We were hoping for a Starfield survival mode, but it looks like we're going to have to keep waiting to see what the DLC brings.
Fans of hardcore RPG experiences have been calling out for a Starfield survival mode that echoes similar difficulties found in previous Bethesda titles. Unfortunately, the current limit is ‘Very Hard’, though all that could change with future Starfield DLC.
Surviving with the state of the in-game maps is hard enough as it is, so feel free to make your adventure through space a little easier with our interactive Starfield map collection. We’ve got the Akila City Map, Neon map, New Atlantis Map, and there’s more on the way. Or, if you’re finding it tough enough to escape the intergalactic law, see our guide on how to clear your Starfield bounty before returning to the scene of your crimes.
What is the Starfield survival mode?
Ever since the release of Fallout New Vegas, Bethesda has included a ‘survival’ or ‘hardcore’ difficulty. Playing a game on survival mode typically has the following effects:
- You have a hunger meter which can only be replenished by consuming food items. Failure to do so regularly results in debuffs, and eventually death.
- You have a thirst meter which can only be replenished by drinking bottled liquids or water sources found in sinks, toilets, water fountains, or on the ground. Thirst drains faster than hunger and results in debuffs, and eventually death if neglected.
- You can no longer save manually using the menu, and the autosave function is disabled. In order to save, you will need to find a bed and sleep. Not sleeping for extended periods results in fatigue levels which provide debuffs. You can still save by exiting the game, but the ‘Exit game save’ is a temporary save which can only be loaded once.
- Fast travel – the ability to teleport to your destination – is disabled. You have to manually fly/walk/drive to your destination.
- Taking healing items restores your health at a slower rate, meaning you’ll need to be more careful in combat.
- Ammo has ‘mass’. Outside of survival difficulties, all ammo is weightless. With survival mode enabled, you have to be careful about how much ammo you carry with you or risk becoming overencumbered.
If Bethesda is planning to roll out a survival difficulty for Starfield, we’ll likely see much of the above list replicated in the Settled Systems, so make sure to read up on outposts and resources to give you the best chance of surviving. However, at the time of writing, there’s nothing to suggest that future DLC, including the announced Shattered Space DLC, contains a Starfield survival mode. So, we’re keeping an eye out for any mods that integrate the system for our long list of the best Starfield mods. It’s up to you now, modders.
Starfield hardcore difficulty
Todd Howard has previously mentioned in the Constellation Questions: Talking Starfield with Todd Howard interview that Starfield might get a hardcore difficulty. According to Todd, at one point in Starfield’s development, you had to carefully manage your ship’s fuel or risk running out and becoming adrift in space.
“You used to run out of fuel, jump out, you get stranded: on paper it’s a great moment.”
However, the development team decided that running out of fuel was “a fun killer.” Now, the gravity drive fuel level limits how far you can jump, but Todd did mention that it might be something Bethesda or a modder bring back as part of a hardcore difficulty. As of yet, we’re still waiting for a survival mode, be it official or made by a mod, to arrive.
Starfield survival tips
If Starfield does get a survival mode, the standard gameplay will shift significantly, so we will compile a guide to improve your odds of beating the hardest difficulty. Fortunately, we can use previous Bethesda titles to gain an idea of helpful tips for surviving the Settled Systems:
- Outposts will be more important than ever – these bases will provide you with shelter, the ability to mine resources, and fabricate items like food and water.
- Make the right purchases – credits can be hard to come by, so you’ll want to spend your hard-earned cash on the best weapons and armor choices out there, and flesh out your ship with the best modules.
- Know where you need to go – choosing the best planets and locations will help you get a headstart on your resource gathering, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the Starfield map.
For now, we’ll have to wait until future announcements and more mods to see if a survival mode eventually arrives. Be sure to check out some of the Starfield weapons and armor you’ll need to survive a hostile galaxy while you wait.