When Below released for PC in 2018, if the players died, it would result in permanent death. The avatar would be placed back at the beachfront starting point, and most progress and all belongings would be lost.
Like other titles with a permadeath feature, particularly DayZ, the consequences of dying created a certain not-unwelcome feeling of dread. However, it did not play well for many gamers who found the game too challenging, partly due to one-hit death traps, among other things. Backtracking the procedurally-generated world over and over again became annoying for some.
“Explore mode is our way of answering everyone who played Below at launch and found the challenge a bit too steep,” said Creative Director Kris Piotrowski. “It was clear that many players were intrigued by the game’s haunting underworld and rich atmosphere, but its difficulty made the game inaccessible to some.”
For the PS4 port, Capybara has decided to add an “Explore Mode” that is more forgiving. The new difficulty eliminates many of the most challenging aspects of the game, such as the thirst meter and the aforementioned one-hit death traps. Additionally, when players encounter bonfires, it will create a checkpoint so that progress is not lost if they still manage to die.
The announcement did not nail down a specific date of release, just saying it’s coming in the spring. Of course, the new mode will not be exclusive to the PS4 version. Xbox and Steam will be getting Explore as well.
“We hope to see new players get into Below, and for seasoned players to revisit The Isle and enjoy the game in a whole new way,” Piotrowski said.