The Long Dark Wiki
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In The Long Dark, interaction with wildlife is a central part of survival. A wide variety of animals exist on Great Bear Island, including terrestrial, aquatic, and avian species. Many of the animals' behaviours are unusual or unnatural--possibly due to the aurora.

Species

Prey

Prey includes deer, rabbits and moose. Deer and rabbit are easily frightened by the player or a predator. Moose however are highly aggressive and territorial, issuing warnings before attacking intruders. Rabbits are exclusive to Rabbit Groves at fixed locations, where as deer roam between multiple locations in each region. Moose are rare, and usually but not always found only at locations with moose markings (scratches on treetrunks).

Predators

Predators includes wolves, timberwolves and bear, Bear follow fixed routes to and from their den; multiple dens may be present in a region, however not all may be populated by bear in a given survival world. Wolves and Timberwolves roam between multiple locations. All predators will stalk or attack a nearby player, potentially resulting in a struggle. Wolves will also hunt nearby deer and rabbit. Predators will not attack the player on the Pilgrim difficulty unless provoked.

All animals can be hunted to obtain meat, hides, and guts, which can be cured for use in crafting. Animals will eventually respawn after being killed. However, the respawn rate can be delayed temporarily if the player aggressively hunts down animals in a certain area. Trapping, on the other hand, does not seem to diminish the number of live rabbits in an area.

Aurora Predators

During an aurora at night all prey animals will disappear and all predators will be replaced with their aurora counterpart (e.g. wolves are replaced by aurora wolves). Aurora predators are visually distinct (pale green glow on their fur, glowing green eyes), act more chaotically (e.g. wolves bark often and run around randomly), are more aggressive (wider detection radius), deadlier (do more damage in Struggles), and are immune to being frightened by fire. Powered streetlamps, vehicle headlights and the flashlight may be used to scare aurora predators, as are lit flares, marine flare and the distress pistol.

Birds

Crows will circle over frozen corpses and animal carcasses while dropping crow feathers. When the player is near a bear, crows can be heard calling aggressively with a distinctive "bear call". Crows are used in Wintermute to draw attention to certain locations.

Other bird species (e.g., loons) can be heard calling during certain times of day, however, no other birds besides circling crows are ever visible.

Fish

Fish inhabit the waters of numerous regions and may be fished at fishing holes in the ice (found inside of fishing shacks). Species include coho salmon and rainbow trout in coastal saltwater, while inland freshwater hosts smallmouth bass and lake whitefish.

Animal spawning

With the exception of fish and birds, when the player first starts up a world, animals will spawn in at the same time the player does. These animals will wander around the region for however long the player stays outside. Some survival modes and challenges offer a "grace period" before predators can spawn at the very start of a sandbox. On Interloper mode prey animals will become rarer over time (to a limit).

When the player enters an indoor location, or leaves the region, the game saves the position of all the animals. If an animal is bleeding, the game will track it. This game state is valid for about one in-game hour, during which time the animals will move around as if the player were present. If the player does not re-enter the region within this time, all the animals will despawn. When the player enters the region once more, all animals be spawn in as if the player entered the region for the first time. If an animal was bleeding and the player re-enters the region before the bleed-out timer has expired, the animal will not die and will respawn, unharmed. If the player stays inside longer than the animal's bleed-out timer, the animal will spawn into the region, dead, but any arrows in its body will be lost.

When an animal is killed, it will be removed from the respawn list for a few days after killing, depending the frequency of deaths and game difficulty. More deaths, longer respawn time. Not harvesting carcasses will result in delayed animal respawn times.

All animals, except for predators which are actively pursuing the player and bleeding animals, will despawn during blizzard weather. This mechanic works the exact same way as it does when the player enters a structure.

Trivia

  • In older versions, animals' pathfinding AI could not navigate obstacles such as fallen tree bridges, staircases, doorways of fishing huts. This has been (mostly) fixed, but animals still have trouble navigating stairs, mazes, and fallen tree bridges on occasion.
  • Animals can't enter locations only accessible by squatting.
  • Animals will never jump down embankments, even from heights that would not damage the player.
  • During Escape the Darkwalker, the Toxic Fog will immediately kill all prey and predator type animals when it descends. Crows will not be affected.
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