The One World format was originally introduced (albeit, briefly) in Survivor: Thailand and again in Survivor: Palau and Survivor: Fiji. It would later become the basis behind the show's 24th season, Survivor: One World.
Unlike previous seasons where tribes lived at camp sites that are entirely remote to each other, the competing tribes would live together on one beach, and they can freely interact with each other. Whilst this twist has been explored in different seasons, Survivor: One World marked the first time that it was employed at the start of the competition for a more indefinite amount of time.
As shown during One World, the tribes may or may not share resources, build one shelter for all, or conveniently, split themselves to further define the divisions of the tribes. If the tribes choose to live separately, they may visit the other tribe.
After Reward Challenges, the tribes are allowed to share their challenge winnings, but at the tribes' discretion. In One World, the tribes frequently made deals with each other whenever they want to borrow the enemy tribe's supplies.
The twist can also pave way to forge cross-tribal alliances, or the opportunity to easily spy on the other tribe.
There have been strategies and other factors that can be considered whilst this twist is in effect.
- The tribe who wins a Reward Challenge can choose to share their prize or not.
- Cross-tribal alliances may form, thus potentially creating situations wherein a rival tribe member could affect the outcome at a Tribal Council which they are not a part of.
- The option to make temporary deals that would benefit both tribes (for example, using one tribe's fishing gear and sharing half the catch, or tending to each other's camp sites in exchange for food/shelter).
Although the tribes both live together on one beach, there are still Hidden Immunity Idols in play.
Due in part to players in previous seasons locating them without the aid provided clues, no clues will be provided. The One World format also has specific rules when it comes to possession of a Hidden Immunity Idol. Despite having two idols in one beach, the two idols are hidden in separate areas in the beach.
- If a player finds his or her tribe's idol, it is theirs to keep.
- If a player finds a Hidden Immunity Idol and its accompanying note states it is for the opposing tribe to use, they have to give it to a member of the opposing tribe before the next Tribal Council.
- In the event of a switch, if a player holds a Hidden Immunity Idol, they are allowed to keep and exercise it (if required).
- If a player wishes to pass the idol to someone else, they may only do so with a current tribemate.
Although the twist was not fully explored until One World, the seasons in which a similar format have been used are listed below.
See Fake Merge.
When the Sook Jai and Chuay Gahn tribes, both with five members each, were told they would be living on one beach, Sook Jai member Shii Ann Huang used the opportunity to express her disdain for her tribe and her availability to flip to Chuay Gahn. Upon convening for the next Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst stated that he never mentioned a merge during his explanation of what was going on. He then explained that both tribes would live on the same beach until told otherwise. Due to her wrong assumptions of a merge, and Sook Jai losing the challenge, Huang was immediately voted out by her tribe.
On Day 1, Jeff announced that waiting on the beach were two Individual Immunity Necklaces. These would guarantee the winners of these necklaces being a tribe captain (although at this point, the Survivors were not aware of this). Upon the castaways reaching the camp site, there was no sign of a tribe flag or any other designation. They remained in this fashion until the first Immunity Challenge on Day 3, where the winning tribe will not only win immunity, but also the right to choose if they want to stay in the beach they started with or start anew. The winning tribe, Koror, chose to start fresh, leaving the ownership of the first camp to the rival Ulong tribe.
Due to the premature evacuation of Mellisa McNulty, the now nineteen Survivors paddled to their beach to find a supply crate filled with building supplies and details on how to create a luxurious campsite. Although there were no tribal designations, on Day 2 when Jeff asked who led the group, Sylvia Kwan was told to divide the tribes into equal size (where afterwards she would live on Exile Island for a period of time), and the two tribes competed for control of the luxury camp. The winning tribe, Moto owned the right to live at the luxurious camp, leaving the enemy Ravu tribe to live in destitution and squalor.
Both tribes were sent their separate ways after meeting on Day 1 only to arrive at the same camp site. At the camp, the tribes had their own respective areas. The tribes, divided by gender, fought over supplies and food. The tribes also struggled to share reward items with each other. The Manono tribe, the tribe of men, initially prospered, winning challenges early on, leaving the all-women Salani tribe to live in hardship. The women tried to make barters with the men, mostly to help them replenish their fire or temporarily move in the men's tarp-covered shelter in case of strong rain in exchange for their chickens. Most of the women's attempts were futile. When the women started winning challenges, the men are now the borrowers, asking them to lend them their fishing boat in exchange for half of the fish they would catch, but the women refused in retaliation.
On Day 12, the tribes switched and then competed for the right to return to their original beach whilst the losers would hike to a new camp. However, when the tribes merged, they returned to the One World beach for the rest of the game.
- Survivor: Palau and Survivor: Fiji both had the One World twist for the first 2 days.
- Survivor: Thailand was the first season to use this twist.
- Despite the fact that this was Survivor: One World's main twist, it only lasted 12 days.