The world of The Long Dark  is one of harsh beauty. The same elements that may kill you with indifference, haunt you with their majesty. The wind howls, the snow falls, and the aurora hangs above you, a breathtaking reminder of what humanity has just lost. The developers have talked a lot thus far about rugged bearded men, the rough “coffee and cigarettes” men like bush pilot Will Mackenzie, who have the stern stuff needed to survive in this post-digital, post-disaster world – but every bit equal to them are the strong women who face the new frontier, and today Hinterland Games  announced that my absolute favourite female voice actor, Jennifer Hale , has officially joined the cast of The Long Dark. In a project funding update – at press time, the Kickstarter  campaign stood at $ 161, 514.00 with 5.5 days remaining to reach the studio’s goal of $ 200, 000.00.
Jennifer Hale is the epitome of this strength. An avid climber, skier, rider, and a CERT trained volunteer rescue worker, Jennifer lives and breathes the outdoors. She also volunteers with a group that rescues horses in advance of oncoming brush fires. Her strong, rich voice has already brought gravitas to the intro voice over for The Long Dark’s Kickstarter  pitch video, as well as hundreds of television shows, animated series, and of course, over 130 video games including leading roles in the Mass Effect series (as Commander Shepard), BioShock Infinite, Halo 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, among many, many others.
The team at Hinterland is very excited to have Jennifer bring her incredible talents to The Long Dark, and they can’t wait to share more with you about her character, and the pivotal role she plays in the story. Jennifer joins already announced cast members Mark Meer and Elias Toufexis on Hinterland’s debut title.
In other game updates, yesterday Hinterland announced that the studio has partnered up with Gamepedia.com  on the Curse.com  network, to be the official host of the Wiki for The Long Dark! Gamepedia already hosts the official wikis for great games like Minecraft, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, etc., as well as hosting the official wikis for some recent Kickstarter darlings like Mighty No. 9 and Hyper Light Drifter. The team will share the official link with fans as soon as it’s skinned and ready to go.
Hinterland also revealed details about game world Safe Houses:
In an open-world experience like The Long Dark, the player needs a place of safety they can return to rest and recover from the hazards faced during exploration, make choices around gear customization, repairing and improving gear, crafting, planning longer excursions to distant locales, etc., as well as interact with key story NPCs.
The Safe House provides significant gameplay value to the player and sometimes acts as a “gate” for content progress — in other words, events that advance the story or change the world state may only occur when the player returns to the Safe House.
As such, there will be a constant pull on the player to return to the Safe House, and the tension between wanting to remain in the relative safety of the Safe House vs. needing to head out into the world to find supplies and complete objectives will drive a lot of self-directed sandbox gameplay.
Some examples of actions you can undertake while in the Safe House, as well as general gameplay benefits:
- Shelter from the elements. Safe Houses offer protection from weather and cold, and wood stoves can be used to provide heat, cook food, etc.
- Gear and supply storage. This includes excess gear (clothing, tools, repair components, weapons, etc.), food and water, fuel, first aid equipment, etc. Store “stuff” that you find in the world that you think might be useful but don’t necessarily want to carry around with you wherever you go, and resupply on food, water, ammunition, etc.
- Workbench. A good place to do some crafting or item repair beyond simple maintenance.
- Bed. You’ll get very tired exploring the world and will sometimes need to rest. “Using” the bed will bring up an analog watch interface you can set to advance time. Resting will reduce your Fatigue, and will advance certain health-related conditions (healing, or the progress of illness), and is also a useful way to advance time.
- Bookshelf. You might find some useful books in the world on topics you’d like to learn more about. Find them and dedicate time to reading them, and you can increase your Knowledge about certain things in the world.
The Safe House will also be a location that can act as a gateway for narrative progression through the game story. This means, occasionally important events will be triggered by returning to, or leaving, the Safe House.
Long-distance travel between locations might require the establishment of more than one Safe House. You will also be able to set up temporary Camps which can be useful places to take shelter, rest, and resupply along travel routes, as well as Supply Caches which are essentially points of resupply where you can top up on food, water, first aid consumables, etc.