The Long Dark has been getting a good amount of attention since its Kickstarter campaign started in mid-September, but this was mostly due to the ideas and the creative team behind it. One of the things it was missing was any in-game footage, but with eight days left on the clock we can finally see how well the concept art matches up to what the graphic engine’s output. Turns out it looks every bit as good as the artwork promised.
The Long Dark is a game of survival, set in a world where a solar flare has wiped out our technology, giant aurora roll majestically across the sky, and winter has closed in. Survival is harsh, and finding supplies and information is key to not becoming just another frozen corpsicle for the wolves to snack on. The game keeps track of multiple stats, and the demo shows off developer-view information on hunger, exhaustion, warmth, and thirst. Being more active burns calories, which requires food to replenish, which means you need to get out there and find it while also keeping warm, all the while pursuing story objectives to complete the current chapter. The game’s structure is semi-episodic, with the first (assuming they get to do a sequel) game covering winter and divided into multiple chapters. There’s been a bit of confusion on The Long Dark’s structure, but it’s a full, complete game that also includes a limitless sandbox survival mode.
It’s also looking lovely and a bit brutal, and it’s hard not to feel sympathetically chilly watching the snow fall and trees sway in the wind. A harsh post-civilization winter in the far north is no place to be trapped without a cozy well-stocked home to call your own, but lying down and hoping spring shows up in a few minutes isn’t a practical survival strategy. Nature is huge, indifferent, and hungry, and surviving its harshest conditions and the people trapped there with you is looking like it should be a bleak but lovely challenge.