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Raphael van Lierop

Milton Mailbag -- Dispatch #2

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Hey all,

Seems like a lot of you enjoyed Dispatch #1 of our Milton Mailbag. Thanks for all the great questions. I'll work through as many of them as possible, but we may not get to all of them. Don't feel bad if I miss yours! Some things are easier to answer than others, and I'm trying to balance time responding to questions against time creating new experiences for you. The shorter/pithier the responses can be, the more questions I can answer. :)

Now, on to the Dispatch #2 questions and responses.

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Question from forum user @cullam

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Are more Challenges in the works? I thought they were one of the most interesting additions to the game, as they forced alternative play-styles! 

We'll definitely be wrapping up The Hunted Trilogy with Part 3, at some point. Not sure when, but it'll use mechanics we're using in the revised version of the Bear Hunt mission from the Episode Two Redux. I love the Challenges as bite-sized experiences that provide short objectives, so I'm sure we'll keep producing them as we can.

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Question from forum user @Dan_:

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Love the game! Is there any chance we get more craftable clothing in the near future? A hat would be really, really cool.... or warm, I mean... 

We've seen the requests for a craftable hat, and we have some ideas for that. It makes sense as a way to be able to complete a full set of hand-crafted clothing, which is especially important in longer Survival games (or when playing more challenging Experience Modes, like Stalker or Interloper).

I'd like to add more clothing in general. Unfortunately, partly due to our paper-doll clothing UI, adding new clothing to the game is a really time-consuming process. We've explored some new ways to represent player clothing in the game but they are all pretty big systems and changes, so we probably won't overhaul clothing or add a significant amount of new stuff any time soon. We'll see about dropping a few new strategic clothing items when we can, though.

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Question from forum user @Karl Grylls:

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Do you plan to update the Merch-Section? For example a Soundtrack-CD or embroidered fabric patches that could be sewn onto bags or clothing in the style of the challenge-badges (Hunted 1,2,... Nomad, but the older one). I suggested it here some time ago.

Yup! We have some new items already -- just waiting to label/tag them so that they can be added to the merch store (www.hinterlandstore.com). We have some other ideas for items as well. I love the idea of fabric badges that go with achieving Feats or completing Challenges. We've talked about the idea of a "camp blanket" that you could gather all your badges on. For the soundtrack -- we're about to release a non-Steam version of the existing Volume 1, and when we have a bit of spare time we'll investigate a physical version. We'd still like to do a vinyl version as well!

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Question from forum user @Otternaut:

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How is Hinterland doing as a company? Are you guys expanding? Are you planning future games? Will there be continued development of TLD after Episode 3? I ask because I think you guys made something really amazing and I hope that development of TLD and the Hinterland brand continues well into the future. As a nature lover, I have my own personal preferences for the future of the game; ideally, I'd like it if you guys had enough cash-flow to hire an animal behaviorist, a few cutting edge AI specialists, and many more coders.  I notice with many indie games that after ALPHA release, development either slows down significantly or it stops completely with all development being picked up entirely by a mod community (like it did with KSP). This hasn't been the case with you busy guys over at Hinterland (thank you) but the industry is the industry and I worry about the future.  I'll just say this, I've grown to admire the system the devs have over at Paradox Interactive. When City-Skylines came out, it was a pretty basic sandbox for it's genre. But Paradox has been pumping out fantastic, high quality, single-purchase DLCs regularly since its release and has built a very respectable reputation among their community willing to pay for their products.  As far as I can tell, it's the best system for long-time-line development post ALPHA for sandbox games that produces the happiest community. I speak for myself when I say I would be fine if you guys adopted a similar payment model in the future post Episode 3 (so shut up and take my money, Raph.)  Jokes aside, thanks for reading my questions/rant. The Mailbag was a great idea btw.   

We're doing well, thanks. Working hard on WINTERMUTE and also updating Survival Mode. The game continues to sell well and the company is very healthy. But yes, business model and revenue has been on my mind lately, just because giving free content away for 5 years, while it makes us feel good, is maybe not the best business model. I'm still 100% committed to giving all five WINTERMUTE episodes to all our current players, but we may think about some new ways to sell content in the future.

We'd like to produce some Survival DLC but haven't really taken that idea too far because we know people are still waiting for us to finish WINTERMUTE and we don't want to seem greedy (we're not!). I think Paradox has been smart about how they approach a lot of stuff and yeah we can probably learn a lot from them!

I also have 2-3 new games I'd like to start prototyping at some point soon. We've been hiring some new people and thinking about how to continue building out our team, wisely, so that we can continue to push The Long Dark forward but also not just become "The Long Dark Studio". It's really important for the health of the team and the company, as well as for my own creative process and mental well-being, to be able to work on new stuff, and it's not wise to create too much dependence on a single game or revenue stream. Also, I've been working on The Long Dark for about 6 years now. I love it, but it's not the only game I want to make. :)

It's an exciting time for us, but we're mostly still just focused on getting our Episodes out so we can live up up that promise. It'll be nice to be able to talk about another new IP at some point, but we still have a lot of work to do on The Long Dark and that's what the team is focused on.

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Question from forum user @GrievingSage:

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Given the layout of Great Bear and the upcoming story mode from Astrids POV, might there be a new region added to story and survival mode? 

New regions add quite a bit of content in their own right and change survival runs dramatically!

 

Yup, we'll be growing Great Bear with Episode Three, and beyond!

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Question from forum user @deathbytes:

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Can we expect any revisit of cabin fever into a more general mental wellness? Or a revisit of hunger resulting in direct condition loss rather a more general wasting effect on abilites? Maybe there could be bonuses for being well-feed over long perods, like increased enudurance (tire less when exerting self), increased strength (more carry weight, better strugle outcomes), increased hit points. These values could decrease when you burn so many more calories than you take in.

Yes, at some point. Possible. Yes. Not sure about that one. :)

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Question from forum user @Vonwoah:

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What is in the briefcase?

Come on. :)

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Question from forum user @Hadrian:

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One of the most compelling — and surely daunting — ambitions the team has ever disclosed to the community has been making The Long Dark's sandbox have all four seasons instead of just one.

Is this still on internal roadmaps, and can you talk about some of the challenges and opportunities it would present?

 

The development effort for this would be about 5x the work we've already put into the game, not to mention we'd have to build our entire world over from scratch. My feeling is that this all-season sandbox will happen at some point, but it will likely mean an entirely new standalone game, and not something we'd be able to give away for free.

I'd love to do it, though -- long-term, four-season survival still hasn't been done and I think we could do it very well. :)

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Thanks for all the questions! Hope the answers are interesting/helpful/enlightening, and please feel free to discuss them elsewhere in the Mailbag sub-forum, or elsewhere in the community. And if you have a question you'd like to see answered in a future Dispatch, just post it in the main thread and I'll try to get to it next time.

Enjoy your weekends. For the Canadians in the community, Happy Canada Day on Sunday! :coffee:

Cheers,

Raph

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