Skyrim, the fifth title in Bethesda’s beloved Elder Scrolls series, is already a pretty punishing game. It’s packed with creatures and enemies that can kill you in short order, and navigating the often trying landscape is rarely easy. Now, the game is going to get a whole lot more unforgiving thanks to an all-new Survival Mode, developed by Bethesda specifically for Skyrim Special Edition on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.
The new mode, which is currently available to PC gamers in beta, is similar to some of the popular survival mods created by the Skyrim community for PC over the years, but since this one comes directly from Bethesda, it’ll be rolled out to the console versions of the game as well, but for an unspecified price.
As Bethesda describes in a blog post announcing the addition, Survival Mode is really the ultimate test of Skyrim skill. There’s no regenerative health, you must regularly eat to maintain your wellbeing, and food that isn’t cooked has a chance of giving you food poisoning, which dramatically lowers your ability to do basically anything.
Sleeping outdoors will barely boost you, you must manage your temperature to ensure you don’t freeze, and your ability to carry items is dramatically reduced by default, with even tiny items like lock picks and arrows contributing to your maximum load. On top of all that, you can catch diseases from the beasts you encounter in the wild, and fast travel is disabled completely.
It’s an undeniably brutal twist on Skyrim, and while the core game is growing rather long in the tooth at this point — it will be six years old in November — this latest addition might just be the final reason to revisit it before Bethesda inevitably announces the next Elder Scrolls title.