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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.

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Philippa Warr

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