The Long Dark's very first paid DLC is coming "later this year".
That's according to a new developer diary in which Hinterland Studio reflects on the last eight years of development, as well as teasing what may be coming next, including a premium season pass to ensure the game "continues to be financially self-sustaining".
After focussing for so long on the sandbox and story modes, the team says it's now ready to "decouple" them, mitigating issues that founder Raphael van Lierop says made development "unwieldy" at times.
Consequently, Hinterland intends to release "some kind of 'season pass'-type approach" later this year which will "have a ~15-18 month campaign of updates that unlock for anyone who has purchased the pass. The updates will come on a regular cadence over the course of that period".
It's hoped the pass will include "a combination of content and gameplay system updates" including "new regions, challenges, and mechanics".
For those not fond of season passes, the team expects to be able to offer the update in smaller DLC packages, too, that it says will be "very fairly priced".
"We want to make sure our existing players who choose not to buy any more content (or are unable to afford it) are still going to have a great experience of The Long Dark, and won’t feel left behind," van Lierop emphasised (thanks, PCGN).
"So we’ll also continue to provide some free updates to the base Survival game, so anyone who doesn’t buy the pass will get something. These updates will generally be smaller, more modest improvements compared to what you will see being added to the paid content stream, which seems only fair."
Van Lierop also confirmed that they are "handing leadership of The Long Dark" to Katie Sorrell, a "30-year game design veteran".
"I feel so fortunate to have such a strong partner in this game, and so grateful that under Katie’s leadership, The Long Dark will continue to thrive well into the future," van Lierop added, confirming that they will retain their position as creative director at the studio.
"Katie is supported by a fantastic team of leaders and creators on the team across all disciplines, many of whom have also worked on The Long Dark for years, and I know that under her leadership and their steadfast support, The Long Dark is stepping into a new era of exciting growth and innovation."