I might be missing the point entirely though, in which case i'd like you to clarify what you mean.
I might be missing the point too... but he could mean a survival game in the terms of Left 4 Dead and such games. I think their genre is called Survival Horror? If it is that kind of survival, which I based my post on, it could work very well. If it is the kind of survival mode that you mean, well I guess it would be a lot harder. At least if he intends to have a story thicker than one page.