The Long Dark Wiki
The Long Dark Wiki

Survival Mode is the sandbox survival mode of The Long Dark.

During Survival Mode the player may travel freely between all Regions of Great Bear Island, with the narrative created by their own actions and ability to survive. Survival Mode is a permadeath experience; once the player dies the 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.png

Wander the quiet apocalypse to chronicle the passing of an age. This is the poetry of survival.

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

  • Great Bear Island is abundant with items.
    • High-quality and abundant starting supplies.
    • High-quality items may spawn.
    • Firearms may spawn.
  • Needs erode slowly.
  • Wildlife will not attack unless provoked. (All Wildlife flee from the player, unless attacked or harassed.)
  • Safe starting condition (indoors, during good weather, in hospitable Region).
  • Decay of items is slow.
  • All Fires prevent freezing (regardless of ambient temperature).
  • Automatically wake from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows five active Feats.


XpMode Voyageur.png

Equal parts hunter and hunted, your struggle to survive will eventually lead to mastering the elements.

An experience that balances exploration with a challenge.

  • Great Bear Island has regular items to be found.
    • Moderate and mid-quality starting supplies.
    • High-quality items may spawn, but are uncommon.
    • Firearms may spawn.
  • Normal Needs.
  • Hostile Wildlife will not spawn for the first 24 hours.[1]
  • Chance to start at night, outdoors, during poor weather, or in an inhospitable Region.
  • Moderate Decay of items.
  • All Fires prevent freezing (regardless of ambient temperature).
  • Automatically wake from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows four active Feats.


XpMode Stalker.png

Your demise awaits behind every hilltop, shelter, and tree. Only the strong survive.

A punishing survival challenge. Stalker features numerous and aggressive Wolves and Timberwolves.

  • Great Bear Island is sparse with items.
    • Limited and/or low quality starting supplies.
    • Incomplete starting clothes; head will be exposed.
    • High-quality items may spawn, but are rare.
    • Firearms and ammunition may spawn infrequently.
  • Needs erode quickly.
  • Hostile Wildlife may spawn immediately, are more numerous, and are found in more locations.
  • Detection radius for hostile wildlife is extremely large.
  • Start will be outdoors: chance to start during night, poor weather, or in an inhospitable Region.
  • Fast Decay of items.
  • Fires do not automatically prevent freezing ("Feels Like" Temperature must be raised above 0° C).
  • No automatic waking from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows three active Feats.


XpMode Interloper.png

You are not part of Mother Nature's plan, and you will bear the full force of her wrath. The true test of Human VS Nature.

A punishing survival experience. You are an unwelcome guest in this cold, hostile world. Best suited for expert players looking for the ultimate survival challenge.


XpMode Custom.png

Use our custom toolbox to craft a unique experience between Survival and Exploration - an experience all your own.

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: well as many others.

Creating a Custom Experience Mode generates a code, which may be shared with other users for the same experience, including across platforms.

NOTE: No Feats progression will occur in Custom Experience Mode. Up to 5 previously unlocked Feats are available for use.

Baseline resource availability Very High High Medium Low
Starting time of day Noon Random Random Random
Starting weather Clear Heavy Fog Heavy Fog Heavy Fog
Indoor spawns permitted Yes Yes No No
Survivor monologue Yes Yes Yes Yes
Length of day multiplier 1x 1x 1x 1x
Weather variability Low Medium High Very High
Blizzard frequency Low Medium High Very High
World gets colder over time None Low Medium High
Wind variability Medium Medium Medium Medium
Aurora frequency Medium Medium Medium Medium
Fire overcomes ambient air temp Yes Yes No No
Endless night (v1.83) No No No No
Calorie burn rate Low Medium High Very High
Thirst rate Low Medium Medium High
Fatigue rate High High High Medium
Freezing rate Low Medium High Very High
At-rest condition recovery rate High High High Medium
Condition recovery rate High High High Medium
Hypothermia recovery time Low Medium High Very High
Frostbite rate Low Medium High Very High
Cabin fever No Yes Yes Yes
Intestinal parasites No No Yes Yes
Dysentery Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sprains Yes Yes Yes Yes
Food poisoning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Broken ribs No Yes Yes Yes
Rest as a resource Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fires prevent freezing Yes Yes No No
Wake up player when freezing near a fire Yes Yes No No
Birch bark tea crafting (v.1.64) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Item decay rate Low Medium High Very High
Loose item availability Very High High Medium Low
Empty container chance modifier None None Medium High
Stick, branch, and stone respawn frequency Very High High Medium Low
Starting gear allocation Very High High Medium Low
Rifle availability Yes Yes Yes No
Revolver availability (v.1.64) Yes Yes Yes No
Harvestable plant availability High High High High
Reduce container item density None None Low High
Fish spawn chance High High High Medium
Wolf spawn chance Low Medium Very High High
Timberwolf spawn chance (v.1.64) Low Medium Very High High
Deer spawn chance Very High High Medium Low
Rabbit spawn chance Very High High Medium Low
Bear spawn chance Low Medium Very High High
Moose spawn chance Low Medium Very High High
Time to wildlife respawn Medium Medium Medium Medium
Reduce wildlife population over time None Low Medium High
Wolf spawn distance Medium Close Close Close
Predator grace period No Yes No No
Wildlife smell range Low Medium High High
Scent increase from Meat/Blood Medium Medium Medium Medium
Passive wildlife Yes No No No
Wildlife attacks during rest No Yes Yes Yes
Wolf fear Medium Medium Medium Medium
Timberwolf morale (v.1.64) High Medium Low Low
Wildlife detection range Medium Medium Medium Medium
Struggle bonus High Medium Low None
Struggle condition damage modifier None None None High
Struggle clothing damage modifier Low Low Low High
Struggle damage severity Low Medium High Very High

Choose Region

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 Mountain Town, 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 and Ash Canyon

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

Broken Railroad [intermediate] - connects to Forlorn Muskeg

Mountain Town [beginner] - Connects to Mystery Lake, Forlorn Muskeg, and Hushed River Valley

Hushed River Valley [advanced] - Connects to Mountain Town

Bleak Inlet [advanced] - Connects to Forlorn Muskeg and The Ravine

Ash Canyon [advanced] - Connects to Timberwolf Mountain


The choices are male or female, with the only differences being the player character's speaking voice, hands, 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. In harder difficulties, it may also be approaching nightfall or already dark, and, in some cases, bad weather may move in quickly.


  • Although survival mode is intended to be a permadeath experience, some players back up game saves periodically so that if they die, they can load the backed-up save and continue. This practice is called "save scumming"



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