Developer Hinterland’s superb post-apocalyptic survival game The Long Dark – which sees players prowling its snowy wilderness with nothing but a stash of rapidly dwindling resources and invariably soggy underpants – is already a wonderfully tense experience. This year, however, Hinterland is aiming to go from tense to terrifying as part of its new Escape the Darkwalker Halloween event.
Escape the Darkwalker is set to run from next Thursday, 29th October, to 12th November, and replaces the Four Days of Night Halloween event that has been an annual fixture for The Long Dark since its debut in 2016. But while Four Days of Night was a relatively straightforward rejig of the game’s existing survival systems, plunging the experience into perpetual darkness and adding a few spooky props, Escape the Darkwalker unleashes a bevvy of changes designed to shift the game into full-on horror territory.
Those brave enough to embark on Hinterland’s new Halloween adventure will once again find themselves scrambling to survive in an endless night. This time, however, they’ll be relentlessly pursued by an unstoppable, malevolent – and entirely invisible – entity, capable of killing them immediately if it manages to get too close.
The goal, then, is to try and stay alive for as long as possible (success is measured in real-world minutes), but some added wrinkles complicate matters still further. The Darkwalker won’t, for instance, be deterred by walls, meaning it’s safer to keep moving than it is to attempt to hide. In fact, moving is mandatory as each region will be swamped by toxic fog once a player has been there for 30 real-time minutes, giving them five minutes to cross the threshold to safety.
Given the Darkwalker’s distinctly invisible form, players will need to keep a constant ear out for its cries, footsteps, and the spooky music that builds as it draws near if they hope to thwart its pursuit. Fortunately, there’s some small help in the form of special limited-quantity spray paint, used to create Glyphs that will temporarily slow the creature down.
Hinterland notes that participating in the event will unlock some special rewards, including access to the new Endless Night Custom Mode.
“We… wanted to freshen things up this year and do something different that would perhaps embrace a bit of a stronger ‘horror’ vibe than we normally would in the game,” explains the developer in its Steam announcement post. “Halloween is a fun holiday and this gives us the opportunity to play around with ideas that might not make as much sense in core gameplay, but can provide a lot of suspenseful enjoyment for our players!”.
Escape the Darkwalker isn’t the only activity planned for The Long Dark this year. December should see a major Survival mode update introducing UI improvements, two new gear items, and, most notably, the new Ash Canyon region. As announced previously, Episode Four of the game’s long-in-the-works story mode is now due some time next year.