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Roughly one month after the first details leaked, Bethesda has published their overhauled Survival Mode for Fallout 4 on Steam as a beta and described some of the high-level goals and their implementation in a blog post on their official website.
This difficulty level is significantly more detailed than Fallout: New Vegas' comparable Hardcore Mode and makes an extensive number of changes to the game, from increasing the overall damage output of all entities in the game, to adding need meters, to limiting fast travel and the ability to save. It sounds like a comprehensive package, so be prepared to deal with a significantly different game if you select it:
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.
- 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.
- Exploration: Slow down the pace of the game and encourage players to explore the nooks and crannies of the world.
- 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.
- Role Playing: Increase the realism of the world and the issues one might face there.
I'll reiterate what I said when the first details leaked: limiting save options in an open-world game known for being prone to crashes doesn't strike me as the best idea, even though I can admire the rationale behind this decision.