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There’s a mysterious new The Long Dark countdown timer

What could The Long Dark countdown timer possibly be for? (It’s probably story mode).

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The Long Dark countdown timer

What could The Long Dark countdown timer possibly be for? (It’s probably story mode).

The Long Dark, as early access games go, is incredibly promising. Spawning, striking out, dying – and you will die a lot – then doing it all over again certainly isn’t to everybody’s taste. There’s a certain Tetris or Flappy Bird-like drive to beat your previous best; it’s just a lot more involved.

If you’re not into it, that’s fine too, by the way. Permadeath isn’t for everyone, and if anybody looks down on you for not being into a game because it’s rock hard, then you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

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But those bold pioneers who are flogging themselves to death, over and over again, in the frozen wilderness of The Long Dark, are doing it for a reason. The game will always have a sandbox mode, and there will always be prescribed challenges to bolster the innate trials, but the team at Hinterland Games are using early access as a test-bed for something else: Story mode.

It’s a long time coming – the first episode of the story was originally due to drop in spring 2016 – but it’s been delayed for good reason. Originally planned to contain visual novel-type montages to deliver the story, stringing together the survival elements into an overarching plot, the game is now going to be fully animated and super-shiny. That obviously takes a long time to implement, far longer than Hinterland’s original plans.

But now, there’s been a change: Over on the official website, there’s a new The Long Dark countdown timer that’s appeared.

And before you ask, yes, we did trick the clock into counting down early, just as we did with Fallout 4‘s reveal.

While the Fallout 4 countdown tried to call a YouTube video when it got to zero (which obviously hadn’t yet been published) The Long Dark countdown timer appears to not do anything at all. It’s literally just a timer; it may even rely on someone manually flipping it over to the actual content when the time comes.

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And the time is coming soon: The timer runs out on May 4, 2017, at 10am PST (that’s 1pm EST, or 8pm BST).

We still don’t know for sure that when The Long Dark countdown timer runs down it will be the reveal of the long-awaited story mode – and even then, it could easily still be months away – but we can’t think of anything else that’s left for Hinterland Games to announce.

Update: May 4, 2017 – 8pm

The endpoint for The Long Dark countdown timer has been and gone, and surprising basically nobody, Hinterland have announced the release date for the first season of the game’s story mode. Check out the details and the first full trailer.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.