I’ll tell you what’s in space: a big load of nothing. Oh I’m sure it’s very pretty and makes you think and all that, but I’ll find my abyssal mirror in the ocean thank you very much. You know what’s down there? Iron snails, radiant deathworms, giant woodlice, immortal jellyfish, and colossal creatures we discover by finding bits of them in other monsters’ stomachs. So naturally I’m pretty jazzed for Unknown Worlds to plumb watery depths in Subnautica.
The Natural Selection 2 devs over the weekend pulled a virtual gold tasselled rope to open digital red velvet curtains and reveal the open-world oceanic build-o-explorer, and it looks quite pleasant.
Subnautica will offer alien seas with different environments and ecosystems as you explore around and into the deep, full of life to observe, follow, catch, and flee from. Oceans being terrifying places that can crush you with water pressure, you’ll need to build seabases and submarines and whatnot to probe truly alien areas. I often struggle to find purpose in open worlds, but moving down, down, deeper and down is an implicit goal that sandboxes often lack.
The first four pre-alpha screenshots come from a public show build, revealing the game in its early and incomplete but playable state. “These are early days: Only a tiny fraction of environments, creatures, game mechanics, equipment, graphical features and technical systems are implemented,” UW says.