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Bethesda explains Fallout 4’s Survival Mode, now available on Steam beta

First teased in February, Fallout 4‘s promised new Survival Mode is available now in beta to anyone playing on PC. A new blog post from the developers goes into detail on the previously outlined new features that will make Survival Mode so immersive and challenging.

On the top level, the mode was designed to create more interesting strategic and tactical decisions for the player, to encourage exploration, and to generally slow the game’s pace down and increase the difficulty. Bethesda designers Josh Hamrick and Jon Paul Duvall took lead on the gameplay mode after sketching it out during an internal Game Jam at the studio.

Wandering the wasteland is going to be generally tense, since enemies won’t show up on your compass unless you spot them from a distance with a recon scope. Locations of interest also only show up within a significantly shorter radius, meaning that you’ll have to be more vigilant.

Once you’re in an encounter, both you and your enemies will hit substantially harder, increasing the stakes for every moment in combat. A new Adrenaline perk will increase your damage output even further, giving you an additional 5-percent boost for every five kills, up to a total of fifty percent. Adrenaline goes back down when you sleep, which becomes much more important in Survival Mode.

Related: 14 of Fallout 4‘s best weapons and where to find them

Manual and quicksaving are disabled, so the only way to save your progress is to sleep in a bed for at least an hour. Moreover, fast travel has also been disabled, so kitting out your workshops scattered around the wasteland is much more important. The quality of the bed also impacts how effective the sleep is, giving you more incentive to craft a fancier bed instead of just relying on dirty floor mattresses like a scrub.

Sleep is critical for more than just saving, since going too long without it will lead to exhaustion. Similarly, go without food or water for too long and you’ll suffer the consequences of dehydration and starvation. These will stack negative effects on your SPECIAL stats, make you more susceptible to diseases (which are newly specific and harmful) and increase your Fatigue, which places a growing limit on your AP in the same way that radiation affects your health cap.

All of this will be made harder with much slower healing, limbs that stay crippled until dealt with, and a decreased carrying capacity. Adding insult to injury, small items like ammunition and stimpacks now have weight as well, forcing an even tighter economy on you.

If Fallout 4 was too easy and breezy for you — running around like a bullet sponge with bottomless pockets for bullets — then Survival Mode might be just the rude awakening you need. In order to access the beta, do the following:

• Log into Steam
• Right Click on Fallout 4 in your Library
• Select Settings
• Select Betas
• A drop down menu will appear. Select Survival Beta Update
• Select OK
• Wait a few minutes and Fallout 4 should update
• When done, Fallout 4 should appear as Fallout 4 [Beta] in your Library