I’m going to assume that we know who Cormac McCarthy is and we’re familiar with his masterful novel The Road, because when we’re talking about post apocalyptic games this kind of narrative is what we need to hold up as a benchmark of how humankind deals with a life without WiFi, hot meals, smart phones and light decaf mocca-frappachinos with a twist of lemon.
There are no chainguns spewing molten death into super mutants, there are no road warriors in parodies of BDSM leather outfits, there are just individuals willing themselves to survive while they try to come to terms with what has happened to them. In any other game they would be the victim, the faceless straggler in the periphery, watching the über hero as he storms through waves of bad guys to a triumphant end-game. Now we have the opportunity to live through a world-altering event from the perspective of a relative nobody.
The Last of Us came frightfully close, and for me is the epitome of the game as narrative to this point, but Canadian developer Hinterland may be on the cusp of trumping it with its kickstarter funded The Long Dark. In this title we get to play as a 40-something male pilot who takes his light plane on supply runs across northern Canada and has to find the means to survive after a solar flare takes out all electrical devices globally, dragging humanity back to the middle-ages in the space of a few hours.
If you’re into caloric output, thirst levels or core temperature, if you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about where water comes from when you turn the tap…in short if you ever felt like playing Fallout New Vegas on Hard Mode, then The Long Dark is your kind of game…zombies not included.