The Long Dark is like comfort food — it’s what I come back to when I’m craving something familiar. And even after long periods of time spent away from its cold, desolate world, whenever I return, it feels like home. That’s an odd thing to say about a brutal, frozen Canadian tundra, but it’s home nonetheless. So when Hinterland Studio announced the Winter’s Embrace event, which reduces temperatures and increases the frequency of blizzards, well, I knew it was time to go home again.
Let me just say that this game is kicking my butt like never before, but I am loving every slow, cold, starving, running-from-wolves moment.
In case you don’t follow The Long Dark, it’s a survival game that released in Early Access all the way back in September of 2014. It was pretty bare-bones at the time, though it was bulkier by the time it got an official release in 2017. But Hinterland has been building a strong, devoted fanbase over the years by continually (though slowly at first) updating and supporting the game with substantive supplemental content. The game has only continued to improve.
With a limited-time event, titled Winter’s Embrace, Hinterland has upped the environmental challenge to a punishing level, while keeping the other core survival elements on their more modest difficulty level.
For me, this is the perfect mix. It allows for a more punishing world without overpowering the wolves or stripping you of equipment, like the extra-hard Interloper difficulty does.
Plus, it allows you to obtain badges (for a limited time). That’s right, I said badges. Hinterland has added two new in-game badges for completing challenges related to the Winter’s Embrace event.
For the month of July only, if you can find and consume 25 of the newly added Maple Syrup and Ketchup Chips across multiple saves, you unlock the first of two new badges. I guess poutine would be too much to ask for in a post-geomagnetic-event-ravaged tundra.
If you manage to survive for 25 consecutive in-game days in one save file, you’ll unlock the second new badge unique to Winter’s Embrace. All of this is in honor of Canada Day, dontcha know?
It’s always nice when new content for a beloved game comes out and gives you fresh incentive to sink more time into it. I know our site owner Josh was stoked to see the No Man’s Sky Desolation content that came out last week, and I’m always happy to see The Long Dark continue to chug along.
Sometimes, you just need a little comfort gaming, especially in these crazy times. And, as I said in the beginning of this article, The Long Dark is one of my comfort-food games. After spending a few hours with this social distancing, sheltering-in-place survival simulator, maybe it’ll help you forget about the real world for a while.