Welcome back!

Sign in or create an account to enjoy GINX perks, enter competitions and access exclusive features.

GINX TV > Guides & Tutorial > Skyrim

Skyrim AE Survival Mode guide - Tips, restrictions, how to enable and disable

Survival Mode is one of the new additions that will make playing Skyrim Anniversary Edition a little more challenging.
Skyrim AE Survival Mode guide - Tips, restrictions, how to enable and disable

Survival Mode was introduced back in 2017 as a downloadable mod for Skyrim Special Edition. With the release of Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Survival Mode is now officially part of the game, changing many facets by challenging your physical needs through a variety of restrictions and limitations.

While the purpose of this feature is to make the vanilla game enjoyable yet balanced, the added challenges will make your time on the continent quite difficult. This guide will explain what players need to know about Survival Mode in Skyrim, its restrictions, how to enable and disable, and more.

What is Survival Mode in Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

Veteran Skyrim (and RPG) players who are in the pursuit of a gruelling challenge on the continent of Skyrim, this new feature increases the game’s difficulty through a few set parameters.

These parameters are the need to eat, sleep and keep warm in order to survive Skyrim.

Once enabled, these parameters will need to meet if you wish to evade sickness and in the worst-case scenario, death. As long as you remain well-fed, well-rested, happy and kept warm, Survival Mode shouldn’t be bothersome for players.

Unfortunately, there are some restrictions when enabling Survival Mode. These restrictions won’t be easy to fulfil as they prevent you from using various gameplay mechanics.

skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode skyrim travel
Players won't be able to make use of Fast Travel if Survival Mode is enabled. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)
  • Fast Travel: players will not have access to the Fast Travel mechanic so those fishing trips to Whiterun will have to be done on foot.
  • Inventory: the weight of all items you will carry will be limited in Survival Mode. As such, you will be forced to only carry the bare essentials; everything else can be sold or destroyed for Gold, materials and other resources.
  • Levelling Up: in the vanilla version of Skyrim, levelling up occurs all too frequently. In Survival Mode, levelling up only occurs after players have rested so bid farewell to those one-hour naps.
  • Stamina Reduction: players can deplete their Stamina bar if they’re hungry, cold or exhausted. This is indicated when the bar is darkened as a result.
  • Warm/Cold meters: the Warm/Cold meter on their HUD can provide vital information if your character is hot or cold. Look for the Snowflake or Sun symbol on the meter if you're getting too hot or too cold.
  • Health: players won’t be able to recover their health back by standing around while in Survival Mode. To replenish your Health bar, players will have to eat, sleep or make use of a health/regeneration potion to gain some HP before setting out into the world or taking on enemy threats.

How to enable and disable Survival Mode in Skyrim Anniversary Edition?

To enable or disable the Survival Mode feature, players will need to toggle this in the game’s Settings menu. Head to Settings, then Gameplay and turn Survival Mode on or off.

skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode skyrim tutorial
Complete the game's tutorial to access the Survival Mode feature. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)

If you're unable to locate this setting, there is a chance you have started a new game save. To resolve this issue, you will need to complete the opening tutorial for Skyrim before having access to Survival Mode.

Once the opening tutorial is completed, Survival Mode will be unlocked through an in-game notification. However, the notification doesn't go into much detail about Survival Mode as it suggests learning more about the feature in the Help tab.

skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode survival mode enable survival mode disable
If you seek a challenge in Skyrim, enable Survival Mode to begin your adventures. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)

Nevertheless, it will ask you to enable the feature if you wish to include additional challenges in your gameplay. If not, proceed to have the feature disabled by selecting 'No".

Players can also enable Survival Mode on any game save data imported to the Anniversary Edition as well as previous game saves made.

Tips on mastering Survival Mode in Skyrim Anniversary Edition

Before enabling Survival Mode, there are a few handy things to know. These can make the experience more bearable yet manageable during your time in Skyrim.

skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode skyrim magic active effects
The Active Effects tab can provide players with plenty of information on their character. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)
  • Utilise the Active Effects tab in the Magic menu to see what effects are affecting players at that given time.
  • If you need to cross an ice-cold river or take a plunge in one, don’t do so when your body is cold. Players can lose Stamina, increase their Warm/Cold meter or catch an illness so it's best to warm up the body before entering cold waters.
skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode skyrim inventory warm soup
Enjoy a warm bowl of soup to fend off the cold weather and fill up your stomach. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)
  • Warm soup is not only a delicious and nutritious meal but it can warm the body in case you find yourself in the middle of a frozen landscape. If you don’t have soup in your inventory, the torch can also warm the body but it won’t fill up your stomach.
  • Always, without fail, cook your food. Never eat food raw unless you want food poisoning.
  • If you need to replenish your inventory with food but the shopkeepers are miles away, make use of fishing to have quick access to food. If you know where to find the best fishing spots, players can catch their next meal with ease.
skyrim anniversary edition skyrim anniversary edition survival mode fishing
Fishing is a great way to pass time and hunt for food. (Picture: Bethesda Softworks)
  • Players can survive the night in the forest, have a campfire for cooking and a place to rest by crafting camping gear. This will make your journey less frustrating if you’re constantly having to look for an inn or an empty bed to rest your bones.
  • Your body temperature, in particular how cold you are, can affect your stamina as well as how you wield your weapons in Skyrim
  • Try and keep your journeys as short as possible as travelling long distances can make players hungry and exhausted. Furthermore, you can risk depleting your stamina bar which could lead to death and losing your progress as a result.

Survival Mode will be unrelenting at first for most players, however, it can bring newfound appreciation for Skyrim and a new way of experiencing the game if you’re up for the challenge.


Don’t forget to check out our dedicated Skyrim section for the latest news, updates, guides, leaks and more.

Featured image courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.