I’ll just come out and say it. I love indie games. I love how they push the boundaries of what games are, and how they are changing the way that we as gamers see and interpret them. The fact that questions like “are games considered art?” and “is that even a game?” exist makes me hopeful for the future of the industry we love so much. This industry won’t grow if its ideals aren’t challenged. Don’t get me wrong, I love my AAA titles. ‘Borderlands’ is one of my favorite games of all time! I’m not saying that I see the publisher model of game development as inferior, but the creativity and passion coming from the independent development community makes me more excited than any big box office game has. With that knowledge about me as a gamer, let me tell you about an impressive new development team that I am very interested in!
Hinterland is a studio of seven members based in Vancouver Island, Canada. Many of them are ex AAA developers and writers. Their resumes include past positions at Ubisoft, Bioware and Relic as well as popular game series such as Far Cry, Saints Row and God of War. Established by Raphael Val Lierop in 2012, this team’s goal is to make more thought-provoking and story-driven experiences for gamers. To do so, they have begun development on their first game, ‘The Long Dark’, which they have described as a post-apocalyptic survival simulation game. As much as I hear people moan about how overdone the post-apocalyptic genre is I still get excited when I hear about a new one. Moreover, one that is trying something different or is looking at the situation from another POV. This apocalypse is quiet, caused by the largest geomagnetic disruption the world has ever seen. Humans are left powerless, the electric grid and telecommunications have gone dark. The sparsely populated Pacific Northwest is a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for the main character, Will Mackenzie’s, story of struggle for survival. Unlike most of the post-apocalyptic media out there today, there are no zombies in this game. As much as I love zombies, their absence is intriguing to me. When I think about the post-apocalyptic themed media that I consume, the human element is what scares me the most (even when the undead roam the world!). I'm constantly looking for a game to tell me a story that sticks with me well after I've completed the campaign. The Long Dark is sounding more and more like that experience, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Hinterland’s long list of experience and passion to make more thought-provoking games makes me very interested in what’s going to come out of their studio. We will get our first taste of what to expect when ‘The Long Dark’ releases. Unfortunately specific release information hasn’t been revealed yet, but the survival sandbox mode is available on Steam Early Access. If you’re interested (like me) and want to stay up to date on this project, you can subscribe to their newsletter here (http://hinterlandgames.com/projects). Does Hinterland’s take on the apocalypse peak your interest? Does a zombie-less post-apocalypse leave you yawning? Let me know in comments!