Despite being Kickstarted in late 2013, arriving in Early Access the following year, and launching several wholesome updates along the way, The Long Dark has long missed one key feature: a story mode. Now, after a two and a half year wait, this is no longer the case.
Just over three weeks ago, the survival exploration game's developer Hinterland Studio launched an unspecified countdown timer which we—and the game's corner of Reddit—suspected was related to the much-anticipated story mode.
Of course nothing was certain until the clock had run its course. Now it has and, due on August 1, 2017, the first two episodes of The Long Dark's five-part 'Wintermute' story mode will arrive. It looks something like this:
As for what it entails, the first pair of Wintermute episodes centre on bush pilot Will Mackenzie and Dr. Astrid Greenwood and the events that unfold following their separation out in the wilderness. I've read over the blurb that now features on the game's website, and while it's not overly spoiler heavy I'll avoid spilling the (cold) beans here and let you browse that at your leisure.
It is worth noting that the devs reckon that "6-10 hours [duration] for the two episodes seems pretty consistent". Hinterland also notes that episodes three to five will arrive between now and "into 2018."
Prior to the arrival of the elusive story mode, a relatively extensive update to the game's sandbox mode is also expected—which will introduce an overhauled save system, reworked UI, and an "opt-in" map system, among other things. Full details of that can be found in this direction.
The Long Dark's Early Access variation out now on the Humble Store for £14.99/$19.99. Its Story Mode is due August 1, which is when the game will also release in full.