The Long Dark Sandbox Alpha Update: "Penitent Scholar"

By Kelly Packard, 4 months ago
The Long Dark's newest update is loaded with new features and community requests. On the menu is a new skills system as well as a "feats" system to show off your accomplishments. The update is currently awaiting certification from Microsoft and will be available when it passes, which developer Hinterland Games estimates will be a few days. Hinterland has put out a patch overview video which you can check out, and be sure to reference the full patch notes below to get the complete details.

The Long Dark Sandbox Alpha v.346


  • New Languages selectable from Display Options: French, Swedish, Korean, Chinese (Trad + Simplified), Japanese, Turkish, Norwegian


  • A Snow Shelter can now be crafted and deployed from the Radial Menu. This Shelter protects from wind and cold, but leaves you vulnerable to wildlife.
  • First-pass Survival Skills system has been added to the game, with the first test skills implemented. See the Skills section of the Journal for more information. The first Skills are: Firestarting, Cooking, Carcass Harvesting, Ice Fishing, Rifle Firearm
  • First-pass Feats system has been added to the game, with the first test Feats implemented. See the Feats section of the Badges menu interface for more information. The first Feats are: Book Smarts, Cold Fusion, Efficient Machine, Fire Master, Free Runner, Snow Walker
  • You can now find Research Books in the world. Spending time Researching these books will improve specific Skills.
  • Nomad Challenge added. Survive for 3 days each in 15 different locations around the world.
  • Whiteout Challenge added. Stockpile supplies and survive for 30 days as a monster blizzard bears down on you.
  • First-pass Almanac feature added (to support Whiteout gameplay).
  • It is not longer possible to Craft complex items (requiring a Workbench) in the dark. You can still Craft simple things from the Radial Menu in the dark. You also cannot Repair items in the dark.
  • Brandishing now costs Stamina and not Fatigue.
  • When breaking down items, the raw materials produced now go directly into your Backpack (vs. being placed on the ground to then be picked up). This will result in fewer bugs relating to harvesting items being stuck behind geo.
  • Fixed issues with Wolves sometimes walking in place.
  • Warmth from Bedrolls is now taken into account when Resting in Vehicles. (Note: You also get a Warmth bonus from Bedrolls when Resting in the Snow Shelter.)
  • You can now see descriptions for active buffs in the First Aid screen.


  • New Fonts added to the game.
  • Brightness correction now occurs before the Main Menu. Subsequent Brightness changes can be made from the Display settings, accessible from the Main Menu.
  • Reduced the number of stacking Damage event icons during Wolf struggles. (Note that the number of Damage events is still the same.)
  • Added new Skill section to Journal
  • Added new Almanac section to Journal
  • Added new Objectives section to the Journal
  • Added new Snow Shelter Build/Use/Dismantle UI
  • Added Badge art for all Challenges
  • Added Badge art for new Feats
  • The Badge interface can now be accessed from both the Main Menu and the Pause Menu
  • Added notifications for Skill Improvement, Skill level unlock, and Feat unlocks


  • Added audio kickers for: Skill improvement, Skill level unlock, and Feat unlocks


  • Player is warped to a safe location if we detect player has fallen through world
  • Screenshot keys no longer force UI to chance from Gamepad to Mouse/Keyboard
  • Significantly reduced color banding in low light conditions
  • [For Streamers] We've added support for being able to access a second monitor without Alt-Tabbing. (Note that this will become a toggle in a future hotfix.)

A Note on Leaderboards

As we've deepened the options for player experience in the game, and provided more ways to share your progress with other players, we feel that Leaderboards don't represent a meaningful measurement of game progress, and therefore we are removing them effective immediately. We look forward to continuing to improve our in-game tools for sharing progress and player accomplishments.

A Note on the Test Branch Process

As many of you know, we experimented with a new Test Branch process for this update, where we provided an opt-in, pre-release test build of the game for the purposes of helping us find bugs, crashes, and balance issues. As a first test, the Test Branch was an overwhelming success! Our plan with the Test Branch is to shut it down it between Updates. Stay tuned for more information about when the Test Branch will be re-opened, and some refinements we'll be making to the overall process. We thank all of you who participated and helped make the Test Branch a big success!
This is an update for the game's sandbox mode. Hinterland Games is still planning to add a story mode before The Long Dark fully releases.
Kelly Packard
Written by Kelly Packard
College student, longtime gamer, writer and Sour Patch Watermelon enthusiast.