We’re beyond thrilled to share the latest installment of The Long Dark’s Wintermute story mode with Xbox players today. This is just one more milestone in a history of close collaboration between Hinterland and Xbox, going back to the launch of The Long Dark‘s Xbox Game Preview in 2015.
Back then, The Long Dark had already been a success on PC, but we had no specific plans to bring the game to console yet. That changed during a call late in 2014 with the team at ID@Xbox, when they shared their plans to offer an early access type program, a first for consoles. They asked if we wanted to help launch this, and we jumped in, determined to be amongst the first games to be available this way on console. And so with some serious hustle, in 26 days we went from having no Xbox build (at all), to running well on the platform and through certification, ready to launch.
This work culminated with us being available as one of the first two launch titles for Xbox Game Preview at E3 2015! It was a big moment for our small studio, having a game mentioned in the Microsoft Media Event and demoing on the show floor alongside huge first-party behemoths like Halo and Gears of War, and launching the first day of E3.
Being on Game Preview cemented The Long Dark’s place on Xbox, and it helped us build a community of players who are still with us to this day. And this group has only grown since we brought The Long Dark to Xbox Game Pass back in 2020. Some of our most passionate players are on Xbox.
Today we’re thrilled to share Episode Four: Fury, Then Silence. It continues the story of bush pilot Will Mackenzie, in his search for Dr. Astrid Greenwood amongst the frigid, dangerous wilds of Great Bear island in Canada’s deep north. A mysterious aurora in the sky seems to be interfering with anything electrical, and as a result Mackenzie, Astrid, and everyone they meet is struggling to survive the harsh winter and brutal wildlife, all without the human-made comforts we all take for granted. Episode Four ups the ante by introducing a band of bloodthirsty convicts, eager to leave their mark on Great Bear and exploit these new circumstances. Will Mackenzie survive this new threat, to continue his search for Astrid?
We call our setting the “Quiet Apocalypse.” It’s not the typical end-of-the-world scenario with zombies, or aliens, or supernatural beasts. Just humanity facing our over-reliance on technology and the loss of skills and community that leave us vulnerable when we find society turned on its head. Mother Nature is in charge, and she is neutral to your existence. This is a theme that, although we began exploring it years ago, has become unexpectedly relevant during the past 18+ months of COVID lockdown. Our greatest joy comes from hearing that players experience a sense of solace and thoughtful escapism into the quiet wilderness of The Long Dark. This is why we make the things we make — to touch players deeply.
With Episode Four launching today, we turn our thoughts to Episode Five and the conclusion of our Wintermute story mode, as well as ongoing plans to support Survival Mode in our quest to create the best survival game in the world. Thank you to the Xbox player community for years of support along the way — all the feedback you’ve shared, all the times you told your friends to check out the game, and all the small ways in which you enrich The Long Dark’s community. We are forever grateful.
The years behind us are nothing compared to the years ahead. Enjoy Episode Four, and we’ll see you in the Quiet Apocalypse.
The Long Dark
Hinterland Studio Inc.
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