Subnautica’s Voice of the Deep adds something monstrous

Subnautica

Subnautica‘s [official site] Voice of the Deep update might be the thing that tips me over into playing that game for hours again and properly exploring the narrative/lore side of things. I’d set the game aside to come back to after early access BUT! Tom Jubert (who did narrative work on The Talos Principle and The Swapper and now Subnautica) noted on Twitter: “Today is the day that Subnautic gets its endgame! Finally, something awaits you at the bottom of the ocean.”

THAT SOMETHING HAS ENORMOUS TENTACLES. I’m so into this.

So, thing is here, I’m curious about the amount of revealing versus teasing here. I mean, I really want to go see that creature and finally engage with the story side of the game but it feels like the devs have given me a fair chunk of info that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. The big creature is the Emperor Leviathan and you get a glimpse of its top half in the final seconds of the trailer.

The email from the Subnautica mailing list notes “The Containment Facility contains… Something. That something is massive, and very much interested in you. The Emperor Leviathan might be a friend, a foe, or neither…” so there’s still mystery there, but I think I would have preferred to keep images of the creature’s face as something you discover by playing.

This is probably one of those strange (and impossible) balancing acts for devs working with early access. They need to tailor these announcements to people who have mined out everything in the game so far and want to see the new elements rather than any old stuff, but also use it to entice new players. I’m probably in the least helpful camp, somewhere between totally up to date and completely new where weird things seem spoilery! There’s also the real possibility that the appearance of the Emperor Leviathan is the start of a mystery to dig into and by not knowing that the trailer reads differently.

ARGH I HAVE OVERANALYSED THIS.

You can see the detailed notes over on the microsite BUT to summarise the rest of the developments:

  • There’s a Primary Containment Facility to explore which seems stuffed with ways to uncover snippets of game lore and narrative history. In the trailer it also looks like an endearingly empty nightclub with a laser show.
  • There are now mysterious pipe networks, one of which looks like a cool helter-skelter!
  • Subnautica

  • Your PDA has a new interface – this is a quality of life thing because the PDA is how you fiddle with your loadout and access info in-game.
  • A bunch of the zones have additions and improvements, notably some teleporter caves.
  • The previous update which centered on silent running of your Cyclops craft has been refined. I haven’t played on that patch at all so I’m not up to date with its shortcomings but it sounds like being able to run the Cyclops silently at any speed is a noteworthy change.

I have so much transcribing to do today and all I want to do is play Subnautica. This is the WORST.

FYI, Subnautica is still in early access so despite my own adoration of this game do apply all the usual caveats. It’s £14.99 at the moment but I’ll also point out that it’s a regular participant in Steam sales and the Steam Summer Sale is set to start later today.

29 Comments

  1. welverin says:

    Do you want to admit to being into enormous tentacles on the internet?

    • NetharSpinos says:

      At this point who isn’t, eh? Eh? Enough to go around for everybody! :D

    • R. Totale says:

      Would you want to admit to it anywhere else?

    • Darloth says:

      I thought that was the default state for someone on the internet. You have to work pretty hard to convince someone you’re NOT into that.

      I mean, look at Darkest Dungeon, that’s super popular right now and it’s chock full of tentacles.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Tkrens says:

    Subnautica is such a fantastic game and I absolute love exploring its deep and mysterious waters. I think I’ll hold back on the main course that is the story for now, so I can enjoy it fully when the game gets a 1.0 release.

    • Premium User Badge

      DuncUK says:

      Yeah, I’m the same. My only worry is if they ever break backwards compatibility with saves on the way to v1.0. I’ve spent too much time collecting resources to build up to a decent sized base, upgraded Cyclops submarine and PRAWN suit, I can’t see myself playing through from the start again. Exploring wrecks I’ve already explored won’t have the same and there is quite alot of grind to research the parts for and then create some of the larger items.

      • Ericusson says:

        Why would you want to keep a save game from some months ago ?
        If you want to wait for 1.0, delete your save already really.

        • Premium User Badge

          DuncUK says:

          I think I explained that. Yep, yep… I just reread my post… I did explain that.

          RTFM

      • Jay Load says:

        Yarp. It is a little grindy, although to be fair not as grindy as some of the other survival stuff out there, and the underwater setting does help make it a more novel experience.

        I had a moment firing it up yesterday where I thought the save listed there was an old one. I have Prawn suit and Cyclops as well – I really didn’t fancy doing it all over again! Thankfully it was all where I’d left it.

      • Anarch says:

        A new game on “Hardcore” is your poison.

      • Premium User Badge

        Tkrens says:

        I actually enjoy the first half of the game where you are extremely vulnerable, have no mobility and are just scraping by. I don’t know if resource placement has been improved but compared to several patches ago I feel like getting started is somewhat easier and things like the seamoth and cyclops aren’t quite so far away anymore.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Still looking forward to the plot actually being finished, so there’s a point to replaying.

    Finding neat places like the facility, only to have no entrance, feels like a bit of a… dockblock, to use the nautical term.

    But once that’s all set up, I’m looking forward to going back again!

  4. Synesthesia says:

    Damn, resisting until 1.0 is going to be hard, but optimization needs to happen pronto.

    • guy15s says:

      You’re not wrong, but just as a heads up, I reinstalled it recently and it does seem to be running a bit smoother now. You still have the jittery screen freezes, but, at least so far, I can get into the cave areas without much slowdown. I’ve only played it for one evening with the new update, though, so it could take some time and I know some of the optimization issues were due to some sort of clutter file getting too big.

      • Jay Load says:

        I had heaps of slowdown. Admittedly I’m on a fairly old rig, but it was jittery as heck. Really wish they’d sort that out.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    I think it seems pretty clear that the leviathan is friendly, I mean, look at its big, red, disjointed happy face!

  6. Freud says:

    Final boss is Bulletspongebob Squarepants

  7. wombat191 says:

    i played when it first came to early access and loved it but ive been waiting to delve back in when its properly released

  8. Stugle says:

    Gah, tentacles. Why did it have to be tentacles? I like Subnautica, I have Subnautica, but I don’t ever want to go anywhere near that be-tentacled beast. I haven’t gotten very far in the game and right now I doubt I ever will. Effin’ tentacles.

    • Darloth says:

      To be fair, the ocean is an ideal place for tentacles.

      They’re sortof designed for ocean stuff.

  9. Psychomorph says:

    Is Subnautica a grindy game? I’m interested, but I hate those.

    • iteration2 says:

      I wouldn’t call it grindy. There’s a resource collection element to it, but the needed resources are generally plentiful once you discover where to look for them. All the materials for the largest (and most resource intensive) vehicle you can build can be gathered in about 10 minutes.

      The focus of the game is almost entirely on survival logistics and exploration.

      I suppose this balance might change a little if you’re less interested in progression, and more interested in building a needlessly enormous base, but that’s more of an optional playstyle that would probably appeal more to someone who enjoys grindy games.

    • Augh_lord says:

      There’s an option between the survival horror of having to drink and eat every 5 minutes and the placid game of “creative mode” which I found pretty great.

      While it is “find x elements to build y” a main drive, it also makes you explore new areas and get far from comfortability.

      I should say they added a big element on exploring to gain new blueprints, which makes the game better than the kill creatures to gain random loot.

      • Psychomorph says:

        Oh man, drink and eat every 5 minutes is the worst game mechanic. So you say it’s not enforced and you can play differently?

        • neofit says:

          Yes, there is a game mode (at least used to be 3 months ago), that still has a storyline but no compulsion to eat every 5 minutes. I wouldn’t be against the need to it, since finding and growing crops can be an important part of the survival mechanics, the game clock runs too quickly for it not to become too tedious.

    • KyukiYoshida says:

      It really just depends on your definition of grindy. When it comes to items, I once spent 3 hours looking for the bluprint for one of the pressure compensators, before giving up and spawning them in. And spent an hour and a half looking for the moonpool. Other times I found it without even trying. Since different resources are in different biomes, you’ll travel from one end of the map to the other quit often. Between blueprints, items and precursor caches you’ll do a whole lot of searching. The contant need and hunt for food and water in the beginning can get pretty tedious, but it’s not as bad once you get established. Not sure if I’d consider it grindy, as that kind of stuff usually comes with the territory of survival and exploration games.