The Long Dark has been plenty scary for years, in my opinion, but this year Hinterland Studio are upping the horror vibes for spooky season. Escape The Darkwalker is a new in-game event that will force you to stay on the run ahead of an invisible, evil entity. Because being stalked by wolves and weather sure wasn't enough. Escape The Darkwalker will run from October 29th to November 12th.
"In an endless night, you are stalked by an invisible, malevolent entity bent on your destruction," say Hinterland. "Keep your distance from the entity for as long as you can. Once it closes in on you, you die. The only objective is to survive for as many real-time minutes as you can." Excuse me, minutes? Survival in The Long Dark is normally on the scale of in-game days, usually working out a few real-time hours. Apparently they're expecting this evil entity to be pretty deadly.
Hinterland say that you can't hurt the Darkwalker, but you can slow it down by spray painting special glyphs. You also can't just hole up and hide from it in a house. Since it's invisible, you'll have to rely on listening for the Darkwalker to stay ahead of it. To make matters worse, you'll have a limited time to explore each region of the game before a toxic fog will roll in and force you to move on. Sounds like planning your route between regions will be critical.
Escape The Darkwalker is a pretty big leap from the slightly spooky events Hinterland have done in past Octobers. In previous years, their Four Days Of Night mode lasted, yeah, just four days. It put the world in perpetual darkness and turned wolves into demonic wolves, among a few other things, but otherwise kept your goal of survival by managing calories and temperature the same as the main game. Escaping the Darkwalker sounds like a much more frantic way to play. Participating in the event will unlock the custom game mode "endless night".
Hinterland say that in years past, some players had been disappointed if they missed the quite short window to play Four Days Of Night, so this year's spooky survival mode has a full two-week window. As for the big gameplay changes, they say "we also wanted to freshen things up this year and do something different that would perhaps embrace a bit of a stronger 'horror' vibe than we normally would in the game. Halloween is a fun holiday and this gives us the opportunity to play around with ideas that might not make as much sense in core gameplay, but can provide a lot of suspenseful enjoyment for our players!"
You can read the rest of the details about the Darkwalker in Hinterland's post. Study up, because this thing sounds even more persistent than the wolves and bears that can normally be your end in The Long Dark.