The time of year has arrived where I continually look out my window hoping for a permanent blanket of snow the way holiday movies always promised me there would be. As usual, it's boring and bleak out there and I look to games like The Long Dark to escape the drabness of my actual surroundings. Nothing says holiday cheer like building a fire of twigs in a survival game to avoid dying of exposure so I'm glad I've been given a reason to boot up The Long Dark again this season with the upcoming update called Errant Pilgrim.
Hinterland announced in a blog post last week that The Long Dark's next Survival Mode update will come with a good chunk of changes in mid-December. Most would call the addition of a new region objectively most important. The Long Dark's Survival Mode was the whole game before Hinterland began releasing story episodes, with only a couple distinct explorable zones in the sandbox at first.
"This will be our first region to feature a two-part environmental puzzle of sorts," Hinterland' say. Opening up the entire area to explore will apparently involve entering the map from various directions, presumably connected by the game's other areas. I have played my fair share of The Long Dark and can assure you this means a lot of trekking through the snow, sometimes at night, eating cold dog food out of a can.
A new explorable zone does sound grand but let me tell you about an even more important re-addition. Hinterland's post mentions that this update will mark the return of Fluffy. If you don't know the monster, count yourself lucky. "Fluffy," is the fan-given name of a wolf known to guard a dam connecting The Long Dark's first explorable zone to the next. Fluffy is the reason that, until the Story Mode was released, I never managed to win my way through Carter Hydro Dam into the second area. According to Hinterland, Fluffy is coming back and might be armed with some timberwolf friends. Will fluffy return to the dam to continue guarding against foolish players like me who were never able to defeat her? Or, like the timberwolves that Hinterland promises are (for now) only in the new region, will she be guarding some new location?
There are some other changes coming with the update that you can read about in Hinterland's November dev diary like a new community-inspired Challenge Mode, new feats (achievements), and some new but unmentioned survival tools for late in the game. Trust me when I tell you that Fluffy is what you need to remember about the Errant Pilgrim update. Never forget Fluffy. That's when she strikes.
If you're trying The Long Dark for the first time, it's on sale on Steam at the moment.