Last month, Hinterland Lead Developer Raphael van Lierop posted a development update  detailing the future of the studio’s survival game, The Long Dark. The good news is that there is a lot in the works, including a soon-to-be-released patch containing a massive swath of bug fixes.

The bad news, however, is that any timeline on new content additions to the game’s Wintermute story or Survival mode remain relegated to nebulous realm between “soon” and “someday.” To that end, I’ve compiled a list of fresh approaches to surviving the arctic perils of The Long Dark while you wait. They are almost certainly going to get you killed very quickly.

The Long Dark: Five Fresh Ways to Play While You Wait for More Content

The “A Kill a Day Keeps the Cold Away (or Hunter’s Strip Tease)” Playthrough

The rules here are pretty simple: Kill an animal every day or permanently lose an article of clothing. This includes day zero, so I hope you’re good at throwing stones. Unless you happen to spawn next to rifle and a few rounds, you’re probably going to spend a fair amount of that initial day hucking rocks at rabbits.

If you don’t kill something on any given day, your punishment is the permanent loss of a clothing slot. Miss enough days and you’re going to be one cold survivor.

For added challenge, leave the rabbits alone and focus your over-the-top wrath on larger prey. That leaves wolves, moose, or bears. If you find a knife, you can always invite a wolf over and puncture it in the ensuing wrestling match.

The Long Dark: Five Fresh Ways to Play While You Wait for More Content

The “Sugar-Free” Playthrough

Your survivor doesn’t do sugar. Maybe it’s allergy-related or a moral stance that is so unshakable that even a catastrophic geomagnetic disaster and the constant threat of innumerable unpleasant causes of death can’t bring it down. Maybe your character just really hates sweets. You can devise your own backstory.

In any case, candy and granola bars are off the table, so to speak. Soda? Give me a break. Go ahead and leave the canned peaches and peanut butter behind. Is there sugar in dog food? Probably. Better stay away.

It won’t take long before your food options start to get tight, so be prepared to survive on coffee and cat tail stalks if The Long Dark‘s resource lottery doesn’t go your way.

While we’re on the subject of diets:

The “Soft Foods Diet” Playthrough

Let’s assume you had your wisdom teeth removed right before you magically appeared on Great Bear. Hopefully you have some painkillers on you. More pressing, however, is the fact that you won’t be able to chew. That means soft foods only. Meat and most snacks are out of the question. Your diet will consist of coffee, tea, and soup. The good news is that unlike the sugar-free approach, you’re free to dine on canned dog food to your heart’s content. Bon appétit.

The Long Dark: Five Fresh Ways to Play While You Wait for More Content

The “This Pack Is Getting’ Heavy” and “I’m Not Weak. You’re Weak!” Playthroughs

You may have tweaked your back on impact, or maybe it was when you fell off that 18-inch ledge and sprained everything you can sprain. In any case, you’re maxed out at 15 kilograms, or half of what the game considers to be the high end of acceptable. Better stick to the essentials, lest you overload your weakened frame.

This is going to make any long journey harder, especially when it comes to harvesting animals. The upside is that you’ll be able to out-sprint anything that wants to eat you, so, you know, that’s nice.

Conversely, you can take the full-bravado route. In this case, your pack absolutely cannot go below 35 kilograms at any point, not matter how tired you are. Climbing is out of the question, and any intense sprinting is going to eat through your stamina the way you ate through that first MRE you found at the top of Timberwolf Mountain. It’s okay of course, because you’ll be proving to everyone else that you’re the toughest living thing out there. Surely, bears will cower in fear.

The Long Dark: Five Fresh Ways to Play While You Wait for More Content

The “This is My 30 Days of Night Fan Fic” Playthrough

Stay out of the sunlight. It is your mortal enemy. You hunt, forage, and pillage in the darkness of night.

On a clear evening, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, though, you’d better stay close to safety or risk getting lost in the wilderness.

You’re going to be spending a lot of time inside. In fact, the temptation to go outside on a nice day might be the most challenging part of this playthrough. You can even take the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicle approach, spending some of that downtime journaling a memoir of your last days as a human all those hundreds of years ago.

Challenge mode: Go full vampire, or close to it. Raw meat only. I’d very much like to know how long you manage to survive in The Long Dark on a raw meat diet. My prediction: not very long, at all.


There you have it: five fresh way to play The Long Dark while you wait for more content. Feel free to comment your own ideas, below. If you’ve never played the game and have no idea why I’m casually suggesting killing an animal every day or eating dog food, you can check out The Long Dark‘s Steam page or read more Cliqist coverage of the game, here. The Long Dark is also available on PS4 and Xbox One.

Geron Graham

Geron Graham

Geron is a freelance journalist currently holed up in Interior Alaska. He is in love with gaming both for its potential as a storytelling medium in the modern world and its simpler role as an endlessly entertaining past time. When he isn’t gaming or writing about games, he can usually be found singing loudly to his children, complaining about the cold, or climbing hills in search of scenic views.
Geron Graham

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