OFFICIAL STORY MODE DETAILS + TEASER


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You're NOT going to have a straight answer or explanation from Hinterland's stuff! They make a slip in speaking. In the beginning they were more informative and humble, but since the game sold well it seems they become a bit high-minded. Basically the stuff members job is to equivocate on the forums.

I'm sorry you feel this way. I can say the entire team is hard at work on putting together the most compelling experience possible for our community. I think the team's prior industry experience and record of updates, support, and communication surrounding The Long Dark since Early-Access release demonstrate our commitment to putting out a high-quality experience for fans of the game. And we work on. Lots more on its way.

--Patrick

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Thanks for all the questions and interest in what we're doing (and trying to do), Steve. We've attempted to explain -- at various times -- our plans, but it's time to refresh this information. We

Since there are so many folks complaining here, I feel like dropping in and giving my view on things: The development of TLD has been one incredible ride. Never in my life did I get so much enjoyment

Couldn't have said it better Hotzn!! As I've said in the past, I've purchased numerous games for $40 or $50 that I ended up playing an hour and putting back in the box never to be played again!!

You all made it abundantly clear long ago that our input about the game is meaningless to you and that you only care about any bug issues we might have. Nor do you share anything of what is going on behind the scenes.

I get that to a point but you all go to great lengths to keep everyone in the dark as much as possible and the closest we have ever gotten to a strait answer is "it's coming".. No nuggets, nothing.. "Hurry up and wait, we'll get there.." Ok, still waiting..

Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful game and I do not mind waiting for something good but there comes a point when you feel like more of an ends to a means instead of part of a cool game community and it starts to loose it's luster. We just want to feel we are a part of a family, so to speak, as the game progresses, considering there are a lot of us that bought the game early in it's beta and have put in hundreds of hours of game time and testing.

We feel left out in the cold.. While that is awesome in the game, it kind of sucks sitting here at our desks. That whole 'bitter taste in your mouth' thing.. Open the door and let us in already..

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You all made it abundantly clear long ago that our input about the game is meaningless to you and that you only care about any bug issues we might have. Nor do you share anything of what is going on behind the scenes.

I don't really agree-- I think Hinterland answers a lot more questions on the forums than most developers do.

What makes you say they don't care about our input?

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You're NOT going to have a straight answer or explanation from Hinterland's stuff! They make a slip in speaking. In the beginning they were more informative and humble, but since the game sold well it seems they become a bit high-minded. Basically the stuff members job is to equivocate on the forums.

I'm sorry you feel this way. I can say the entire team is hard at work on putting together the most compelling experience possible for our community. I think the team's prior industry experience and record of updates, support, and communication surrounding The Long Dark since Early-Access release demonstrate our commitment to putting out a high-quality experience for fans of the game. And we work on. Lots more on its way.

--Patrick

So, since you're saying you're not unwilling to be communicative, can we get an answer as to what caused the delay in Story Mode?

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Hey everyone! Thanks for your comments and your interest in what's going on with us.

I'll just address a few points here, and if I miss anything I'm sure you'll let me know. :)

* In terms of our communicativeness with our community; we feel good about this. We're a small independent studio but we've invested in 3 full-time team members who pretty much solely work in community engagement across our various platforms. We're active across all our communities, social media, and do our best to balance responsiveness around issues, community feedback, and also updates as to what is going on. If the community team doesn't always provide the answers you are looking for, it's likely because some topics are secret and it doesn't benefit us -- or you -- to know about them before they are ready. One of the challenges with making an Early Access game is preserving some sense of mystery, particularly in the lead-up to launch, so we work hard to balance being available with holding on to some sense of mystery about things.

* We've never maintained a public roadmap and preferred to "surprise" our community with our updates, both in terms of their contents and timing. So far, the community in general has responded well to this approach. We like maintaining a sense of mystery and delivering unexpected content. It also drives us to ensure that the content we do release exceeds expectations. The point here is that we've never really provided much info on what we're working on, and our goal has always been to not give you any reason to doubt that we won't give you something amazing.

* In terms of Story Mode updates, it kind of relates to the above. We've said "Spring" is our release and that's our goal. The cause of delay is "making the game better". There's not really anything more to say than that. My personal goal with The Long Dark is to ensure that when we launch Story Mode, it is groundbreaking. The team shares this goal. It makes no sense for us, after investing years of our lives and millions of dollars, to push it out until we are happy with it. I won't push it out before I'm happy with it.

So, we'll keep working on it. And we hope you'll keep playing the Sandbox, sharing your feedback and ideas, so we can ensure the game can be as great as we believe it can be. We hope and trust that the work we've done so far has earned us your faith and belief that we are working our asses off to create something amazing that we can all be proud of, and which will become the foundation for a lot more of The Long Dark in the future.

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* In terms of Story Mode updates, it kind of relates to the above. We've said "Spring" is our release and that's our goal. The cause of delay is "making the game better". There's not really anything more to say than that. My personal goal with The Long Dark is to ensure that when we launch Story Mode, it is groundbreaking. The team shares this goal. It makes no sense for us, after investing years of our lives and millions of dollars, to push it out until we are happy with it. I won't push it out before I'm happy with it.

Thanks for the response. I don't really have a comment on the first two points. For the third one, Hinterland has missed a few projected release dates for Story Mode now with no explanation as to why any of them were missed. "We're making it better" isn't really an explanation (it's spin) but it's better than silence.

If your goal is to not release TLD until you feel it's groundbreaking, perhaps you should consider refraining from setting deadlines you can't meet. It's more frustrating to your player base (and more damaging to your overall relationship with them) to keep missing deadlines, than for you to simply say "We don't have a firm deadline."

It helps keep you from wasting the time of the people who have already paid for the game.

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Thanks for the response. Hinterland has missed a few projected release dates for Story Mode now with no explanation as to why any of them were missed.

This is independent game development with loads of interaction from the end user community. Schedule slippage is no big deal; it's actually a sign of maturity in software development. I've spent over 20 years in the software (and hardware) business so you can trust me on this. Having early access and a development team that values our feedback is truly fantastic and ground breaking. My suggestions and those of others have been incorporated. I have never seen this degree of end-user involvement in any other game (or software for that matter.) :geek:

Having a small but expert developer core results in high functional, reliable, bug-free software and keeps the cost of the game affordable. They could easily charge more but personally, I think making it available to a broad market will pay off in the long run from the commercial aspect as well as resulting in an engaging end product that users will want to play for months, not just a few weeks.

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I struggle to understand the negativity directed toward Hinterland regarding their community engagement / communication efforts. I think Hinterland has been extremely engaged and I have often remarked (while streaming on Twitch) how the community surrounding this game is one of the best I've ever been a part of.

To be completely honest I think these complaints amount to end users feeling they are entitled to know the ins and outs of every decision the company is making in order to complete the game. No studio on the planet works that way because if they did they would never get anything done. When you purchase an early access title you have purchased just that - early access. You aren't buying a seat on the board of directors so you can get the inside scoop or debate every choice being made.

Also, I've seen at least a dozen wishlist items from the community end up in game in some form or another so our feedback definitely matters. This is a great game, a great community and a great company. Focus on the positive folks.

Edited by DenverDad
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On 29.2.2016 at 9:53 PM, DenverDad said:

I struggle to understand the negativity directed toward Hinterland regarding their community engagement / communication efforts. I think Hinterland has been extremely engaged and I have often remarked (while streaming on Twitch) how the community surrounding this game is one of the best I've ever been a part of.

I bought TLD in 2014 when the "industry veterans" of Hinterland with "decades of experience in making AAA titles" talked about 2-3 months of early access, putting the release date to end of 2014. Now we have March 2016 and there is still no release.

The next planned release was announced for the end of 2015. At the beginning of December 2015 Hinterland staff told everyone they're still on track for "end of 2015". Around 2 weeks before the end of the year a new trailer appears announcing "Spring 2016". No explanation, no nothing. Just a new date.
As a customer I feel misled. Twice already.

TLD is more than a year behind its original schedule.
The monthly content updates have stopped.
The last update was almost 2 months ago.
From my point of view that makes it just another early access title with a development team failing to meet their own deadlines.
At the beginning of December they either didn't know or didn't admit that they would need at least 3 more months time. I really don't care which one it was, but that's not what I expect from a team of experts. And I'm really tired to hear the tale of "we're too good to deliver on time" and "it's too early to deliver quality".

All this is explained with "preferring quality". But what about the quality of your messages and communication? Is failing the first deadline, setting a new one, failing that as well, setting a third deadline and only ever talking about this when asked not a quality issue?

I find it very hard to believe that Spring 2016 will actually hold. I have no reason to believe it will, other than it might.
The only explanation we have is they "want to make it better".
But if they need till Spring 2016 to make it the quality they want, what were they planning to release at the end of 2014?
Spring 2016 is roughly 3 - 6 months after "end of 2015", again the same question: what kind of quality did they plan to release in 2015 and why does it take 25% to 50% longer to reach what they want now?

I'm really expecting them to change their minds in those months and needing more time again.
And that's the whole problem with "we want a better product" - you're never done.

Edited by Spottdrossel
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Spottdrossel has a point.  There is a saying in engineering which goes, " Perfection is the enemy of good enough".  Get something that is good enough out, then tinker about with it.

 

Edited by starfighter441
Engaged typing fingers before brain...
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36 minutes ago, starfighter441 said:

Spottdrossel has a point.  There is a saying in engineering which goes, " Perfection is the enemy of good enough".  Get something that is good enough out, then tinker about with it.

 

We already did that. It's our Early Access. Now we're "tinkering with it". We've always said Story Mode would be our true launch and we intend to ensure it's the best possible game it can be. We don't do anyone any favours, ourselves most of all, by pushing out the game before we are happy with it. As far as releasing something when it is "good enough", that's what we're talking about. Nobody said perfection is our aim. We've all been doing this for long enough that we know perfection doesn't exist. 

@Spottdrossel: I'm sorry that you are unhappy with our pace of progress. If the way we have governed ourselves and this project over the past 15+ months has not earned us your confidence, then I doubt anything will. If you feel like you have not got value for money, or you feel you have been misled, I would be happy to refund you your money and take the game key back. Feel free to email me directly and I will make the appropriate arrangements: raphael@hinterlandgames.com

There is no "more than a year behind our original schedule". Yes, we announced dates that we have pushed. This happens in development. This happens when you are trying to make something great. We've also increased scope, the value for money, and the quality far beyond what we would have been able to deliver had we stuck to the "original schedule". If when we do launch we fail to deliver to your expectations, then I think your criticism will be justified. Until then, we'll continue doing what we are doing and will release Story Mode when we think it's ready. 

 

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I spent my career in S/W development and computer hardware support and QA. It would be unusual to open the vest about internal issues in software development. In the case where a big client is sponsoring development, much more attention must be paid to addressing schedule slippage however in product development, that would be unusual. We can safely assume that Story Mode was delayed either because of bugs or the original estimates were too optimistic or the creative director felt the game needs something to address game play concerns that evolved during the Sandbox phase. How is knowing this going to help any of us? I think it is very counter productive to complain about schedule slippage. Schedule adjustment is a sign of mature software development practices. Are you familiar with the triangle of software development? As an advocate for quality and being the guy who always had to solve the most difficult of problems, I always advocate for quality over schedule inflexibility.

116f77bf-e33f-46fe-b2a1-cabb39d88ba5.jpg

http://www.ambysoft.com/essays/brokenTriangle.html

https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2014/may/the-agile-golden-triangle

Hinterland is following a spiral development model where each agile or Scrum sprint is a functional standalone mini-release. There is requirements flexibility and on going assessment of risks as well as costs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_model

Edited by SteveP
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I can't speak for anyone else but I'm happy to wait till  "when it's ready!"  I mean come on, it's not World of Warcraft or Netflix paying $15 a month and there is no new content  or you've pre-ordered and received nothing for your money except promises!

How many triple AAA titles have been pushed out for Xmas markets buggy and unfinished in recent times because they have shareholders to satisfy every quarter!

As for the lack of communication, well I don't know how many other development teams log onto their forums on a Sunday morning to just say hello!

Not happy?  Maybe in the future you should stick to buying recycled content with day 1 DLC's and in game penny pinching by the likes of Inactivision and Electronic Arse!!!

 

 

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As I mentioned in another post, even though the game is in "alpha" it's much more polished and has more gameplay than some AAA titles. For instance, the latest Arkham game was so buggy on launch they had to pull it from Steam! O.o

So, I'm with @illanthropist, a little longer to wait when we already have a good game to play is something I don't mind :)

 

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39 minutes ago, cekivi said:

For instance, the latest Arkham game was so buggy on launch they had to pull it from Steam! O.o

 

The latest Tony Hawks Pro Mobility Scooter was effed at release too I hear, also can you imagine for 1 minute TLD selling supply drops like Call of Duty!!!

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17 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

We already did that. It's our Early Access. Now we're "tinkering with it". We've always said Story Mode would be our true launch and we intend to ensure it's the best possible game it can be. We don't do anyone any favours, ourselves most of all, by pushing out the game before we are happy with it. As far as releasing something when it is "good enough", that's what we're talking about. Nobody said perfection is our aim. We've all been doing this for long enough that we know perfection doesn't exist.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in no rush for story mode, and am quite happy playing in the sandbox (other than I can't hit a damned thing with the bow, and wolves keep eating me...).

 

 

 

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Here's a fact that is possibly relevant to the conversation:  I've bought about 15 early access games in the past 2 years and this is hands down the best.

I've gotten over 250 hours of entertainment out of it.  From DayZ standalone to Stranded Deep, both of which still sucked as of December 2015, I paid money for something I thought had potential and got nothing in return.

I think when it's all said and done, this game will be the early access model for the foreseeable future.

Like the dude said, if you don't like it, ask for your money back.  The vast majority of the community is happy.

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20 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

@Spottdrossel: I'm sorry that you are unhappy with our pace of progress. If the way we have governed ourselves and this project over the past 15+ months has not earned us your confidence, then I doubt anything will. If you feel like you have not got value for money, or you feel you have been misled, I would be happy to refund you your money and take the game key back. Feel free to email me directly and I will make the appropriate arrangements: raphael@hinterlandgames.com

Thanks for the offer.
I'm really on the fence about this. The whole setting and art is really what I wanted and I'm not disappointed with the content so far (with some small exceptions).
I just grew tired of waiting and reading about how well things are going while also seeing the release date got pushed back again frustated me.

That's also why I'm not complaining about "value for money" but "delays". This really seems to be a point that is hard to get across, because most people (in this thread too) almost immediately jump to "but it's a good value for your money".
The talk about "quality over schedule" is IMO not wrong, but at some point the schedule does matter.
Just ask yourself how many people will remain pleased when the release is pushed back one more year, two more years, three ...?
At some point this does matter.
Apparently this point has been reached for me and the way you communicate about this irritates me: Like it's a natural thing out of your control and thus not even worth mentioning. But you are in control - actually the only one in control - so those changes in schedule do not "happen", they are a "decision".

In this case I agree with Eachna:
If the deadlines you announce really don't matter that much to you, it might be better to refrain from making them public until you can be sure to meet them.
 

20 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

There is no "more than a year behind our original schedule".

I'm not sure why you say that. When I bought TLD on Steam in 2014 it said "2 - 3 months in early access".
You just said yourself that TLD has been in early access for 15+ months, so early access has already taken 12+ months longer than was claimed when I got it.

Had that page suggested a release at the end 0f 2015 I would not have made the purchase in 2014.
That's because I'm not comfortable with waiting so long for something I already paid in full and the state of a game is hardly representative of the final result with so much development time still going into it.

 

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5 hours ago, starfighter441 said:

 

The Bow can actually be mastered over time, but it takes some practice. Putting the "aim dot" back in made it a bit easier for you, but you still need some luck and/or a lot of practice shots. If you haven't found them yet, we added a few places in the world with targets so that you could get some time with the bow before it really counts. :)

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40 minutes ago, Spottdrossel said:

Had that page suggested a release at the end 0f 2015 I would not have made the purchase in 2014.
That's because I'm not comfortable with waiting so long for something I already paid in full and the state of a game is hardly representative of the final result with so much development time still going into it.

 

Jeez, just take the refund offer and shut up moaning lol, and NO you did not pay in full as early access is cheaper than full retail price!  First world problems or what...

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43 minutes ago, Spottdrossel said:

Thanks for the offer.
I'm really on the fence about this. The whole setting and art is really what I wanted and I'm not disappointed with the content so far (with some small exceptions).
I just grew tired of waiting and reading about how well things are going while also seeing the release date got pushed back again frustated me.

That's also why I'm not complaining about "value for money" but "delays". This really seems to be a point that is hard to get across, because most people (in this thread too) almost immediately jump to "but it's a good value for your money".
The talk about "quality over schedule" is IMO not wrong, but at some point the schedule does matter.
Just ask yourself how many people will remain pleased when the release is pushed back one more year, two more years, three ...?
At some point this does matter.
Apparently this point has been reached for me and the way you communicate about this irritates me: Like it's a natural thing out of your control and thus not even worth mentioning. But you are in control - actually the only one in control - so those changes in schedule do not "happen", they are a "decision".

In this case I agree with Eachna:
If the deadlines you announce really don't matter that much to you, it might be better to refrain from making them public until you can be sure to meet them.
 

I'm not sure why you say that. When I bought TLD on Steam in 2014 it said "2 - 3 months in early access".
You just said yourself that TLD has been in early access for 15+ months, so early access has already taken 12+ months longer than was claimed when I got it.

Had that page suggested a release at the end 0f 2015 I would not have made the purchase in 2014.
That's because I'm not comfortable with waiting so long for something I already paid in full and the state of a game is hardly representative of the final result with so much development time still going into it.

 

Yes, I'm in control and I choose when the game is ready to be launched. If you aren't happy with that, I've offered to refund your money. Besides that, I'm not sure what I can offer. If you are not happy with the game you are able to play right now, and you are not happy waiting for Story Mode, then please take a refund. Maybe you will come back later once the game is out of Early Access and feel better about things.

In general it seems like you feel that you spent money on a product you are not happy with, or feel you have not got what you expected, and I respect that! When we launched our KS and along the way we have certainly added scope to the game. Why launch the game with one playable protagonist when we can launch with two. Why launch the game with 2-3 sandbox regions when we can have 5-7. Why launch the game with a fraction of the content/features when we can launch with more. Our ambitions for the game have grown as our resources have grown. Our balance has been to continue to push value into the game, both in the present and in the future, so that people will feel good about their $19.99.

I'm sorry my response irritates you. I've made my point clear and offered you a reasonable solution. If there is something I can do other than what I have offered, please let me know.

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Guys while the sandbox can go out in bits and pieces the story mode obviously can't be a bit and pieces release and still maintain the same reviews on quality if they dump it early. As much as I'd love another update of the sandbox in short order I am willing to wait for a few more weeks until they have the story mode in a release candidacy. Hinterland has over the last year delivered more than a dozen solid updates which have consistently improved the game. Patience is a virtue. A few more weeks is only a few more weeks. 

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