30 Best Survival Open World Games of All Time

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There are many different open-world games out there, but many gamers seek ones that’ll be not just open, but challenging in the content the world has. Here are a few that fit that mold.

#30 Minecraft

Why is Minecraft at the bottom of this list? Because while there is a survival mode in this game, it’s not the reason that people play it. Not really. They prefer to harvest all matter of materials and then build things that come to their minds. Such as making recreations of things like castles or even the starship Enterprise. We try not to judge.

But if you were to go and try out the survival mode you would find a challenge. We’d also bet though that are a little bit you’d get out of it because there are better survival games out there.

#29 Rust

There are a few games on this list that have the theme of being dropped onto a random island and being forced to survive. Rust is one of them, and you’ll find it’s a very layered survival title.

In the game, you’ll indeed be naked as you arrive on the island. But make no mistake, you are not alone here. You’ll need to think fast and get resources and items to use to grow and survive. With other players and creatures all around you, you’ll have to fight them off to be the last one standing.

The title has been updated over 300 times throughout its life, so you’ll get to reap the benefits of that if you start playing now.

#28 Grounded

When you’re the average size of a human, things like bugs aren’t an immediate threat. However, in the world of Grounded, you’re shrunk to the size of an ant. As a result, everything is going to be a threat to you because you’re literally on their turf now.

Trapped in your backyard, you and your friends will have to team up to fend off the insect threat, build bases, and figure out what happened to you!

The world you’ll be in adapts to what you do. So be mindful of your actions, and see just what everything is like when you’re the size of a bug.

#27 SCUM

Welcome to the insane future of reality television! In SCUM, you’ll be a prisoner put on a private island owned by an entertainment company. The goal of the “game” is simple, you must go out and kill all the other prisoners/contestants to ensure your survival!

But remember, this is a reality show, so you’ll need to endear yourself to the fans and producers, that way you can get special treatment and perks that might tip the balance of power in your favor!

With a large island to play on, you’ll need to think smart about how you go about doing things. Such as how you move in the open, and how you use resources and survive in general.

#26 Project Zomboid

How long do you think you could reasonably survive against a zombie horde? If you think you can last, then check out Project Zomboid. The title puts you within two towns that have been overrun by zombies. You and your fellow survivors will have to go from house to house to not just get items, but set up defenses to fight off the hordes.

There will be no “rescue” for you should you get overwhelmed. Use whatever you have in the best possible ways to stave off death. Then, after you get your fill, go into the other modes of the game to see how well you can survive there too!

#25 V Rising

In V Rising, you’ll play as a vampire lord that has been asleep for centuries. Now, you have returned, and you seek to rebuild your kingdom and restore your power!

To do that, you must venture into the open world and seek out not just natural resources, but blood by which you’ll regain your strength. You can turn nearby humans into your loyal subjects, and use all sorts of magic to rebuild your castle to its former glory.

But be warned, you’ll have to fight off those who wish to put you back into the ground. So build your power and defenses and ensure that nothing stands a chance against your unholy might!

#24 DayZ

If you seek a true challenge in survival games, then DayZ might be one to look into. Here, you’ll be in the massive area known as Chernarus, which was hit by a virus and turned into a zombified wasteland.

Your goal is simple: survive for as long as you can! The reason for this goes beyond skill, but rather, when you die in this game, everything you have on you is lost.

Plus, you’ll have 59 other players at times to deal with. You can make alliances with them or kill them to ensure that none of them get to you first. The choice is yours. So jump in and see how long you can last.

#23 Vigor

With Vigor, you have a shoot-and-loot experience that awaits you. You’ll be set in a “post-War Norway” and survive the apocalypse that has come upon it. Naturally, how you do so is up to you.

You’ll need to scavenge for supplies and do your best to overcome the challenges from other players and nature itself. You can build a home to survive in, and ensure your safety, or just wander from spot to spot to try and take out any threats before they find you.

If the main mode isn’t to your liking, the game offers others that you can directly challenge other players in. So check out this title and see just how well you can survive in it.

#22 Outward

Set in the world of Aurai, Outward puts you on the path of exploration and adventure. All the while, asking you to survive out in the dangerous world you are in because there are dangers aplenty. You’ll have no special abilities or skills to help you to start, you must earn everything in this place.

Start small as you travel from spot to spot, making your mark on the land as you seek out its wonders.

You can play the game alone and just wander around at your leisure, or, you can play games in co-op mode and work with others to rebuild the world from the ground up!

There is much to do here, so go forth, and see what is out there!

#21 Days Gone

In the mind of Deacon St. John, life just isn’t worth living anymore. Yet, this former outlaw trudges on in a world gone mad, and you’ll have to guide him on his journey.

In this new world, groups try to survive through any means available. Even if that means being the scum of the Earth and taking it from other people. You’ll have to decide what kind of many you want Deacon to be. Will you have him try and save others and bring groups what they need to survive? Or will he become a renegade who plows through everything in his way just to feel something?

The world will change as you do, so be ready for that.

#20 STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl

In 1986, the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster happened and the world would never be the same. But in the world of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, you’ll see a slightly more fantastical version of the game.

Mainly because in their version of 2006, another explosion in the reactor happened, turning the Exclusion Zone into an even more dangerous place. To the extent that word of “artifacts” hidden throughout the zone started to spread. If these artifacts could be found, they could be sold or analyzed to learn the truth of what happened at Chornobyl.

You are one of the Stalkers. Journey into the zone and make your own story about why you’re there, what you’re looking for, and how you’ll survive in a place few dares to tread.

#19 Dying Light

Dying Light may not have been a perfect game, but it did get better over time, and the version that is out there now is indeed complete in all its content. You’ll be sent to a city that has been overrun with zombies on a secret mission from your superiors.

Once inside, you’ll go on missions to seek out the truth about what’s going on, all the while avoiding the zombies that are everywhere.

Parkour is one of the highlights of the game as you’ll be bounding up, over, and through obstacles to get away from zombies. You don’t even have to kill the zombies at times if you don’t want to! That’s the freedom the game offers.

#18 Conan Exiles

In the lands where Conan is known, survival is something all must do. After he cuts you down to save your life, you must now go on a journey to build yourself up into a proud warrior, sorcerer, or leader as you survive the brutal terrain.

You can play the game alone, or play with others online to find strength in numbers, and build up a community that might just be everlasting. Should you all survive, that is.

Build homes on the lands, explore dungeons filled with loot, face off against the beasts of the land, and show them all that you deserve to live.

#17 Green Hell

The Amazon Rainforest is widely considered one of the most inhospitable places for humans to be. What better place for a survival game to base itself in to test a player’s mettle?

In Green Hell, you’ll awaken to find yourself in the depths of the Amazon. You have no idea how you got there, why you are there, or what is going on, but the fact remains that you need to get out. This realistic survival simulator will put you to the test as you try and get out alive in realistic conditions.

All the while, you’ll try and piece together how you got there. But what if the truth is more horrifying than the place you are in?

#16 Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus is the culmination of the franchise in many ways. Because in previous titles, you were asked to just survive in a location that had been heavily devastated by war. Now, you are on a mission to try and find a new place to live for the survivors that remain.

You’ll be a Spartan Ranger, and take a locomotive across Russia in hopes that there is “new life” in the East that can be used to house the remaining people under your care.

Explore the lands you come across, scavenge anything you find so you can use it to craft items and weapons later, and defeat anything that might come across your path!

The people are counting on you, don’t let them down.

#15 Astroneer

Where we are right now as a society, one can only imagine what it is like to explore other worlds up close and then start to colonize them. In Astroneer, you’ll get to do that in a very fun and imaginative way.

That’s because here you’ll get seven different planets to explore, and you’ll get to use special gear to terraform them from the ground up. You can even go beneath the ground to terraform if you want!

The whole planet will be open to terraforming so you can build upon the planet the way you want. So go and see the various worlds and determine how you want to shape them. Then, you can start over from scratch and try out some new ideas!

#14 Subnautica

Most survival games tell you to survive on land, but in Subnautica, you’ll be trying to survive in waters you know nothing about.

Specifically, your craft crash lands on an alien world that has many oceans. From the moment you splash down, you’ll have to search for items and resources to survive. Find habitat modules so you can take a breath of air outside your suit, as well as items that’ll help you dive deeper into the waters of this planet.

Exploration is highly encouraged here, as you’ll see not only beautiful ecosystems but all sorts of alien life. Your journey to the depths awaits.

#13 Dying Light 2 Stay Human

We put the original on display before, but now it’s time for the sequel that came out this year in Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

Set many years after the original game, the sequel takes place in The City, and you are a mysterious person who is trying to get answers to the questions that plague your mind. But getting answers in this place doesn’t come easy, or cheap. Outside of dodging the zombie menace, you’ll have to deal with various factions and do missions on their behalf.

What you choose to do, and not do, in this game will affect everything around you. So be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

#12 Valheim

If you’re looking for a grand adventure with a certain amount of Norse flair, then Valheim is the game for you. In this title, you’ll be put into a realm of wonder, beauty, and danger. You can choose to venture across this land on your own, or, you can play with up to 9 other players, and then work together to make a homestead for your Viking family.

The lands of the game are teeming with resources, as well as monsters for you to fight. Craft mighty halls to dine in, make fierce weapons to slay enemies, and protect your kin, all so you can find new life in this new realm.

#11 Raft

Another unique title, Raft puts you on a raft and tells you to survive on it. Seems pretty basic, right? Except, you have little to nothing outside of your raft to survive with. You’ll have to get creative, look for pieces of trash in the ocean to expand your raft, use a hook to cash fish so you can eat, and so on.

Your journey is very much about expansion, as well as using the materials around you to do better. Plus, you can do the game in co-op with a friend! So you’ll get to see if you can survive together as you drift on the ocean.

#10 No Man’s Sky

It’s truly wonderful to see how far No Man’s Sky has come since its disastrous launch. It was very rough and boring when it first came out, but when you fast forward to now, it’s a game that deserves a look.

There’s a vast universe to explore in the title, and you can explore it in many ways. You can simply fly through space on your ship and see all that is out there, or you can go to the surface of each planet and see it up close!

Go on quests, find unique alien species, and see just what this universe has to offer. Hint: it’s a lot.

#9 The Forest

Welcome to The Forest, you likely won’t enjoy your stay.

Because after your craft crash lands in this place, you’ll find yourself alone, abandoned, and yet, there’s something very off about this play.

The day-night cycle of gameplay is what this title is all about. During the day, you’ll hunt for resources, build shelters, and look for food. Then, at night, the mutants of the area come out, and they will try and get you. Fight them off so you can make it to the next morning, then explore the areas around you so you can learn more about the history of the area.

#8 Subnautica: Below Zero

The sequel to the beloved survival game, Subnautica: Below Zero puts you back on the original title’s planet, but with a twist or two this time around.

In the sequel, you’re going to be in the frozen ocean portion of the planet. You’ll need to not only survive in the frigid temperatures by making a shelter but explore this new section of the world to learn the truth of those that were here before.

Just like before, diving deeper and deeper into the waters will be your biggest goal. But be cautious, there are new and familiar lifeforms in these waters, and not all of them will be friendly.

#7 7 Days to Die

Points for perfect placement aside, 7 Days To Die is a massive survival game millions of gamers have played since it arrived.

You’ll be placed in a large area and given complete freedom on what to do. You can choose to go in alone and try to find everything on your own, or you can try to play with friends or others you meet on the survive. Between the massive wilderness areas and the abandoned cities to explore, you’ll have a lot of ground to cover.

Just remember, not everything you come across will be human, or even alive.

#6 Don’t Starve Together

Don’t Starve Together is the multiplayer version of the beloved survival franchise. Whether you play in a “Private Game” with friends or test your luck with those you meet online, the goal will still be the same: survive.

You’ll be put in a mysterious land full of odd creatures and mysteries to unravel. You’ll need to work together as a group to find the resources to stay warm, stay fed, stay safe, and make it through the perils that lie ahead.

Will you be able to survive together? Or, will you slowly get picked off one by one? You’ll find out once you dive in!

#5 The Long Dark

Hailed as one of the best survival games ever, The Long Dark puts you against monster nature and dares you to survive against her.

In the main mode, there is no story, just you versus nature. You’ll need to keep warm, stay fed and hydrated, fight off threats, and do whatever it takes to live. There are no save files here for you to lean on. You’ll live as long as you do in your playthrough. Then, when you do die? You start all over again.

There is a story mode for those who want it, and you’ll find out more about the world of the game when you play it.

#4 Terraria

Terraria is a special kind of survival game due to how it presents the world around you. First, it’s a procedurally generated world. That means every time you start a new game, the world will be entirely different. This gives gamers all sorts of options on how to handle each new playthrough.

Case in point, you can go the survival route in the title, or, you can do all sorts of other things. Would you like to build a nice town on the spot you landed at? You can do that. Would you like to go and dig deep into the ground to see what’s there? You can do that too!

It’s your world to adventure in, so go do what you want.

#3 ARK: Survival Evolved

Easily one of the toughest survival games on this list is ARK: Survival Evolved. You’ll be dropped onto an island with literally nothing, not even clothes, and will have to fend for yourself to survive. That includes getting materials to craft items, staying warm, getting food, and so on.

The problem here is that you won’t be alone on the island. You’ll have to deal with other players, animals that live on the island, and more. The more you grow, the more advanced technology you’ll be able to access. Use it to fight off threats, tame dinosaurs, and be the last survivor!

#2 State of Decay 2

While many gamers wait for the third title in this franchise to come out, State of Decay 2 is still available for you to play, enjoy, and survive in. In this title, you’ll have to lead a group of survivors during a zombie apocalypse.

You’ll guide them on how to survive by building up a community and ensuring that it will last. Make shelter, find and harvest food, get key materials to build vital items, and so on.

Then, you’ll need to choose who you send out to get more resources or fight off zombies. Be careful, if one of your community dies, they’re dead forever.

#1 Fallout 4

When you talk about the modern-era Fallout titles, you’re not just addressing some of the best open-world games out there, or even just the best RPG experiences out there, you’re talking about some of the most high-quality video games ever made. Yes, Fallout 76 doesn’t count here.

With Fallout 4, Bethesda expanded its reach even more with its game design. They tried to make a place where gamers could thrive, build, have fun, and yes, fight for their lives.

You’ll journey across the wasteland, go on various quests, build your weapons and homes, and try to find your lost child. Just remember, war never changes.

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