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Dev Diary - November 2018

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On 08/11/2018 at 3:58 PM, stapeliad said:

I want to stick a deer antler on top and be a Hinterland-style unicorn!

That would give full druidic powers and spoil gameplay balance. It would be hella fun, though. :coffee:

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Congratulations on scooping up the animation team & equipment. However, I personally never thought TLD was lacking in or missing animations. If I remember correctly, the game was originally not designed with animated 3D cutscenes - instead bits of the story were to be told with hand-drawn paintings/pictures. That kind of storytelling - pictures accompanied with voice-over - has been used in some iconic games of the past, for example in  Max Payne I & II, in my opinion to very good effect. Other games used animated cutscenes to tell bits of the story, for example Mafia. To me, either way has its own feeling, and I would not even say 3D animations are always better - I always liked the storytelling conveyed through pictures just as much, if done right. From what I gathered from various comments made by @Raphael van Lieropover the years, it was my impression that problems with 3D animation was one of the reasons why the development of TLD was slowed down so much (the announcement in the OP also says something in that direction). I am not in a position to judge this, but maybe - maybe, looking back, dropping the comic pictures and introducing 3D animations was a mistake. Anyway, the game has gone up that river, and there is likely no turning back.

Arching back to the beginning of my post - in my humble opinion the cutscenes were sufficient, or at least I did not find them lacking. What turned me off about story mode was the weakness of the storytelling, as well as the weakness of the dialogues (and maybe the structure of some of the quests). It is here that I am hoping very much for improvements, and the announcement that everything in episodes 1 & 2 has been re-written and re-recorded gives me reason to have such hopes. I am one of those people who did not play through the existing story mode, I stopped somewhere in the bear quest in episode 2 and went back to playing survival mode. But I will surely return to the story mode come December and the Redux version.

Thanks again to Hinterland for all the work put into TLD. I'll keep playing and following this, and I'll also buy the next game/DLC Hinterland will put out, whatever it is.

 

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On 2018-11-11 at 10:40 AM, Hotzn said:

Congratulations on scooping up the animation team & equipment. However, I personally never thought TLD was lacking in or missing animations. If I remember correctly, the game was originally not designed with animated 3D cutscenes - instead bits of the story were to be told with hand-drawn paintings/pictures. That kind of storytelling - pictures accompanied with voice-over - has been used in some iconic games of the past, for example in  Max Payne I & II, in my opinion to very good effect. Other games used animated cutscenes to tell bits of the story, for example Mafia. To me, either way has its own feeling, and I would not even say 3D animations are always better - I always liked the storytelling conveyed through pictures just as much, if done right. From what I gathered from various comments made by @Raphael van Lieropover the years, it was my impression that problems with 3D animation was one of the reasons why the development of TLD was slowed down so much (the announcement in the OP also says something in that direction). I am not in a position to judge this, but maybe - maybe, looking back, dropping the comic pictures and introducing 3D animations was a mistake. Anyway, the game has gone up that river, and there is likely no turning back.

Arching back to the beginning of my post - in my humble opinion the cutscenes were sufficient, or at least I did not find them lacking. What turned me off about story mode was the weakness of the storytelling, as well as the weakness of the dialogues (and maybe the structure of some of the quests). It is here that I am hoping very much for improvements, and the announcement that everything in episodes 1 & 2 has been re-written and re-recorded gives me reason to have such hopes. I am one of those people who did not play through the existing story mode, I stopped somewhere in the bear quest in episode 2 and went back to playing survival mode. But I will surely return to the story mode come December and the Redux version.

Thanks again to Hinterland for all the work put into TLD. I'll keep playing and following this, and I'll also buy the next game/DLC Hinterland will put out, whatever it is.

 

Just to keep expectations in check -- I wrote both the original episodes, and I also wrote the Redux episodes, so if you didn't like the writing in the original release, you may not like the writing in the Redux versions either. The vast majority of the game has been rewritten, but the writer hasn't changed.

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@Raphael van LieropI think that's a good thing. I liked the story a lot when I heard of it at first (and back then not much was known), it lead me to my decision to support you all with my small donation.
Many things have changed since then but my appreciation for the story has only grown. There's a certain mystery which is being unfolded in Story mode, the way it's done is kinda like listening to a very good story teller.

I'm very curious about the Redux but I don't expect any disappointment, some people are just very good at telling stories. ^_^:toque:

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While I greatly appreciated the characters we see in Wintermute especially Jeremiah, the way they see the world and all this introspective quest, I feel a bit sad I actually didn't care at all about finding Astrid. You come back after years, then abandon me? Go to hell. To me this is the only "hole", but I'm not a very kind person. My feeling is that the lines are very, very well written, and I tend not to have the same opinion about the plot, the scenario. I make a really big difference between the dialogues and the screenplay (maybe that was also what @Hotzn wanted to say): the first I can judge (the atmosphere is perfect), the second I'll hold judgment because we've seen only two episodes out of five. I can't see how I could empathize with Astrid, but who knows?

To me the masterpiece of the storytelling is this naïve Mackenzie which prefers simplifying everything instead of facing the reality, which is why he likes alcohol a bit too much. Suddenly this little boy (Jeremiah and Grey Mother are somehow his parents) has to face the brutal reality of the world. And must accept to face complexity, make hard choices, there's no easy way anymore. He has to be an adult, at last.

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I'm just a playing pleb and I'm down with whatever you think is best Raphael. It's your company and while development has been a bit slow, the results are stellar. So, with faith in such continued outcomes, do what you feel is best...I'm not going anywhere. Looking forward to giving you some more money. :)

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19 hours ago, BareSkin said:

I feel a bit sad I actually didn't care at all about finding Astrid. You come back after years, then abandon me? Go to hell.

I don't think it's necessary to empathise with Astrid yet. In episode 3, we will be playing as her, and that's when her motivations and character will (or should, at least) be revealed in more depth. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Redux does in terms of the story telling, but I don't expect there to be much more revealed about Will and Astrid's complicated past until later in the story.

The fact that players are kept in the dark about who the main protagonists are and how they got where they were at the start of our story is a little frustrating and makes it difficult to empathise with them, but I do think that is a deliberate and conscious writing choice by Raphael, and it does at least serve to maintain some mystery and anticipation about how these things are revealed later. And I quite like that.

The main issue I had with the first version of the story mode was that the linearity of the narrative seemed to operate in opposition to the more free-form actions of the player, rather than the two complimenting each other. I often felt that my actions in controlling Will were undermining the plot by inadvertently creating continuity breaks, because the dialogue wasn't flexible (or vague) enough to accommodate some of my actions that might not follow the writer's intended path through the missions precisely enough. It was a technical, gameplay issue rather than a story-telling one, and that's what I hope has been given most attention.

Edited by Pillock
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I'm glad everyone here seems to be happy with your latest setback, but I must be the one who will express my frustrations.

 

I have left this game sit after the disappointment of episodes 1&2.  I haven't even bothered with the sandbox.  I was one of the early supporters of this game as the concept looked really interesting and the descriptions from the devs had me really excited for a game that was not a carbon copy of other games.  I had enjoyed watching the changes and was very excited for the coming developments.  All the updates and additions had made the survival mode interesting, but lacking only in a story.  I waited patiently for when the story mode would finally be finished.  And then it was.

And that is where the fairy tale was revealed to be just that...  a fairy tale.  The reality was the game was a huge disappointment.  There were bugs that didn't allow progress.  The dialog was terrible and the quests made no sense.  I spent days waiting on an aurora that never appeared, and only after finding out it was yet another bug, had to start over once that patch had been applied.  I lost interest real fast after that.

It was 6 months before I even bothered to check if there was any progress on the rest of the game.  By the time any news was announced of progress for episode 3, there was the news of a "redux" of ep 1&2.  Why did you bother to push the narrative of "we won't release it until it's ready" for you to then say, "we messed up and we are going to redo it"?  And then you say you are going to release in December, but alas, a month away and you admit you can't do it.  That seems vaguely familiar.  Kinda like how you hyped a huge announcement, and then that announcement was a countdown. 

It's obvious from the posts here that many people don't feel the same as me, and that's fine.  I don't mind being the voice of dissent.  I can only voice my opinion as I see it and that is all I'm doing.  I am disappointed in this dev studio.  I have never bought in to an early access game before and I probably never will again after this experience.  If small studios like this want to survive against the giants, they need to have something that makes them stand out.  This game had so much potential and unfortunately it was a huge let down. 

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On 11/8/2018 at 6:40 PM, Pillock said:

Half-Life style in-character cutscenes for the Redux? (Which would be awesome)

If that's the case then we miss out on the cool motion graphics that look like moving paintings. The intro at the beginning of Episode 2 was awesome! 

(Of course I'm not downing the idea entirely. Some situations would work much better with in-character scenes.)

Edited by MarrowStone

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Just going to mention for the people who don't want their saved games wiped. Get the gog version, you can update it whenever you want

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Excited for the survival update! I could never really get into Wintermute, but maybe the redux will change that. At any rate, the new additions to survival will probably rekindle the flame in TLD and I'm looking forward to those lazy sunday 9 hour sessions.

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Blinkin quoted Rapheal in this post that it was just a business decision.

 

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I don't know if people will remember me or not from my community activities in the past. But we have been argueing about Episode 3 many times, i was defending the idea that 1 year for a single Episode is literally more than too much, and Hinterland obviously failed their job. Many people disagreed me but when 1 year passed after the last released episode, some of them admitted that i was right. Now it's been 1 and a half year, still I don't plat TLD but i am keep following the news and waiting for the next episode to play. Now it is delayed once more. Firstly it was said as end of 2017 and into 2018 perhaps, now it is almost 2019 and it is postponded without a new date information. The situation is so much worse than a "disappointment", what a pity. I will not talk anymore because i have said enough in the past. Now it is even getting worse and more funny. It's so tragic to see how right i was. Anyway, I shouldn't have buy this game in the first place.

Let's say 2 years passed for a single episode. I am telling you guys, If you are a student in collage now, probably you will see the end of the story with your grandchildren around. 

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10 hours ago, Le Petit Prince said:

I don't know if people will remember me or not from my community activities in the past. But we have been argueing about Episode 3 many times, i was defending the idea that 1 year for a single Episode is literally more than too much, and Hinterland obviously failed their job. Many people disagreed me but when 1 year passed after the last released episode, some of them admitted that i was right. Now it's been 1 and a half year, still I don't plat TLD but i am keep following the news and waiting for the next episode to play. Now it is delayed once more. Firstly it was said as end of 2017 and into 2018 perhaps, now it is almost 2019 and it is postponded without a new date information. The situation is so much worse than a "disappointment", what a pity. I will not talk anymore because i have said enough in the past. Now it is even getting worse and more funny. It's so tragic to see how right i was. Anyway, I shouldn't have buy this game in the first place.

Let's say 2 years passed for a single episode. I am telling you guys, If you are a student in collage now, probably you will see the end of the story with your grandchildren around. 

I totally agree with you and I am also very disappointed that Episode 3 will not be launched in December. So now we have no idea when it  will be released.

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I am so sorry to see a game which could be in a perfect place is gone to a place terrible. Personally i don't like to play sandbox mode survival games because i find it pointless. But TLD was different to me because it had a story, i was curious, i was excited, i had really good time playing it. For me story is the most important thing in a game and it is the only reason for me to play The Long Dark. And i am sure i am not the only player thinking like this. I am sure there are a lot of players waiting for Wintermute. Now probably we will be able to play 1 Episode in each 2 years. It is not what we've been promised and it is not cool at all. I don't know why Hinterland Studio keep ignoring their story-fan customers. Story should have continued long long ago, now i don't even remember the story or how to play. I know that i wanted to keep playing the game because i was warm. Now i lost my whole interest and when the next episode comes, i will realize i don't remember the game and so i don't want to play.

Nothing matters for Hinterland though. They already got my money so they don't care. They keep saying we're trying to give you the best, but the best doesn't mean anything if it is too late!

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42 minutes ago, Le Petit Prince said:

It is not what we've been promised and it is not cool at all. I don't know why Hinterland Studio keep ignoring their story-fan customers.

It was either late 2014 or early 2015 when I bought the "Early Access" game that only had Mystery Lake map playable in a sandbox.  Since then, the game devs have promised a truly unique and immersive story mode in development.  But over the next year and a half they started talking more and more about their sandbox updates.  Sure, they were using it as testing for the story mode to make sure everything worked, but it soon became it's own living entity.  The devs started putting more and more focus on the sandbox.  Story mode was supposed to be the big sell for early access folks who bought in to the game, like myself.  I was promised the first full season, 5 episodes, with my purchase.  It has been around 4 years and only 2 episodes have been released.  Now the devs say they are redoing the first 2 episodes because, let's be frank, they failed in their one big promise...  to release a game that is complete (paraphrased).  Episode 3 is delayed after nearly a year and a half wait and it is evident they were over-promising and have under-delivered.  I have lost faith in the devs and any chance this game gets finished within the next 4 years.  I paid for a story mode game about 4 years ago and am still waiting for the product I paid for.  Small studios, take note...  this is a blueprint of what NOT to do.

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31 minutes ago, the_watdabney said:

It was either late 2014 or early 2015 when I bought the "Early Access" game that only had Mystery Lake map playable in a sandbox.  Since then, the game devs have promised a truly unique and immersive story mode in development.  But over the next year and a half they started talking more and more about their sandbox updates.  Sure, they were using it as testing for the story mode to make sure everything worked, but it soon became it's own living entity.  The devs started putting more and more focus on the sandbox.  Story mode was supposed to be the big sell for early access folks who bought in to the game, like myself.  I was promised the first full season, 5 episodes, with my purchase.  It has been around 4 years and only 2 episodes have been released.  Now the devs say they are redoing the first 2 episodes because, let's be frank, they failed in their one big promise...  to release a game that is complete (paraphrased).  Episode 3 is delayed after nearly a year and a half wait and it is evident they were over-promising and have under-delivered.  I have lost faith in the devs and any chance this game gets finished within the next 4 years.  I paid for a story mode game about 4 years ago and am still waiting for the product I paid for.  Small studios, take note...  this is a blueprint of what NOT to do.

EXACTLY! THANK YOU!

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On 2018-11-12 at 3:29 PM, BareSkin said:

While I greatly appreciated the characters we see in Wintermute especially Jeremiah, the way they see the world and all this introspective quest, I feel a bit sad I actually didn't care at all about finding Astrid. You come back after years, then abandon me? Go to hell. To me this is the only "hole", but I'm not a very kind person. My feeling is that the lines are very, very well written, and I tend not to have the same opinion about the plot, the scenario. I make a really big difference between the dialogues and the screenplay (maybe that was also what @Hotzn wanted to say): the first I can judge (the atmosphere is perfect), the second I'll hold judgment because we've seen only two episodes out of five. I can't see how I could empathize with Astrid, but who knows?

To me the masterpiece of the storytelling is this naïve Mackenzie which prefers simplifying everything instead of facing the reality, which is why he likes alcohol a bit too much. Suddenly this little boy (Jeremiah and Grey Mother are somehow his parents) has to face the brutal reality of the world. And must accept to face complexity, make hard choices, there's no easy way anymore. He has to be an adult, at last.

I like this take. :)

My hope is you will understand Astrid and perhaps sympathize with her a bit more after you've played Redux, and of course, once you've seen her situation in Episode Three. See what you think after Redux. 

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On 2018-11-14 at 10:35 AM, the_watdabney said:

I'm glad everyone here seems to be happy with your latest setback, but I must be the one who will express my frustrations.

 

I have left this game sit after the disappointment of episodes 1&2.  I haven't even bothered with the sandbox.  I was one of the early supporters of this game as the concept looked really interesting and the descriptions from the devs had me really excited for a game that was not a carbon copy of other games.  I had enjoyed watching the changes and was very excited for the coming developments.  All the updates and additions had made the survival mode interesting, but lacking only in a story.  I waited patiently for when the story mode would finally be finished.  And then it was.

And that is where the fairy tale was revealed to be just that...  a fairy tale.  The reality was the game was a huge disappointment.  There were bugs that didn't allow progress.  The dialog was terrible and the quests made no sense.  I spent days waiting on an aurora that never appeared, and only after finding out it was yet another bug, had to start over once that patch had been applied.  I lost interest real fast after that.

It was 6 months before I even bothered to check if there was any progress on the rest of the game.  By the time any news was announced of progress for episode 3, there was the news of a "redux" of ep 1&2.  Why did you bother to push the narrative of "we won't release it until it's ready" for you to then say, "we messed up and we are going to redo it"?  And then you say you are going to release in December, but alas, a month away and you admit you can't do it.  That seems vaguely familiar.  Kinda like how you hyped a huge announcement, and then that announcement was a countdown. 

It's obvious from the posts here that many people don't feel the same as me, and that's fine.  I don't mind being the voice of dissent.  I can only voice my opinion as I see it and that is all I'm doing.  I am disappointed in this dev studio.  I have never bought in to an early access game before and I probably never will again after this experience.  If small studios like this want to survive against the giants, they need to have something that makes them stand out.  This game had so much potential and unfortunately it was a huge let down. 

Really sorry that you feel this way. I understand the frustration and disappointment, and it's always in my mind. I know it doesn't help you now, but I'm trying to think about how people will look back on the game and story once Episode Five is finished, and not only how they feel right now, or felt along the journey. My hope is that one day you will come back and experience the story in its entirety, and feel that it was worth the wait, despite all the delays and mis-steps along the way.

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2 hours ago, Le Petit Prince said:

Nothing matters for Hinterland though. They already got my money so they don't care. They keep saying we're trying to give you the best, but the best doesn't mean anything if it is too late!

Your frustration is certainly fair, but these kinds of statements are not. It's not as though we've taken your money and run away with it. All you're getting is more content -- and hopefully better content -- for the same price. Saying we "don't care" after we've spent literally millions of extra $$ to improve the game for no financial benefit is pretty insulting to the team. We've never asked for anything apart from your patience. If we didn't care, we would abandon the game or ignore the criticism and go work on something else. We care *a lot*. 

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To be fair @the_watdabneyraised a few really good points that I find hard not to agree upon, and I'm very positively impressed by you taking them seriously, @Raphael van Lierop.

For many people the story mode is the core element of the game, and it's still not even halfway done. I think it is hard to convey the reasons lie, in big part, in your own aspirations to deliver an uncompromised experience that holds up to everything you imagined for it to be - and will stun the world in awe. It's probably also something only a developer or creator will understand that now you "geared up" with your new acquisitions in colleagues and hardware that horizon of what can be achieved has expanded by a large margin and you want to use those possibilities now rather than later.

Although doing very different software myself, I know this attachment I have to my babies, and that I more often than not am willing to work off hours for free just to get them as close to my own vision as possible. But it's hard to make people understand that. We live in a results based world in which a vision only gets you so far, in which possibilities only pay so much. As much as my boss will eventually put his finger on the deadline and demand a result, as much will the customers eventually demand their product. And I feel like "eventually" kinda is now.

I think being an independent studio run by developers and creators and not managers and businessmen is really what makes you people stand out and personally: I love that fact. It shows - for better and for worse. Despite all the great things you achieved with The Long Dark the patience of the community will eventually start to dwindle if after all this time you don't really start delivering starting with Episode 3 - soon. Another year spent waiting on Episode 3, or another "Redux" after that ... and The Long Dark just might make the history books as the best playable vaporware ever.

I personally don't want that. I personally strongly believe that The Long Dark is the game with the single greatest potential out there. A different take on how a game should work by a studio with a different take on how games should be made. I truly and sincerely wish you the best and hope that The Long Wait eventually pays off for you as much as for us, the Survivors.

Edited by jeffpeng
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56 minutes ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

Your frustration is certainly fair, but these kinds of statements are not. It's not as though we've taken your money and run away with it. All you're getting is more content -- and hopefully better content -- for the same price. Saying we "don't care" after we've spent literally millions of extra $$ to improve the game for no financial benefit is pretty insulting to the team. We've never asked for anything apart from your patience. If we didn't care, we would abandon the game or ignore the criticism and go work on something else. We care *a lot*. 

Look sir, i have a great respect to you and what you do. I really do. If you really do "care a lot" please read this comment carefully and try to understand.

You are the developer and we are the players (customers). We bought a game and we want to play it. But we can not, all we do is waiting. Problem is simple as this.

It is not only about disappointment but also angryness. You say that you care, but we've been having the same arguement many times, and nothing ever changes. You always keep delaying what we're waiting for. We were expecting so much goodness from the long dark, we recommended it to our friends, we thought it was perfect and it would get even better by the time. But now i don't recommend it to anyone and i don't think this game will provide me a good experience. And it is all because of time. It's easy to say "be patient" but you are never giving us something, easy to say "we care a lot" but you are not proving it. It seems to be there will be around 2 years passed for a single episode. Don't you think IT IS "LITERALLY" TOO MUCH?

Don't delay it anymore. I've told this before. I am interested with art and if i want to go back and correct my mistake on a work, i will never be able to go further, i will stuck in a single work. Because nothing never ever becomes the best, there are always absences or mistakes. Accept them as they are and move on. Just like episode 1&2 were pretty amazing and made me fall in love with the game and did not need any redux. But you are losing your time and also losing our interest on the game. I don't want the best, it doesn't mean anything to me if it comes too late that i forgot the game. Instead, give me what you gave on first 2 episodes. I can't even count how many times i have read the statement: "Episode 3 is delayed, but we are working for the best, be patient" in dev diaries over the years. Make a change and suprise us for once and then we know you really do care!

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