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.