Featuring a 'season-pass' style content model
The Long Dark began as a Kickstarter project before being released on various consoles, including Nintendo Switch in 2020. This exploration/survival game has been updated with several free content drops over the years, but developer Hinterland Studio has announced that they’ll be changing the format going forward. In order to both ensure that development of the game can feasibly continue long term, and to help updates come out at a faster pace, they will be releasing future additions to the game as paid DLC, with a season pass style model available. Some more details from the developer diary update are as follows:
- It’ll be some kind of “season pass”-type approach (actual name TBD), where we have a ~15-18 month campaign of updates that unlock for anyone who has purchased the pass. The updates will come on a regular cadence over the course of that period.
- The pass will include a combination of content and gameplay system updates, including new regions, new challenges, new mechanics, etc., as well as general improvements and updates to core systems in the game.
- Additionally, for anyone who doesn’t like the season pass style approach and prefers to only pay for content when it’s complete, we will re-package the season’s content into 3-4 individual paid DLC packages.
- We’re still working on pricing, but the season pass will provide a discount on the combined price of the DLC, and each piece of paid DLC will be very fairly priced.
- We want to make sure our existing players who choose not to buy any more content (or are unable to afford it) are still going to have a great experience of The Long Dark, and won’t feel left behind. So we’ll also continue to provide some free updates to the base Survival game, so anyone who doesn’t buy the pass will get something. These updates will generally be smaller, more modest improvements compared to what you will see being added to the paid content stream, which seems only fair.
In addition to this new DLC model, they have also fully decoupled the Survival and Story modes of the game. What this means is that one doesn’t affect the other, and therefore testing time will be cut down significantly when either mode is updated. Hinterland Studios member Katie Sorrell will also be taking over as Project Lead on future The Long Dark content.
For a much more in-depth explanation of exactly what’s going on behind the scenes and what led to these decisions, you can read the full developer diary entry on the Hinterland Studios forums.