I seriously had no idea how easy I had it on my first life until I had the ones this episode. In its current state The Long Dark doesn't seem to try to have a specifically gentle or hard introduction. You are just planted in a random location on the selected map, at a relatively random time of day (you can spawn towards sunset apparently), in whatever weather conditions have been generated.
So you can spawn right near a pack of wolves, who then eat you, or at the end of a snowy foggy day with no shelter in sight.
Interestingly enough as a result of these very painful experiences I felt much more engaged with the game, they were definitely punishing and unfair, but they were also very unusual experiences and they were over fairly quickly so I could start over.