Harder Difficulty Modes + Patch 1.04!

We’ve just released patch 1.04, which in addition to fixing a handful of small issues also makes a big addition: harder difficulty modes!

Instead of just Normal and Easy, Near Death now includes Hard and Condition 1 difficulties. Hard is hard, and Condition 1 will test even the most seasoned players. Both modes come with achievements so that you can prove to all your friends that you survived a full-on Condition 1 blizzard in Antarctica.

As for what these modes do, they both step up the intensity of the weather right from the start of the game. They also make it so that you receive less loot from containers, freeze faster, and run out of resources faster. Especially with Condition 1, you really have to think about every move and manage your resources extremely carefully; the conditions are brutal, so you can’t waste a single drop of kerosene or even one precious battery.

Here’s the full patch list, and we’ll keep an eye out for players sporting the new difficulty achievements!

  • Added two new difficulty levels: Hard and Condition 1. If you’re one of those “eh, Near Death didn’t seem that hard to me” folks, we have a new challenge for you, along with shiny new achievements if you can escape Sutro Station in utterly merciless conditions.
  • Added version information to the bottom right corner of the Options menu.
  • Fixed bug where players could accidentally place their heater on the other side of a door just after forcing it closed.
  • Fixed issue where in rare instances you can get duplicate quests after placing objects on the snowcat.
  • Miscellaneous small fixes to rare cosmetic bugs.

Near Death is OUT NOW!

We’re incredibly excited to announce that Near Death is OUT NOW! We’ve worked really hard on the game for quite some time, and we’re very proud of it. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do.

We’re also making our amazing soundtrack available as DLC, and you can buy it separately or as part of a special soundtrack edition that features the game and the soundtrack at a discounted price. If you want to support us and buy the game, here’s where you can do it:

Steam

Game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/327560/
Soundtrack DLC: http://store.steampowered.com/app/443550
Soundtrack Edition: http://store.steampowered.com/bundle/1084/

Humble Store

Game: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/near-death
Soundtrack Edition: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/near-death-soundtrack-edition

If you want to learn a little more about what the game is, we wrote a blog post explaining what exactly it is; you can check that out here. And you can also watch our launch day and announcement trailers to get more of a feel for the game:

Thanks so much to everyone who’s followed the game, helped us make it, given feedback, or offered support. Shipping an independent game is incredibly hard, and we couldn’t have done it without the friends and family who carried us here.

We hope you love the game!

– The Near Death Team

P.S. As a small, self-funded developer, we don’t have the resources to do site takeovers or big advertising pushes; word of mouth from fans of the game is one of the most valuable ways we can let people know about the game. If you’re so inclined, you can retweet and share our launch day posts and spread the word!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NearDeathGame/status/760521235012825089
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neardeathgame/

Thanks for your support!

What Is Near Death?

As we put the finishing touches on Near Death in preparation for its launch on August 2nd, we’ve noticed that there’s some understandable confusion about what exactly the game is. Is it a survival game? A story game? A walking simulator? An action game?

There’s no simple answer to those questions, as Near Death incorporates elements from a variety of game styles and weaves them into something that doesn’t fall neatly into any predefined genre. That’s because the gameplay in Near Death is entirely designed around the scenario itself. A quote that’s inspired us since the beginning is something that Pawel Miechowski said in his 2015 talk at the Indie Game Summit: “Forget about genres. Make a game about the chosen idea.”

That’s always been our approach on Near Death, and since it’s a game about being stranded and alone at an abandoned Antarctic base, everything in the entire game stems from two simple words:

Don’t freeze.

near_death_06

That’s it. Every gameplay decision you make is about trying not to freeze to death. It can get as cold as 100 below zero in the game, so you can only go outdoors for a few minutes at a time before dying. You have a portable heater, but it’s only powerful enough to warm you in enclosed spaces, so you’re on a constant hunt for buildings and rooms that will protect you from the elements. Some areas are too destroyed to provide safety, while others can be made safe by feverishly covering broken windows or forcing doors closed against raging winds.

But Near Death isn’t an endless survival game. It’s not a crafting sandbox. You won’t break your ankle or worry about managing a hunger meter, though there is a lightweight crafting system that lets you create tools like light poles and equipment upgrades to better cope with the deadly environment. Playing Near Death isn’t about managing long-term meters or customizing your character; it’s always about struggling against the worst conditions on Earth and the nerve-wracking feeling of never being more than a few minutes from freezing to death.

HabDestroyed

In some areas you can find ways to restore the base’s power system in order to generate heat, but it’s never long before you have to venture back out into the frozen wastes on the next leg of your journey. That journey is dedicated to escaping Sutro Station … which is, of course, just a longer term version of the same goal: don’t freeze.

That brings us to the next element of the game, the story. Near Death has a beginning, middle, and end. You crash-land at Sutro Station, and you quickly establish contact with a team back at your home base via the tenous link of an ancient teletype machine. Using short, simple text interactions, you and the team piece together a plan that will hopefully return you safely back home. Think The Martian or Apollo 13.

Garage

Sutro Station is a fully open environment with no loading screens or level transitions; once you start the game, it’s just you and the base. Some areas of the station are inaccessible to you at first, but only because you haven’t found the tools to unlock them yet. By the end of the game you’ll have used your abilities and wits to gain mastery over the environment, traveling between safe outposts you’ve established, guided by a network of landmarks like light poles and rope trails that you’ve laid down to avoid getting lost in the disorienting, zero-visibility blizzard.

And that’s what Near Death is: a game about being stranded at an abandoned Antarctic base and fighting against the most hostile conditions on Earth in a desperate attempt to escape. Whether or not you make it home is up to you.

But you’ll be just fine if you follow one simple rule: don’t freeze.

Welcome to Sutro Station

Today we are very excited to announce Near Death, a game where you explore an abandoned Antarctic research base, Sutro Station, in the midst of a deadly blizzard. We’ve been working hard on Near Death for some time now, and couldn’t be happier to start talking about the game.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as this blog, to stay up to date with the news from Sutro Station.

Thanks for stopping by. We’re looking forward to sharing more about Near Death in the coming weeks and months.

The Near Death Team,

Kent Hudson (@KentInPublic)
Ryan Mattson (@rmattson)
Alex Munn