As part of its all-new Survival Mode, Skyrim players will have to cook and eat to stay alive.
skyrim video game new survival mode
Credit: Courtesy of Bethesda Game Studios

The popular action role-playing game Skyrim is adding an intense new hunger feature to gameplay.

Developed by Bethesda Game Studios, the single-player game created six years ago centers around stopping a dragon prophesied to destroy the world. After announcing and releasing a remastered special edition of the game last year, Skyrim is getting even more in-game additions. Available to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players as early as next month, the all-new Survival Mode can be played at various difficulty levels, and will feature elements that turn gameplay into a fight for your virtual life.

Among those various new challenges are increased damage from afflictions, disease, cold, fatigue, and hunger. When it comes to challenges like hunger, however, it's about more than just eating. As you make your way through the game, you'll naturally become more hungry which will, in turn, decrease your stamina. If you eat well enough you'll earn a well-fed bonus, but eating can also be dangerous to your health.

Players will have the option to cook their food or eat it uncooked, and the former will restore more health and increase your warmth. It's a good way to stave off increases in cold, which can lower your overall available health. If you choose to eat your food uncooked, you'll still get health but run the risk of getting food poisoning, "which can prevent you from receiving health benefits from food until the effect wears off," according to Bethesda.

Beyond cold, hunger works in conjunction with other Survival Mode features. That includes the wholesale disabling of Fast Travel, making it important for you to eat to keep your speed up. There is also the Werewolves and Vampires feature that now allows characters transformed into a werewolf or vampire lord to restore their hunger by feeding on their victims.

This is the first time Skyrim has officially included these gameplay elements, but fans had developed mods—or a player's custom created levels, objects, or characters, with an existing game—for challenges like hunger years ago.

Survival Mode is currently available for beta testing on Steam as part of Skyrim Creation Club—a program that offers new, official, Skyrim Special Edition content and allows "creators," or developers, artists and game modders to develop their own game content. PC and console game users can experience Skyrim's new "unrelenting cold and harsh wilderness" free for a week when it goes live on their platform.