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Fallout 4 has had the details of its upcoming changes to Survival Difficulty uncovered as shown by a submission by Redditor /u/shaned53 on the /r/fallout subreddit.

Survival difficulty in Fallout 4 currently consists of a greatly reduced healing rate, higher sustained damage, and not much else. However, the announcement of the contents of forthcoming DLC included an announcement that Survival mode would be overhauled:

Once these findings gained traction on Reddit, Bethesda posted a tweet confirming that the information was more or less accurate while also stating that it is still a work in progress. The tweet links to a mirror of shaned53’s post by Redditor /u/rayqugr on the /r/fo4 subreddit.

To start, although it isn’t implicitly stated in the Reddit submission it is probably safe to assume that the reduced healing rate will remain in the new Survival Difficulty. Survival Difficulty is going to be beta-tested on PC before being deployed properly to PC and consoles.

You will take more damage but also deal more damage similar to Ranger Mode in the Metro games. In addition, players will benefit from an “Adrenaline” perk that is unique to Survival Difficulty. The perk increases your damage as you get more kills and reduces your bonus damage as you sleep.

Traveling throughout the Commonwealth is going to be an altogether more difficult prospect. Manual Saving and Quicksaving are disabled. Saving can only be accomplished by sleeping at a bed for at least one hour, and there’s no mention of how Autosaving will be handled. Fast travel is completely disabled, and the visibility distance for points of interest on your compass is shortened. To make things worse, enemies no longer show up on your compass at all.

Traveling the wasteland with a giant bag of stuff overburdening you until you get back to base is no longer without consequence beyond slowing you down. In this mode if you go over your Carry Weight you’ll suffer penalties to Endurance and Agility, and continuing to run around overloaded will result in occasionally losing and periodic limb damage to your legs. This is exacerbated by currently “weightless” items like ammo now having weight – particular mention is made to the encumbrance that Fusion Cores and Mini Nukes will cause.

In addition to all of the usual hazards of the Commonwealth, players will have to meet their basic needs. Hunger, Hydration, and Sleep must be maintained or you will suffer stat penalties and eventually start taking damage. Long stretches of time without meeting these needs will add “Fatigue” to your AP bar and reduce its maximum level in a similar fashion to how rads reduce your maximum HP. Sleep is affected by the quality of the bed you’re sleeping in – a sleeping bag won’t result in as much quality rest as a proper bed will. Crippled limbs are also no longer healed after resting and can only be restored through use of a Stimpak.

Disease will also be a concern. Uncooked or tainted food and attacks from certain “dirty” enemies such as radroaches or ghouls can infect the player with a disease. Diseases can be found on the Status menu and can be cured with Antibiotics that you will be able to craft at a Chemistry station.

Companions will no longer get up on their own if they’re dropped by taking too much damage. If you abandon them and don’t heal them with a Stimpak, they’ll return home rather than catch up with you as they currently do in the game.

Lastly, locations that you’ve cleared will respawn at a less frequent rate. This will contribute to an overall difficulty in finding new supplies as items everywhere get more scarce.

The changes to Survival Difficulty do not address many issues. How will the Institute’s teleportation work in Survival Difficulty? Will shopkeepers also have a reduced respawn on their inventory? We won’t get the answers to these questions until the DLC featuring the changes is released.

What do you think of Bethesda’s take on a “Survival” mode for Fallout 4? How do you feel it compares to the implementation in Fallout: New Vegas or Josh Sawyer’s even more unforgiving survival mod? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!