I loved Memento, it is my favorite part of the story, but it was only possible because Lily can't die. Any content made for a character that can die is content the player may never see. As a result, our survivors feel more like Pokémon we have collected than people. And maybe that's OK because it is just the kind of game SOD wants to be. Would a more impactful story be worth giving up permadeath? I will start with the assumption that a better story would be a very good thing. It would be to me. So what is the value of permadeath? I like the permadeath, in theory. Or at least I did. I restarted twice after someone in the starting trio died, though, and it wasn't fun. And it doesn't mean anything now that I know how to back up and restore my saves. I do it in case one of the three dies again or I fail a mission I can't repeat. I don't think I'd have the discipline to not resurrect someone else though. Really it is the threat of permadeath that makes it fun. Once it actually happens, there is no way of knowing how the player will take it. Depending on circumstances, it can even be a "just quit playing" experience. Can we have that pressure, that threat, without actually pulling the trigger? People could still be badly maimed and take a real-world week and a lot of medicine to recover. Rucksack retrieval could be replaced with injured person retrieval. Or maybe permadeath stays and there could just be more characters like Lily -- invincible but not playable. We would just have to be prevented from using them in combat (in the field or by kiting enemies to them) which limits the writing but it would be something.