Fallout 4 Concept Art
Concept art for Fallout 4. Bethesda

Bethesda has detailed Fallout 4's Survival Mode; a new, tougher level of difficulty for players of the post-apocalyptic RPG. It's coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC, but there is only a beta for PC players at present, available through Steam from today (March 29).

In Bethesda's blog about the new mode, they detail a number of the planned changes but stress that many features may be altered or removed entirely before the mode is officially released for free to Fallout 4 players. No further information about a release date has been announced.

PC players can learn more about the beta and how to access it here.

Before explaining some of the details of the mode, Bethesda explained more broadly what the optional mode will entail.

At a high level, we wanted to force you to make interesting choices. We did that by bringing more contrasting motivations to Fallout 4 using the type of circular systems you might find in a game like Dark Souls. (By which we mean, two or more systems that push against each other.) This resulted in four major pillars for Survival Mode.

  1. Strategy: Intensify decisions involving when to get into combat versus when to avoid it, and also make you think more about what gear to take into combat. Then back up those decisions with faster, more brutal fights.
  2. Exploration: Slow down the pace of the game and encourage players to explore the nooks and crannies of the world.
  3. Resource Management: Balance out items in the world that may be too easy to acquire or horde, giving players more to consider when planning their current loadout.
  4. Role Playing: Increase the realism of the world and the issues one might face there.

As for specific features; Survival Mode will restrict saving to periods of sleeping only, with quick-saving removed and most auto-saves disabled. The kind of bed you sleep on will also affect the length of time you sleep and how rested up it makes you. Fast-travel is also disabled in the mode, "in other words, exploration is now mandatory, exposing more of the Commonwealth's secret gems," reads Bethesda's post.

Players will deal more damaging attacks but are also more susceptible to damage themselves, making combat more strategic. A player's damage can be increased with adrenaline, a new perk which adds 5% bonus damage for each five enemies killed up to 50% at the perks max rank of 10.

Enemies will no longer appear on the compass/mini-map, and the range at which locations of interest will appear has been shortened. Survival Mode also makes more of day-to-day survival, so players will get tired, hungry and thirsty unless those needs are met. Ill-effects will harm player stats, lower immunity and create general damage. "Fatigue works like radiation, but affects your Action Points (AP) rather than your Hit Points (HP)."

Illnesses will affect players, who are then able to craft, find or purchase drugs to remedy the problem. Players with a lower immunity will be more susceptible to illness, and their immunity is lowered by RadAway and other items that reduce radiation poisoning. More generally, stimpacks and food recover health slower as well and damaged limbs can only be healed by stimpacks and sleep, rather than automatically healing.

The weight a player can carry has been lowered and items such as ammo and health packs now incur weight where they previously did not. Becoming encumbered will build fatigue and eventually damage your legs. Companions will also be able to carry less. Finally, the post states that the mode will slow the rate at which locations previously cleared out are re-filled with items and enemies, forcing players to branch out and find new areas.

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