Hinterland has announced it will release a paid season pass of sorts for The Long Dark later this year.
According to a rather lengthy developer diary posted to the game's Steam page and the official website, studio founder Raphael van Lierop - who also announced he was stepping down as project lead to work on new things - the team has "decoupled" Story Mode and Survival Mode making it easier to produce content for one without impacting the other.
Apparently, the interrelationship between mechanics and content between the two meant some updates the team would have liked to make in one area couldn’t be accomplished because of how they might impact the other.
Now that the team has found a way to separate Survival and Story from each other, it will be working on a whole new era of Survival Mode content that will "bring new life and new energy" back into the game. This will consist of a paid update path for the mode, and the first of such added since the game's release eight years ago.
It’ll take a “season pass-type approach" consisting of a 15-18 month campaign of updates which will come in 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, and more as well as general improvements and updates to core systems.
Additionally, for anyone who doesn’t like the season pass style approach and prefers to only pay for content when it’s complete, Hinterland 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," van Lierop assured.
"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."
Hinterland will release more information about its plans, and provide some visuals to help communicate its planned roadmap sometime before we launch sometime during the second half of this year.
The most recent DLC for the game, Episode Four: Fury, Then Silence, was released back in October for Story Mode. Episode Five is currently in the works.
The Long Dark is available for PC through Steam and the Epic Games Store as well as PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.