Hardcore Mode offers the ultimate challenge to the most veteran Everspace players. In this mode, pilot perks are set to a fixed layout and ship perks are only upgradable at the end of each sector with credits earned. The player must also select a handicap that will impair their gameplay during the next upcoming sector only. No progress is saved between Hardcore runs and all credits should be used during the run itself. All blueprints are unlocked in Hardcore except for Throng Beacon and Tareen Beacon.
The UI changes to a blood-red tinge while in Hardcore Mode as a reminder of its difficulty.
Beating Hardcore for the first time permanently unlocks the Retro handicap as a toggleable option for easy/normal/hard and hardcore runs.
The final sector is similar to an Ancient warp gate location, but without the scanner impairment. It also has several large asteroids with an extremely high Outlaw presence and structures. The objective to win is to destroy four shield generators that are blocking the entrances to the warp gate and to find and free an Ancient Warden in a cage. Once freed, the player needs to kill it and activate/go into the warp gate to win and complete the run.
Starting Pilot Perks
While pilot perks are not upgradable in a hardcore run, there are some that are upgraded already:
|Sector Scanner||4 / 4|
|Crafting Costs||4 / 4|
|Mining Yield||4 / 4|
|Rare Loot Chance||4 / 4|
|Nanobot Efficiency||10 / 10|
|Hitpoint Repair Rate||12 / 12|
|Trading||3 / 5|
There are a total of 23 available handicaps in Hardcore Mode.
Each time the player completes a sector they are presented with two randomized handicaps and must choose a handicap for the next sector. Only one handicap is active at any given time; thus choosing a new handicap will replace the previous. Any effect from a handicap will be removed when it is replaced, including effects that are marked as "permanent".
|Sectors||Name||In-Game Description||Additional Notes|
|1-5||Stock Cooler||Two random components are permanently overheated.|
|1-5||Retro||They don't make 'em like they used to.||Adds a pixelated effect to the screen with unique 8-bit music.|
|1-6||Fair Game||Okkar forces jump in after about 3 minutes.|
|1-6||We Break for Nobody||Opening the equipment menu does not pause the game.|
|1-6||Grounded||Every location has a jump suppressor.|
|1-6||Primary School||Can't fire secondary weapons.|
|1-6||No readings||Hull and shield bars of enemies are not visible.|
|1-6||Aggravated Battery||Energy core recharge rate is lowered by 40%.|
|1-6||Leaf on the Wind||Reduced inertia dampening.|
|1-6||Lazy Bots||Nanobots can only be used for component damage repairs and crafting.||Nano Injectors are still craftable.|
|1-6||Handle with Care||Increased component damage chance.|
|1-6||Public Enemy||G&B are hostile.|
|1-6||Unfinished Business||Jumping prohibited when enemies are detected within 2km range.|
|1-6||Sprung a Leak||Fuel leaks from the fuel tank over time.|
|1-6||Anti Consumerism||Consumables can't be used.|
|1-6||Hold Still||Energy core only recharges when standing still.|
|1-6||Clueless||Threat levels, traders, service stations and natural hazards won't show on the map.|
|1-6||Hidden Treasure||Containers don't have markers on the HUD.|
|3-5||Denial of Service||No service stations or traders.|
|3-6||All Thumbs||Crafting is disabled.|
|3-6||Bad Forecast||Natural hazard in every location.|
|3-6||Unnatural Selection||During every jump a random consumable or secondary weapon slot is selected and emptied if not already empty.|
|3-6||Crossfire||Two snipers will be spawned in every location.|
Hardcore is an extreme challenge, as it limits Perks and introduces the new handicap mechanic. Be comfortable with hard difficulty before attempting this mode.
- No Ancient Structures will be generated in the run (excluding the one in Sector 7).
- No Subroutines or Glyphs can be selected.
- When unlocking new perks, definitely focus on energy and speed perks. New equipment slots and a few of the ship-specific perks are also very useful.
- To save time, you can also use Light Missiles or either of the Flak Cannons to instantly or quickly mine resource deposits.
- Unspent credits will be carried over into the next sector, so don't worry about spending all of them.
- Retro is more of a fun handicap rather than a real detriment, but it does significantly decrease visibility. Beating Hardcore will unlock it as a permanent option if you like the effects and music.
- Handle With Care (increased component damage chance) will have no effect if you manage to get the Component Casings upgrade from a G&B factory tuning station.
- We Break for Nobody (no pause in equipment menu): the comparison screen when looking at equipment that's still in space will still be paused.