Now Docking: Subnautica Adds Submarine Mothership

'Get away from my bins!' hollers the octopus.

Explore-o-survive ’em up Subnautica [official site] might not have yet left Early Access, but it has now entered my cool books. Docking ships in video games is pretty great in general, a small moment hinting at the grand scale of a world, and even better is docking inside a larger vessel you can also control. Subnautica has that now. An update yesterday added a big new multi-level submarine you can dock smaller subs with and clamber around inside of.

The fifty-metre Cyclops is intended to be a home away from home in the depths, a place to return to for crafting, to replenish your air, and to hide from terrible things. It’s got room for a choice of expansion modules too, though Subnautica only has one anyway at this stage of development.

It’s made to go comfortably to 200 metres, which seems awfully shallow for such a fancy-looking vessel but I suppose alien seas have their own hostile rules. Even at 100 metres, water pressure means idly knocking into things brings a real risk of hull breaches you’ll need to run around fixing.

Subnautica will still be in Early Access for a fair while yet, but Marsh Davies had fun larking about in the shallows with his snorkels, flippers, and dread of what lurks in the deep. It costs £14.99 on Steam to get in, if you’re curious. This latest addition does have me tempted.


  1. Monkeh says:

    And now you have to go and tempt the rest of us, like we don’t have enough games to play already! I’ve already bought way too many Early Acces titles on Steam, but will definitely keep this one on my radar sonar.

    It really does look quite interesting and those animations are top-notch IMO.

    • El_Emmental says:

      “… on my sonar” :O

      • Monkeh says:

        I’ve failed as a regular RPS visitor! Thanks for correcting me El_Emmental. ;)

    • Black Scalp says:

      “It really does look quite interesting and those animations are top-notch IMO”

      I agree, I was just thinking it looks very professional for an indie early access game. Nicely done craft.

    • Ragnarokkr says:


      If the library is incomplete, our lives are meaningless. I fear that this world of ours has been crafted in the chaos and pain of the universe

  2. drinniol says:



  3. Boozebeard says:

    Maybe worth mentioning it’s from the developers of Natural Selection and not some new unproven developer that might not ever finish it.

  4. P.Funk says:

    Its got potential. Its not Minecraft, its far too focused on shortcut crafting and the most useful crafts are basically things that are predesigned unlike the unlimited creative potential of a clever dick with his redstone and pistons.

    However, the real joy for me will be in exploring the deep. I found the 100m limit of the small mini sub to be too restrictive. 200m should be a bit more interesting.

    There was this moment when I had my first moment of Subnautica awe. I was in my minisub and I heard the call of a whale, and I saw this massive strange looking alien things that were enormous. Seeing one from below for the first time as it blocked out what could pass for sunlight at 80m was truly a moment when I understood what Subnautica was really about.

    The world is not the lonely one of Minecraft where if its not trying to kill you its probably just a bland background creature that’ll drop an egg now and then. The undersea creatures are fascinating and I look forward to exploring. Really exploring. Not exploring for the sake of finding some mineral for a craft recipe, but just exploring to find something that is the definition of awe.

    • Niko says:

      It’s not totally clear from this video, but does it get progressively darker as you get deeper? I’m fascinated with deep ocean, and this game looks really great, but kind of… bright.

      • P.Funk says:

        It definitely gets darker as you go deeper but its probably not as dark as in real life. Its also not horribly exaggerated, probably just barely exaggerated enough to make it more playable.

        I would bet a not so insignificant sum of money on at some point in the core part of their concept phase them having a moment where they said “lets make it like Avatar’s Pandora, but underwater”. Its got that feeling. A perfect example is how at night these tall very long suspended seaweed things glow like underwater lampposts. Again, not excessively, but just enough to give a super real ambiance.

        Its pure aesthetics whether that does it for you.

        • Niko says:

          Thanks, sounds interesting indeed. And I guess they might eventually increase the depth limit maybe.

    • Chaz says:

      I’ve been down to 200+ metres in my Sea Moth mini sub with no real adverse effects. I haven’t come across any real deep areas yet anyway. The 200 metre dive was down a narrow canyon and down through into a cave system, which I got lost in for a while.

      Looking forward to trying out the Cyclops anyway. Just need to find the fragment for it I guess.

  5. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Submarines within submarines within submarines? That’ll help us to go deeper.

  6. Psychomorph says:

    This game seems to not have any lighting at all. Everything is evenly lit at all times.

    • Tritagonist says:

      Underwater vision and lighting are definitely not easy to replicate.

      As an aside, I’m disappointed they went the ‘strange alien creatures’ direction rather than replicating the wonderful and strange creatures that inhabit Earth’s oceans, though I suppose their earlier games already pointed in that direction.

  7. Bishop149 says:

    Oh no . . . . it does look awesome.

    – Uggg but has the dreaded “Early Access” stamp . . . . becomingly increasingly known as “Unlikely ever to be finished to an acceptable standard” stamp
    – But it looks awesome
    – But it’s early access
    – But it looks aw . . .
    Repeat in my head ad infinitum

    Damn you sir!

  8. Wisq says:

    Signs I’ve been playing Kerbal Space Program too much: I see the video preview still-shot and it takes me many seconds to realise the wide glass bubble end is actually the front and the narrow pointy end is actually the back.

    I do wonder about how you might feasibly repair a hull breach that size while water is still streaming in through it. While I imagine they’ll probably let you fix it anyway for gameplay reasons, it’d be interesting to force you to either abandon ship or to limp back “home” (to the mothership) with a sub full of water, where you can drain it and repair it. But I guess that might affect your buoyancy to the point that limping home is impossible.

    • jankal says:

      You are right in that the the video shows a pretty big leak and we can assume that is one of those magic repair anything by pointing at it and holding the trigger blowtorches.

      In the real world you fix damage like this with a simple wedge(shoring) that you then pound into the gap to slow the flow of water, it swells and hopefully stops the leak. If you cant manage to stop the leak, you seal off the compartment and hope you don’t need anything that was in there too much.

  9. Htimez2 says:

    Great game definitely worth grabbing, I love it.