With Elden Ring over three months removed from its February launch, players are now looking for more challenging ways to experience the massive FromSoftware game. Enter a mod that introduces hunger and thirst mechanics, a whole host of region-specific diseases, and nights so dark that you need a torch to see more than a few feet ahead of you.
Earlier this week, prolific Dark Souls modder Scott “Grimrukh” Mooney released his Elden Ring survival mode mod, which he describes as a “charity commission” for this year’s instalment of an annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital donation drive organised by Twitch personality LobosJr (feel free to contribute here if you’re so inclined).
“This is the fourth mod I’ve made for LobosJr’s [annual St. Jude charity event],” Mooney told Kotaku via email. “It’s also the first Elden Ring mod I’ve ever made (in fact, the first mod for a game other than Dark Souls). This year, I asked folks on Twitter directly what sort of Elden Ring mod I should create for Lobos, and the man himself suggested [a] survival mode.”
Much of what Lobos initially proposed made it into Mooney’s mod. Nighttime is as dark as one would imagine in a world bereft of electricity, even with the bright shining Erdtree constantly looming over the horizon. Hunger and thirst meters necessitate the crafting of new food and drink items to stave off health and mana reductions. Extreme, fluctuating temperatures impart negative status effects. Wounds breed more than 20 different diseases whose cures must also be crafted.
Lobos got the first crack at the Elden Ring mod Monday afternoon before it was released to the public that evening. The popular Dark Souls streamer spent seven and a half hours exploring the survival mode’s dangers and walked away impressed, specifically praising the new weapon tree system he helped Mooney design. Rather than buying weapons or finding them in the wild, the survival mode forces players to (again) craft their own via a tiered upgrade system.
“[T]he huge, brand new, complex weapon upgrade tree is probably the component that took the most effort, and I hope it pays off for folks who enjoy that type of system,” Mooney said before giving credit to the other devs — JanZielasko, Thens_DeS, and king_bore_haha — who helped him pull survival mode together. “You might say I’m most proud of the endlessly generous and collaborative spirit of the FromSoft modding community.”
As for what the future holds for the Elden Ring survival mode mod (apart from obvious stuff like bug fixes, of course), Mooney already has a few ideas. High on the list is a mechanic wherein armour can mitigate or exacerbate the influence of the mod’s extreme temperatures, kind of like Breath of the Wild. For now, Mooney is content to let players use cooling and warming tonics to achieve the same effect. There’s obviously a lot happening under the hood already.
Be sure to head on over to the project’s official NexusMods page to see what Mooney and his team cooked up for yourself. The only requirement is that you need to be playing on PC, naturally. And don’t worry: If you don’t like any of the new survival mode mechanics, the mod lets you pick and choose which systems are active at any time.