The difficulty with replayability is what is there to come back to?


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If TLD's world is not persistent, not procedurally generated, and only one large space in which it explore, what is it about this game that would entice you to come back to it? Things like DLC, expansion packs withstanding, I'd like to wonder about what it is about the survival sim that could bring audiences back time and time again. Or, do you think there should be an "end game" whereby, the game is x hours long and the conclusion is you make it out alive and back to civilization.

Perhaps the second part of the survival would be adapting and reintegrating the character back into the "real world"? That's just a by-the-by.

My main concern is that once it's finished, it's finished the first time, and subsequent play throughs will be the same. What could be the feature that brings you back to the game?

Look forward to hearing your views on this

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Guest Alan Lawrance

You may not have heard of our plans for two distinct modes in The Long Dark.

The first is Story Mode, which we expect will offer 5-6 hours of gameplay for the average player. This mode has a clear story arc progression, and results in and end-game that we hope will have players super-excited for the next game in The Long Dark universe.

The second is Survival Mode, which is going to give you the chance to survive for as long as possible in a variety of scenarios. There won't be any story progression or end-game in this mode. We hope that Survival Mode is where players will get a lot of replay-ability from The Long Dark.

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@Alan: I know you can't reveal too much at this point, but is there a chance we may be entering the game at a different [random] point each time?

The basic scenery may look similar, but that doesn't mean you're always starting from Point 'A" with the same immediate pattern of challenges. That could also vary events we're present for -- one event may be near the start of one point, but starting elsewhere may be too far to reach it on time [however that area's event takes place instead].

I could easily see us not being "witness" to each and every event since our travel distance and patterns would be different... also means replaying the game and moving off in different directions to see what else we may have missed.

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  • Hinterland

@Junaid_Hussain -- I just want to address a few inaccuracies in your original post.

- Persistence: The world of TLD is persistent for the player and their "session". It will remember your actions and decisions, when you come back to it. So in that sense, it is persistent.

- Procedural: Various elements within TLD will be procedural, for example, the location of cache items, NPC survivors, various encounters and hazards, the contents of various buildings, etc.

- Size of world: There will be more than one space to explore in TLD. Rather than a large contiguous open world like you see in GTA, for example, we will have multiple large maps connected by travel zones. Similar to the structure of STALKER, for example. This structure plays to our strengths as a small team, but also allows us to keep the door open to future expansion of the same world (not only in future Seasons). Think about how the world of Fallout 3 was extended through DLC, for example.

- Replayability: Alan has already touched on the Survival Sandbox mode, but beyond that I think Replayability is not a huge priority for players in general, since most people do not finish the games they start (fewer than something like 85% of games are played to the end). As a result, it's difficult to justify investing a lot of time and energy supporting a functionality that few players will actually care about.

All that said, I would say that between the world persistence, the procedural elements, Survival Sandbox mode, and regular content updates through future Seasons (as well as whatever other updates we might conceive of), there will be enough TLD content to keep players happy for a long time.

It's worth noting that TLD will have more persistence and procedural elements than a game like Red Dead or Fallout 3, but less than game like Minecraft (100% procedural), of course.

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