The Survivalists aims to ‘remove the grindy elements’ from survival games

Team17’s upcoming sandbox survival game The Survivalists is trying to “remove the grindy elements” typical of the genre through its use of monkeys — and that’s not the only way it will be bucking trends when it launches later this week.

The Survivalists is a brand-new game from the team who brought players The Escapists, a game that encourages players to explore and experiment. While The Escapists is all about breaking out of prison in new and creative ways, this new title revealed during a Nintendo Indie Direct will instead have players trying to survive on a deserted island. This is a tale that has been told many times before, but Team17 is making efforts to fix the worst downsides of the survival sandbox genre.

The Survivalists will have plenty of post-launch content — and an ending

The Survivalists raft

A central way that The Survivalists is combating grind is with monkeys. Players can train monkeys to perform mundane tasks, sparing them the grind of having to gather up resources on their new desert island home.

“We always wanted the monkeys to be central to the game but at the same time we’ve left just how useful they can be for players to discover,” Team17’s Gavin Hardwood explained in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. “Monkeys can be very powerful and versatile once you start to play with them more.”

Team17’s newest title will do more than reduce the grind of a survival game — it will also have an ending. Many (if not most) games in the survival sandbox genre don’t truly have a way to “beat” the game; the underwater survival sandbox Subnautica is one of a handful of exceptions to this rule. The Survivalists will let players beat the game, although one Team17 developer hopes that they’ll stick around for a while.

“There is an ending to the game… but why would you ever want to leave such an awesome tropical island?” Team17’s Benjamin Ellis said on Reddit. “We are hoping that players will want to spend a long time building a new home there!”

This is surely welcome news for players who are tired of grindy survival sandbox games that have no end in sight. It’s not all good news, however — this new game won’t have split-screen cooperative multiplayer, nor will it have Cross-Play on launch.

Despite these downsides, Team17’s The Survivalists is shaping up to be an interesting survival sandbox experience that looks like it will innovate on the genre. You can play a demo of the game on Steam right now; otherwise, you’ll be able to jump into this new adventure on PC and consoles on October 9, 2020; an Apple Arcade launch will follow at a later date.