Final Death Mode
You died!Harder Than Hard isn't hard enough for some people when Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. Choose Final Death Mode as a difficulty level and that's no longer a problem. When activated, Game Over means just that—your game is over for good. No lives, no continues, nada. If you want to play again, you have to start from the very beginning. Be grateful it's optional. Final Death Mode usually (but not always) comes with protection against Save Scumming. If nothing else, there's the fact that it defeats the purpose of the option in the first place. Sometimes, players play a Self-Imposed Challenge if they only have one life; that's a No Death Run. This may also be known under the terms "Hardcore Mode" or "Ironman". Often considered a trait of Nintendo Hard. Sub-Trope of Check Point Starvation. For specific conditions that can cause Final Death, even if you didn't sign up for it, see Deletion As Punishment. Related to Final Death, which is when non-Player Characters only have one life.
You cannot respawn in hardcore mode!
You cannot respawn in hardcore mode!
—Minecraft, after dying in Hardcore mode
- Darksiders II has Nightmare mode that you can unlock by beating the game at hard. It's basically this trope.
- Batman: Arkham Origins has "I Am The Night" mode, which also functions as a New Game+ mode.
- In GRID there is the Pro Mode which turns off the flashback (A Mental Time Travel feature) and the ability of being able to restart single races, essentially requiring you to win every tournament (3 to 5 races) in one shot. Considering that you will often have to start from the back in higher difficulties and the AI will crash you out every now and then makes this nearly Unwinnable.
- The "Deaths" option in the San Francisco Rush games applies this to both the player and the AI drivers. Subverted in the Circuit modes, where dying will end the current round, but still allow you to move onto the next.
- In 2014, RuneScape released two new variants of its standard game as complete modes: Ironman, and Hardcore Ironman. The former prevents you from trading with other players, picking up any of their loot or dropped items, and essentially means that the player is on their own - pretty much turning the game into a single player game. Certain minigames that require teamwork are disabled, and several abilities have their group benefits removed. HC Ironman takes this Up to Eleven by only giving you one life; if you die, you cannot respawn; except with certain consumable items, of which you can only get 2 of (three lives maximum).
- The version of rules was originally used in a challenge for Old School (OSRS) players who wanted to give themselves a handicap, and would frequently post progress on blogs or in videos.
- In I Wanna Be the Guy, "Impossible" difficulty removes all Save Points (except, due to a tiny glitch, one) from a game where the protagonist is a One-Hit-Point Wonder with Fake Difficulty and Everything Trying to Kill You.
- Halo 3 and later allows players to activate the "Iron" skull, which can have this effect in solo campaign, or when the entire party dies in co-op campaign.
- The Super Mario World hack Touhou Mario has this for the whole game (as the only option). Good luck beating it without save states and rewinds!
- The Classic remake of Prince of Persia has Survival mode, where you must play through the whole game in one sitting without dying.
- YOLO difficulty in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures means there are no extra lives and no life-replenishing beer, and you only have 1 life and no continues. You die once and you're done.
- This is the default setting of most roguelikes in general. If your character dies, starting over with a new character is your only option if you're not Save Scumming.
- Tales of Maj'Eyal gives out lots of extra lives during level ups at lower difficulty levels, but at its two highest levels (Roguelike and Insane) death is final.
- Hardcore Mode in the Diablo series allows only one life to your character — if you die, your character needs to be deleted.
- Path of Exile has the Hardcore leagues, where dying once bars that character from entering that league ever again. They can still continue playing in the Standard league, though.
- Pokémon has the near-universally-recognized Nuzlocke Challenge, which forces the player to release any pokémon who faints.
- The Witcher 2 Assassins Of Kings has this through its Insane Difficulty. In this difficulty, Geralt only has one life; if he gets killed, all of your save files are rendered inaccesible and you have to start the entire game over again.
- Pillars of Eternity has the Trial of Iron, which imposes a one saved game limit and even that save is deleted permanently if the Watcher dies.
- Steel Battalion has this happen if you forget to eject when your mech blows up.
- Like other installments in the Dead Space franchise, clearing Dead Space 3 will unlock Hardcore Mode. Unlike the previous renditions of Hardcore mode, which limited you to 3 saves but allowed you to load them as much as you like, if Issac Clarke gets brutally butchered by a Necromorph or a Unitologist, your entire file will be reset, forcing you to restart all over again. The only consolation is that the save limit has been lifted, allowing you to save as often as you like.
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a Final Death DLC called Justine. Not only is the player character limited to one life, saves are not allowed at anytime and, if the player character gets killed, the game will quit and you will be sent back to your desktop. Talk about a good reason not to die...
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown has this as an option called "Ironman". The developers realized that some people may want to combine the no-save-scumming rules with lower difficulty settings, though, so you can turn Ironman mode on with any of the game's 4 difficulty levels (Easy, Normal, Classic, and Impossible). In interviews, the developers have said that Ironman is the way they expect the game to be played: they intended the game to have consequences for choices made, which they feel is subverted by save-scumming.
- Inverted by Fire Emblem Awakening: as with the rest of the series, Final Death is considered the standard, Casual Mode (allies whose HP goes to 0 come back after a chapter is over) is something you specifically turn on.
- Heavily influenced by the above mentioned XCOM Massive Chalice has an Ironman mode that saves after every turn and player action on the tactical layer. Forcing the player to accept the consequences for their actions. Particularly harsh with the random events whose outcomes are based on percentage chances and therefore out of the hands of the player. It's an optional tick box which means you can apply it to any difficulty setting.
- Max Payne 3 has New York Minute Hardcore, where in addition to the normal New York Minute mission timer, you have just one life to play through the whole game with.
- It didn't happen in the actual release, but Hideo Kojima reportedly wanted this to be the case if you died in Metal Gear Solid. In fact, he went one further—his original idea was that if you died in the game the disc would no longer work.
- Minecraft has a Hardcore Mode which freezes the difficulty level of a world to Hard and put evil expressions onto the Life Meter. Once the player dies, the world has to be deleted, or in multiplayer they're banned from the server.
- Terraria has a difficulty system that increases the penalty for death the higher up you go. In softcore, you drop half your money. In mediumcore, you drop items. In hardcore, you die permanently, meaning if you had any items on you at the time, they're gone for good unless you're playing multiplayer or you had some stuff stashed in a chest.
- X3: Terran Conflict and its Expansion Pack have an optional hardcore mode so hardcore, you have to play the single-player game while connected to the internet via your Steam account in order to make sure you don't try to cheat by doing something like "loading a save". There's a reason it's called "Dead-Is-Dead" mode.
- Escape Velocity Nova has a "Strict Play" option:
If you check this box, when you're dead, you're dead. No reincarnation allowed.