This week Survivor 41 players reached the merge phase of the game. Notice I didn’t say “they merged.” Because technically they didn’t. We all new this season was going to be a bit different, but did any of us expect a twist like this?
Jeff Probst let Entertainment Weekly in on some of the details to this twist, and teases that we haven’t seen the last twist this season.
“From a broad perspective, all of the ideas for this season came during a crazy two-week period where we just totally reimagined the game,” Probst tells EW. “One of the big initial thoughts was that we wanted players to have to work harder around camp. That led to no food, loss of flint, smaller tribes, and only a few reward challenges. As this big idea took shape, we realized that the merge had always been a freebie in the sense that if you lasted long enough, you made the merge, and that meant you received a huge feast. So we dug in and decided to reframe the merge so that instead of “making the merge” you merely reach the “merge phase” of the game. Once you reach this phase, you earn the chance to compete to “make the merge.” That was the big idea.”
Probst explains that he’s aware not everyone will like the twists this season, but suggests not wasting energy on hating them.
“For future players, I can’t scream this loudly enough… the game is a monster,” Probst says. “This isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a metaphor. You cannot waste time being frustrated because you don’t like a twist. It’s wasted and misplaced energy. You must continue to assess and adapt to everything that happens in the game. From changing alliances to bad weather to lack of food and historic twists. Every minute of every day. If you don’t, the monster will devour you.”
And is this merge twist going to be the new normal?
“Will we do this exact thing or something like it again?” Probst says. “Let me say it again… the game is a monster and it’s only getting hungrier.”
Whether or not we will see this twist again remains to be seen, but Probst does promise we are in store for some more twists and turns this season.
“The back half of this season is just as strong as the first half!” He says. “It’s a boring answer… but more of the same. Great game play from strong players and definitely not the last big twist!”