorial – and often an irritating tutorial. So roll on December, bring the snow and the howl, make this whole game deep and crisp and even.
“In Episode Three, you’ll play as Dr. Astrid Greenwood, and the story picks up in the aftermath of the events of Milton, as experienced from Mackenzie’s point of view in Episode One,” game director Raphael van Lierop said in last night’s announcement. “You’ll meet new survivors, explore a new region, and find out more about the events prior to, and after, the First Flare event that engulfed Great Bear Island — and perhaps the rest of the world — into ‘the long dark’.”
As for the Redux versions, Raph van Lierop explained back in February:
“In terms of the openness of our mission structure — it was always our intention that things would open up and become less linear in Episode Three, and beyond, but after considering the feedback about Episodes One and Two, I felt that making the player go through 15-20 hours of fairly linear missions so that they could get to Episode Three’s more open structure, was asking too much of them. So, one of the things we’ve done is go back to the Episode One and Two mission structures and work on opening them up, so that most missions can be done in any order, and some missions — like Jeremiah’s Survival School — will become optional.”
The ‘Redux’ versions will also shift cinematics to a first-person view, and bring voices for all NPC dialogue. They’ll change enough that mid-game saves won’t carry over from the original versions, though Hinterland hope that enough has changed and been added that people will want to revisit them in this new light. Apparently the bear that kept eating Pip’s shoes has been reworked too.