In survival mode, the player can freely explore and survive inside a sandbox environment. Unlike story mode, survival mode has no quests or plots, and the player may travel between regions without restriction.

Survival mode is a permadeath experience. Once the player dies, the game save cannot be reloaded.


The choice of Experience dictates how harshly the world will treat the player throughout their journey in The Long Dark.


XpMode Pilgrim

The easiest experience available. Best for exploration and learning in a low-stress environment.

  • Abundance of items.
  • Needs bars drop slowly.
  • Wildlife will not attack the player unless provoked.
  • Safe starting location.
  • All fires stop the character from freezing.
  • Decay of all items is much slower than other experience modes.
  • Allows for five active feats.


XpMode Voyageur

An experience that balances exploration with a challenge.

  • A Balanced number of items.
  • Normal needs.
  • Hostile wildlife will not appear for the first twelve to twenty-four hours.[1]
  • All fires stop the character from freezing.
  • Chance to start at night.
  • Decay of all items is slightly slower than Stalker.
  • Allows for four active feats.


XpMode Stalker

A punishing survival challenge.

  • Few items to be found.
  • Needs bars erode quickly.
  • Immediate hostile wildlife and in greater numbers.
  • Starting a fire does not immediately save the character from freezing. Fire temperature must raise "feels like" temperature above freezing.
  • No chance of an indoor starting location.
  • Chance to start at night.
  • Allows for three active feats.

Interloper Edit

XpMode Interloper

The most difficult experience available. For expert players looking for the ultimate survival challenge.

  • Very few items. Certain critical tools and items have limitations on how many times they can spawn across the entire sandbox (e.g., matches and other ignition items are rare, a hunting rifle will never spawn on this difficulty).
  • Minimal starting resources: the player starts with just a partial set of poor clothing, a recycled can, and nothing else. Most high-quality clothing and some key tools/items need to be crafted.
  • Less numerous but more dangerous wildlife.
  • The world becomes more hostile the longer the player survives.
  • Allows for two active feats.
  • Needs and item condition decay faster. Player condition regenerates more slowly.
  • Choosing region to spawn is not possible. Possible to spawn at night, and no indoor spawns are available. Higher chance to spawn in Forlorn Muskeg, Hushed River Valley, or other higher difficulty regions.
  • Several cargo containers do not spawn on Timberwolf Mountain, and the quality of some containers may be downgraded (e.g., a container that held several cans of condensed milk may now only contain some tomato soup).

Custom Edit

XpMode Custom

For players looking for their own experience, separate from standard Survival mode experiences. Players can create a custom experience here, with over 50 different variables which can be adjusted to their liking. These variables include:

  • Rate of hunger, thirst, cold and rest drain.
  • Wind variability and weather type probabilities.
  • Animal behaviour and spawns, including an option for passive wildlife.
  • Quality and quantity of loot spawns (loose and in containers).
  • Level of damage and injuries from wolves.
  • Which afflictions can be inflicted onto the player. well as many others.

Creating a Custom Experience Mode generates a code, which can then be shared with other players, usable across any platform.

Gameplay in a Custom Experience Mode will not go toward Feats completion.

Choose RegionEdit

Main article: Region

The player may select any region they want as their starting point. The player also has the option to randomize their starting region. Each region is unique, has different advantages and drawbacks, and are all interconnected.

If the Interloper Experience is selected, then the starting region will be randomly chosen. In Interloper, you will not spawn in Mystery Lake or Coastal Highway, and the number of possible spawn locations is limited.

The current regions are as follows:

Mystery Lake [beginner] - connects to Coastal Highway, Pleasant Valley, and Forlorn Muskeg

Coastal Highway [intermediate] - connects to Mystery Lake, Pleasant Valley, and Desolation Point

Pleasant Valley [advanced] - connects to Mystery Lake, Coastal Highway, and Timberwolf Mountain

Desolation Point [intermediate] - connects to Coastal Highway

Timberwolf Mountain [advanced] - connects to Pleasant Valley

Forlorn Muskeg [advanced] - connects to Mystery Lake and Broken Railroad

Broken Railroad [intermediate] - connects to Forlorn Muskeg

Mountain Town [beginner] - Connects to Mystery Lake and Forlorn Muskeg

Hushed River Valley [advanced] - Connects to Mountain Town


The choices are male or female, with the only differences being the player character's speaking voice and the body shown in the clothing screen.


The player is alone, not dressed for the cold, and carries only a meager amount of supplies. The player must find food and shelter before nightfall, when the temperatures drop. The amount of supplies one starts with is dependent on the experience mode selected.

Depending on the sandbox difficulty, the players may either find themselves in a house or outside in the cold.

References Edit

  1. Steam, The "Silent Hunter" Update (v.233) -- We've Added Bows & Improved Hunting!, viewed 22 May 2015, <>.