Sharpen your axe, fill your canteen, and make sure you pack some emergency rations: 2024 is shaping up to be an excellent year for survival games. Not only are there a lot of them coming in the near future, they all look substantially different from one another.
Do you want to explore a fantasy realm shrouded by a life-sapping mist, hunt for artifacts in an irradiated exclusion zone, or fight creatures that have been twisted by an alien virus? If mobile bases are your thing, how about driving a station wagon through a forest filled with deadly anomalies or piloting a rolling base over an alien planet while surrounded by duplicates of yourself? Pick your poison, because 2024 has the survival game you’re looking for.
That’s great because 2023 wasn’t a particularly stellar year for the survival genre. There were some big hits like Sons of the Forest and Lego Fortnite, and at least one major disaster: The Day Before. Not to mention a bunch of delays pushed a half-dozen big survival games from last year into this year.
But just like in a survival game, let’s keep our eyes on the horizon. Here are the survival games in 2024 I’m most excited about.
Developer: 11 bit studios
Release date: TBA 2024
In addition to city builder Frostpunk 2, 11 bit studios has another survival game launching this year and it looks downright fascinating. In The Alters you’re Jan, the lone survivor of a crash on an alien planet, and you must summon duplicates of yourself if you want to survive. But these aren’t mere clones—each version of Jan has different traits and backgrounds, suggesting a multiverse or possibly even time travel. Did I mention Jan’s base is a giant wheel that rolls across the planet trying to avoid the sun’s radiation? I can’t wait to learn more about this game.
Developer: Ironwood Studios
Release date: Feb 22, 2024
I got access to a demo with a few story missions that only took about three hours to complete, but I still wound up playing Pacific Drive for over 12 hours. Trapped in a nightmarish exclusion zone filled with dangerous environmental and mechanical anomalies, hunt for resources and soup up your rusty old station wagon with sci-fi gizmos. The demo had great driving, excellent tinkering, and plenty of scares and mysteries. I’m eager for the full game in February.
Developer: Deep Field Games
Release date: TBA 2024
You’ve been through Black Mesa as hero Gordon Freeman, but what about the rest of those science nerds you left behind? Abiotic Factor is survival crafting game for 1-6 players set in a massive science facility overrun by aliens, monsters, and bloodthirsty soldiers. Your job: do enough science to survive. It looks hilarious and brilliant.
Developer: Keen Games
Release date: January 24, 2024 (early access)
With a flexible voxel-based building system, an expansive and mysterious world, and support for up to 16 players in co-op, Enshrouded looks like it could scratch the same itch as Valheim. It also goes pretty light on some traditional survival systems: cooking food is to provide you with buffs, but you won’t starve if you don’t eat. The demo was the most-played at Steam Next Fest last year, so I won’t be surprised if Enshrouded is the first big hit of 2024.
Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl
Developer: GSC Game World
Release date: Q1 2024
It’s been a long wait and there have been a number of delays, but we may finally be getting close to playing Stalker 2, for real this time. From what we’ve seen so far the world looks bleak and gorgeous in the Unreal Engine, and there are plenty of familiar friends returning (like those hideous blooduckers). I can’t wait to return to the exclusion zone for more gripping, punishing first-person survival.
Developer: Starry Studio
Release date: Q3 2024
The Earth has been transformed by an apocalyptic event, and now people, plants, and animals are all twisted and mutated by some sort of alien entity. Explore the freakish world, build bases, and fight monsters—some of them look extraordinarily big—in survival action game Once Human, which looks like Rust meets Stalker with a bit of The Division thrown in for good measure.
Developer: Inflexion Games
Release date: February 22, 2024
Despite several delays, gaslamp fantasy Nightingale continues to look strange and promising. Trapped in a fae realm you’ll need to craft gear, build bases, deal with fantastic creatures (not always violently) and travel to other dimensions to collect rare resources. Since it’s Victorian times you won’t be surviving in dirty leather rags like some other survival games: your wardrobe and hats are on point in Nightingale.
Also coming in 2024 & beyond
There are more promising survival games coming out this year, and a few we don’t yet know the dates for.