Survival mode

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For the hardest difficulty mode in Fallout: New Vegas or the achievement/trophy unlocked for beating the game in said mode, see Hardcore mode.

Survival mode is the most difficult gameplay mode in Fallout 4. It differs significantly from the other gameplay modes. The mode was added to the game for all platforms on March 29, 2016. It replaced the existing Survival difficulty, which was renamed to Very Hard.

Survival modeEdit

Survival mode can be accessed in the options menu. Unlike Hardcore mode used in Fallout: New Vegas, Survival mode can be set before gameplay. This mode also cannot be toggled freely. Once Survival mode is activated, turning it off will permanently disable it from being reactivated for that save file.

List of featuresEdit

Features in this mode are as follows:

  • The only way to save the game is to sleep in any bed for at least one hour.
    • The exit save which is done when exiting the game can only be loaded once when restarting the game. The save is automatically inaccessible once it has been loaded.
    • Manual saving, quicksaving, and autosaving (with the exception of autosaving after sleeping) are disabled.
  • Fast travel is disabled.
  • The Sole Survivor takes but also deals more damage.
  • Most threats are not visible on the compass.
  • Locations of interest are harder to detect.
  • A new perk, Adrenaline, is automatically given to the Sole Survivor. It gives the Sole Survivor damage bonuses provided he or she does not sleep.
  • The Sole Survivor must stay hydrated, eat periodically, and have a regular sleep cycle in order to survive.
  • While the Sole Survivor is hungry, all foods lose their healing properties and do not regain them until enough is consumed to make the survivor "well-fed." The amount of food that must be eaten to do this is relative to its quality (or price), i.e, ribeye steak removes hunger better than grilled radroach.
  • Fatigue damage reduces Action points (AP).
  • Sleeping in a bed for less than 7 hours does not heal Hit Points (HP).
  • Illness and antibiotics are introduced.
  • The healing rates of RadAway, stimpaks, and other healing items are significantly reduced.
  • RadAway and chems can negatively affect the immune system.
  • Limbs no longer heal after combat and must be restored with a stimpak, by sleeping in a bed until the Sole Survivor is well rested, or by visiting a doctor.
  • Ammunition has weight and total carry weight is significantly reduced for both the Sole Survivor and their companions.
  • Companions will not get back up if downed in combat until healed. If left unattended, they will return home.
  • Robotic companions created in the Automatron add-on, excluding NPC robots like Ada and Jezebel, will now be destroyed if not repaired after being downed in combat.
  • Cleared locations (both those marked as "[Cleared]" or otherwise) take much longer to repopulate enemies and loot.
    • Normally non-"[cleared]" locations take 7 in-game days and "[cleared]" locations take 20 in-game days to start respawning. In Survival mode, these are increased to 35 in-game days and 80 in-game days, respectively.
    • Perhaps as a consequence of fewer respawned enemies, enemies now yield twice as much experience. (This change is not explicitly mentioned by the help notes for Survival mode.)
  • Enemies that usually spawn at higher levels will now spawn with regularity.
  • Accessing the game console (the tilde key) and use of console commands is disabled.

Gameplay differencesEdit

Saving Manual, quicksaving and autosaves are available. Manual, quicksaving and almost all autosaves are disabled.
Fast travel Fast travel is available. Fast travel is disabled.
Locations of interest Easy detection of locations of interest. Detection of locations of interest are significantly reduced.
Location repopulation rate Repopulate after 7 or 20 (for "[Cleared]") in-game days. Repopulate after 35 or 80 in-game days.
Experience gain Normal rate. Enemies yield 2x experience.
Available perks Adrenaline perk not readily available. Adrenaline perk is given.
Wellness Not subject to Exhaustion, Hunger, or Thirst deprivation. The Sole survivor is challenged to stay hydrated, fed and rested.
Fatigue Not subject to Fatigue. Subject to Fatigue.
Illness & antibiotics Not subject to illness. Antibiotics are needed to heal illness.
Healing radiation
  1. No negative side effects using RadAway.
  2. Refreshing beverage heals radiation damage up to 1000 rads.
  1. Use of RadAway induces Fatigue and vulnerability to illness (Temporary effect).
  2. Refreshing beverage heals radiation damage instantly, but only for 100 rads with no negative side effects.
Healing rates Food, Stimpaks and Radaway heal instantly. Restorative items recover Hit points at a significantly reduced rate.
Crippled limbs Crippled limbs auto-heal after combat. Crippled limbs do not auto-heal. Must be healed by a stimpak or by a doctor.
Carry weight
  1. Ammunition is weightless.
  2. Not subject to ill effects of Encumbrance
  1. Ammunition has weight.
  2. Safe carry weight is significantly reduced for both the Sole Survivor and companions.
  3. Encumbrance induces Fatigue, reduces Agility and Endurance by 2 points each, causes periodic damage and eventually Crippled Limbs.
Companions If knocked unconscious, Companions will get back up after combat. If knocked unconscious, Companions will not get back up after combat. They must be healed first, or they will return to their designated settlement. Non-NPC robot companions will instead be destroyed rather than returning to a settlement.
Workshop No limits on overall Workshop inventory capacity. Workshop inventory capacity reduced. May affect availability of production items (food, water, etc).


There are five stages in each category of wellness that span in-game hours. It does not seem that the thresholds are linear. For example, it takes about 6 hours to go from well-fed to peckish to hungry, then 12 hours to go from hungry to famished. The following table shows the approximate times that it takes for a character to go from completely satisfied to the listed condition in each area. In-game time is expressed in "hours" and real-time is expressed in "minutes". These effects can be sped up when using certain items. Stimpaks and other drugs inducing dehydration, Rad-Away causing hunger, etc.


THIRST Parched Thirsty Mildly Dehydrated Dehydrated Severely Dehydrated
Effects -1 INT -2 INT, -1 PER -4 INT, -1 LCK, -3 PER -8 INT, -2 LCK, -5 PER -10 INT, -3 LCK, -7 PER, Periodic Damage

In-game (hours)

4 hours 9 hours 18 hours 30 hours 45 hours

Real-time (mins)

12 mins 27 mins 54 mins 90 mins 135 mins

Note: The In-game / real-time data in this table are approximations only. The time expressed is not truly accurate. This table may be incomplete.


HUNGER Peckish Hungry Famished Ravenous Starving
Effects -1 END -2 CHR, -1 END -3 CHR, -4 END, -1 LCK -5 CHR, -8 END, -2 LCK -5 CHR, -10 END, -3 LCK, Periodic Damage

In-game (hours)

6 hours 12 hours 24 hours 36 hours 64 hours

Real-time (mins)

18 mins 36 mins 72 mins 108 mins 192 mins

Note: The In-game / real-time data in this table are approximations only. The time expressed is not truly accurate. This table may be incomplete.

  • Bonuses granted by food are only given if eaten while not currently being hungry, as stated on the game's loading screen. However, eating something that grants a bonus (e.g. the +1 Agility of deathclaw steak) while hungry will remove the bonus if it is already active. For example, eating a deathclaw steak while not hungry to gain the bonus, then become Peckish, then eating a second deathclaw steak to become well-fed will negate the +1 Agility bonus and would require eating a third deathclaw steak to regain it.
  • Certain foods, such as soups and certain crops, satisfy both hunger and thirst.
  • Issue #9 of the Wasteland Survival Guide doubles the meat dropped by most animals in the Commonwealth. This can significantly impact the amount of available food, so getting it early on in Sunshine Tidings co-op can be incredibly advantageous.


SLEEP Tired Overtired Weary Exhausted Incapacitated
Effects -5% AP Refresh -1 STR,
-15% AP Refresh
-1 AGI, -1 LCK, -2 STR
-30% AP Refresh
-2 AGI, -2 LCK, -4 STR,
-50% AP Refresh, Can't Sprint
-4 AGI, -3 LCK, -6 STR,
-75% AP Refresh, Can't Run

In-game (hours)

27 hours 40 hours 55 hours 69 hours 82 hours

Real-time (mins)

81 mins 120 mins 165 mins 207 mins 246 mins

Note: The In-game / real-time data in this table are approximations only. The time expressed is not truly accurate. This table may be incomplete.

  • Sleeping at least one hour on any bed, mattress or sleeping bag will save the game.
  • The Sole Survivor cannot sleep more than 3 hours in a sleeping bag and more than 5 hours on a mattress. To sleep for longer amounts of time, it is required to use a real bed.
  • Sleeping seven hours in a full bed ensures being well rested and minimizes risk of illness. For a quick save at a key location, sleep for at least 3 hours. Being only asleep for one hour in any bed, even at a workshop settlement, will still grant a high risk for illness, in particular parasites. Lethargy, insomnia, and weakness are also common with not sleeping well.


Main article: Illnesses
  • There is a high probability for contracting parasites during melee attacks on infected animals, in particular radroaches and mongrels.
  • All illnesses can be cured by a doctor using the 15 cap "Cure Me" option in their dialogue. This is preferable over spending the caps on antibiotic supplies. It is therefore also recommended to have at least a level 1 clinic at the main settlement to use upon return.


  • Toggling Survival mode on and then changing the difficulty prevents going back into Survival mode. In other words, it cannot be enabled, disabled, and then re-enabled.
  • For at least the first 10 levels, one may need to broaden their food options due to limited sources of food, at least until the individual builds up enough crops and water for cooking. Consider hunting radstags for immediate supply of food that both has little risk of injury, and a highly useful bonus of +25 carry weight from grilled radstag that helps to mitigate the very low early-game carry weight if eaten while not currently hungry.
  • Because a fusion core now weighs 4 lbs, carrying too many cores may not be advantageous. It may be wise to consider elevating Intelligence to 9 as early in the game as possible, to access the Nuclear Physicist perk. This perk will help extend the life of the fusion cores. At the very least, as early as possible, fight the way up the skyrails of the Corvega assembly plant to get the Repair bobblehead in order to permanently increase the duration of those fusion cores by 10%, regardless of being on a faction quest or not.
  • Because all characters are much weaker in terms of health, direct "guns blazin'" fighting will likely result in death, especially at lower levels. The lowered health of enemies does however make Sneak builds incredibly advantageous, as it becomes much easier to kill an enemy in one hit, and it allows for fighting one enemy at a time.
  • Supply lines allow workshops to share items used for crafting. Cooking stations therefore share the raw meat, crops, water, etc that are stored in a workshop's inventory, so long as the settlements are connected through the supply line. However, already-cooked food cannot be stored and then picked up anywhere along the supply chain, but rather only at the settlement in which it was stored. Storing uncooked food in any settlement will allow cooking it on an as-needed basis at any settlement connected through the supply line, and reduce the necessary time needed to get supplies for an expedition
  • Because fast travel is disabled, there are two methods to move more quickly around the Commonwealth. One option is the utilization of vertibirds using a Vertibird signal grenade, which will allow "fast traveling" using the map. An alternative is to teleport to the Institute, then to CIT ruins, which effectively places one around the middle of the Commonwealth and can significantly cut travel time. Legendary effects on armor which increase movement speed, decrease the AP cost of sprinting, increase AP regeneration, etc, also help with lowering travel time


  • ps4Icon ps4 Starting in Survival mode and later changing the game mode will not change the water production from Water Purifiers.
  • When first joining the Railroad, the message "You can now fast travel to and from Railroad HQ" still appears, despite the fact that fast travel is disabled in Survival mode.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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