After what felt like forever, Survivor is almost back, much to the delight of fans all over the world. Survivor’s return, however, comes with notable changes that may or may not sit well with fans: dropping the titles in favor of just the season number and reducing the game to just 26 days.
We asked some Survivor fans from a couple of local fan groups (Survivor Superfans – Philippines & Official Pinoy Survivor Fans) if they’re okay with a 26-day game setup and found that out of 216 responses, 59.2% felt the shortened days won’t be a problem, while 20.4% said they prefer the usual 39 days. The remaining 20.4% don’t really mind.
Then a thought occurred to me: how would former players react to these changes? So I reached out to some of our favorite Survivor players to find out what they think about these literal game-changers.
How do you feel about reducing the number of days to just 26? How do you think this will impact one’s gameplay?
Booooooooooo! Less Survivor = bad. I mean, from a COVID-production standpoint, I can understand the reasoning behind cutting the game a bit—players and crew are already away from home for so long, and the mandatory pre-game COVID quarantining makes that even longer. And they do have to fit two whole seasons in before anything else falls apart. So the pragmatist in me can rationalize the move.
As a player, though? I hate it. I love the game so freaking much, so if I were a contestant on a shortened season, I’d feel like I had been cast on Survivor-Lite. I do hope they make the living conditions harsher and the rewards more limited (or non-existent?) to compensate for the lack of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that comes toward the end of the full game.
Ultimately, though, I doubt casual viewers will be able to tell the difference between a 26-day season and a 39-day one, since clouded judgment brought on by late-game fatigue hasn’t been a major on-air storyline lately. Of course, this isn’t exactly a website for casual viewers, is it? We’re not here to coddle the fancies of those “can’t-even-list-the-seasons-in-order” amateurs.
In relation to the show dropping the subtitles for the new season, what would you “drop” from your gameplay if ever you get the chance to play again?
From my gameplay personally? Wouldn’t hate dropping the “losing” part. I’d also drop my mistake of underestimating other players prioritizing just getting through the next Tribal Council over gambling on a risky scheme, like when I lost Amy and Gary as I tried to engineer a 3-2-1 split to oust Bobby Jon.
From the game itself, obviously. the imbalanced tribe swap did me no favors, but that’s been a fair part of the game since Marquesas. Yes, I know Africa had the first tribe swap, but my point is actually about the “fair” part—I would drop completely new, out-of-nowhere mid-game twists that players couldn’t possibly have planned for. There’s fun in unpredictability for viewers, but for players, it’s frustrating to navigate a game in which the rules change suddenly, as with the tribe swap in Africa, the Outcasts in Pearl Islands, or the idol nullifier in David vs. Goliath.
Chess would be stupid if the pieces randomly switched positions after a dozen moves without warning, right? Announce the rules at the outset so everyone knows what they’re dealing with, and then twist away with all those vote steals and legacy advantages and whatnot. (I mean, I hate all that, too, but if you know it’s part of the game. Fine, whatever.)
How have you been since the last time you appeared on the show?
I played a whopping 16 years ago, so I’ve been up to a whole Probst’s-ideal-contestant’s-lifetime’s worth of stuff. I live in New York City and remain very close with Survivor friends from a wide range of seasons. I travel a ton, prep students for college entrance exams, and tweet about Survivor. Life is good! Can’t wait for the show to return in the fall!