You’ve crashed your plane into the side of a mountain on a remote island in the Canadian north. Your partner is nowhere to be found.
A geomagnetic disaster has rendered phones, radios and all other electronic equipment inoperable.
The cold rushes in. Your body temperature’s falling. You feel thirsty, hungry and tired — you’re burning calories just staying awake. Frantically, you search the area for branches and splinters of wood to build a fire. You pick up a single box of matches scavenged from a dilapidated supply box nearby.
With luck, you’ll have about three hours before the fire burns out. You melt a bunch of snow into a bucket of water to relieve your parched mouth.
For a moment, you take in the majestic landscape. The sun casts the snowy mountains and forest in orange light. A Canadian flag flies next to a lighthouse on the edge of the frozen lake. You hold on tightly to your toque.
This fight for survival is the core experience of The Long Dark, which was recently released after several years in an “Early Access” preview version. Hinterland Studios, the Vancouver-based team behind the game, calls it a “quiet apocalypse.” This isn’t The Walking Dead. There are no zombies to fight, only Mother Nature. (OK, and the occasional wolf or bear.)
It’s also one of only a handful of games that wears its Canadian identity on its sleeve. Hinterland founder Raphael van Lierop said his objective from the start was to make a game “that didn’t shy away from being Canadian.”
“We’ve got great Canadian authors and musicians and artists and filmmakers — where are the Canadian game makers that have a unique Canadian voice and Canadian point of view?” he said.
What is a ‘Canadian game’?
According to a 2016 report from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, there are 470 video game studios in the country, employing more than 20,000 people with an average yearly salary of $71,300. The industry contributes $3 billion to Canada’s annual GDP.
Some of the highest-profile games in the world, such as Assassin’s Creed, FIFA soccer and Mass Effect, are made in Canada. Highly anticipated upcoming games include Bioware Edmonton’s Anthem and an unnamed Star Wars game from Electronic…