Subnautica introduces cute companion Cuddle Fish

Subnautica Cuddle Fish

Hello! It’s your unofficial underwater correspondent, Pip! I’m here to discuss the latest dance music fish trailer and update info for Subnautica [official site]. There’s a thing called a Cuddle Fish and you can feed it snacks!

Also, do you have any idea how many notification systems I have for news about this game? And if any of them fail I have also apparently trained friends to alert me to news as well.

We actually talked about game pets and what is and isn’t a pet in the RPS podcast this week so I’ll be interested to see how the Cuddle Fish measures up to our vague definition. I think one criterion I ended up feeling around for was the idea that the pet could have a close relationship with the player but there should be a sense of slight friction, in that their goals and needs and wants won’t always be exactly the same as yours.

In games you often get a shopping trolley or a body guard or a shadow or a desk toy in creature form. Nothing wrong with that, and you can obviously still feel attached to it, but “pet” felt like a specific designation with some potentially interesting distinctions.

From the description of the Cuddle Fish I’m not sure how it will fare in my definition of pethood:

“The Cuddle Fish is an adorable companion creature. You may find Cuddle Fish eggs hidden around the world. Those eggs can be incubated in an Alien Containment module, and will eventually hatch into a Cuddle Fish.

“Right click on the Cuddle Fish to tell it to follow you on your adventures. Right click again to tell it to stay in one place. Left click to interact with the Cuddle Fish in various ways – It loves snacks!”

Pet or not, I feel like I get where the Cuddle Fish is coming from here. I enjoy going on adventures with friends, I quite like staying in one place when it’s no longer fun, and I love snacks.

The update also folds in some upgrades to vehicle HUDs, so that includes the Seamoth, Prawn and remotely operated cameras on the Cyclops and Scanner Room. If you don’t play you don’t need to worry about the specifics there, it’s just an improved info display for underwater navigation craft of various flavours.

So I’m interested to know if any fellow players were particularly missing a companion in the underwater world? I mean, I’m not going to leave a tentacle high-five hanging or anything if it’s waved in my face in the game, but I will say it hadn’t occurred to me to be not alone in a hostile ocean. I just made myself a garden and pottered about in the silent depths while Adam and Brendan called me a weirdo.

The Cuddle Fish has been in the works for a while – I’ve seen it on the game’s public Trello boards as the “cute fish” – it was initially supposed to be a bonus for people who bought the game in Early Access and would just follow you round “like a pet in Dota 2” but it got opened up to everyone at some point

Subnautica is still in Early Access right now so all the usual caveats. It’s the tail end of Early Access, in case you’re interested in progress, and the current launch date for version 1.0 is listed in the Subnautica dev roadmap as 31 October.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I feel like having this thing floating around being cute sorta removes the loneliness of the game, but I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. Part of Subnautica was always being scared and alone in the dark ocean.

    Also I’m a bit concerned that if I get attached to my cute cuddle fish, it’ll get eaten by a reaper or something.

    • dylan says:

      That was my first thought too, but then I remembered it said you have to raise the creature in an alien containment tube, which was one of the last blueprints I built. As a late-game pet, after construction of your underwater mansion is finished, I don’t mind it! (I would prefer a fish butler.)

      Plus: optional.

  2. Crusoe says:

    I like the solitude of Subnautica, but the possibility for pets doesn’t bother me.

    As long as it isn’t invincible.

  3. noom says:

    Personally I’m hoping that the Cuddlefish will grow past its initially cute phase and turn into a nightmarish Cthuluesque horror that will hunt you through the open ocean

  4. causticnl says:

    finally something new that doesnt want to eat your face.

    • Daymare says:

      Hey now! What’s so bad about Mesmers?

      Those beautiful animals. They’re as friendly as they look.

      Don’t you wanna look at one right now? I kinda wanna look at one right now.

      You should swim closer to a Mesmer next time you see it.

      Fascinating creatures. Mesmer-izing. Ha, ha.

      But seriously. You should really swim as close as you can and see for yourself. How friendly they are.

      Maybe take some scans of it while you’re there?

      • Premium User Badge

        Drib says:

        I really like that even the suit’s computer voice gets affected by the Mesmer. Or at least that the player character hallucinates that part.

        It’s a nice touch.

  5. Amstrad says:

    Speaking of of pets with a “sense of slight friction” I think Dogmeat actually fits into this if only because of bad/buggy scripting. I mean, how often do people complain about him setting off traps on them?

    • JarinArenos says:

      My wife has gotten used to random outbursts of “GODDAMNIT, DOGMEAT!”. Whether it’s a trap, running ahead to aggro something, or just blocking a doorway or workbench.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    I keep going back to those trello boards, muttering to myself: “Is it done yet? Is it done yet?!”

    It’s not done yet. I’ll recheck you again in 40 minutes.

    Seriously though, I can’t wait for this to come out. I got to see the first pieces of the story during early access, but I forced myself to stop.

    • causticnl says:

      I believe its feature complete now, and scheduled to leave early access Oct 31.

    • Cyber Ferret says:

      Yeah, Im dying to play it too, but like you I forced myself to stop. Unfortunately the lack of a randomized map or any real strategic experimentation with base design means I’ll probably get one good playthrough out of it, and I want to do that when all the bells and whistles are in place.

      • Shadow says:

        Ah, damn. I thought the world was procedurally generated. Not as appealing anymore, unfortunately.

        • pentraksil says:

          The place you start, loot and some other things are random. The map is handcrafted but it doesn’t feel that way at all. Everytime I start a new game it is like a completely new map for me.

        • DuncUK says:

          Honestly, the game is better for being hand crafted. The exploration, storyline and tech craft progress are all nicely tied together and simply would not work on a procedural map. Frankly, exploration is a big part of this game and procedural generation has yet to be used in a game where I find the output of an algorithm a compelling thing to investigate.

        • Synesthesia says:

          It’s refreshing to see a designed level, specially on a survival game. It’s also a pretty well designed This one is a goodie.

  7. temujin33 says:

    So if I find an egg for a Reaper, can I train it too?

  8. nattydee says:

    I would love to play this game if it weren’t for how much time I ended up doing inventory management :/ The climes were beautiful but I never found myself venturing very far from the starting point because your backpack is so pitifully small.

    People have told me that the game actually isn’t oriented around a ‘collecting’ playstyle, but it’s really hard to tell in the initial phases of the game where you’re largely focused on improving your gear and methods of movement.

    It is pretty though. What think thee RPS, should I give it another shot?

    • Daymare says:

      You should! It’s a wonderful game, really unique atmosphere. Crafting’s also gotten more fluid imo.

      Generally I think the trick is to know what you need and just casually pick it up on your way to whatever Signal or Biome you wanna explore. Me, I’m always out of Copper for Computer Chips and Wires.

      No shame in looking up material/recipe locations on the wiki … it really is a big world and you can easily miss things.

      Early game I find exploring the wrecked Aurora and the debris around it gives me tons of stuff — food, water and batteries most importantly, so that I don’t have to deal with the (annoying) hunger/thirst/power meters too much.

      Mid-game make some space while farming shit-tons of Titanium for your submarines and their upgrades. Having an extra stash or two on your Seamoth helps a lot here. Convert to Bars asap to save space.

      Late game you probably need deep biome specific materials, but that’s another story.

    • ThricebornPhoenix says:

      The lifepod does have some storage, though it’s pretty limited. Once you’ve got a habitat builder, you can make a base (even if it’s just a tube with a hatch) and throw some wall lockers in it. That should be enough until you get your giant sub, which has some built-in storage and allows for placing some base items… like wall lockers. At that point you have a mobile base of sorts that can carry potentially hundreds of items.

      One very early storage method I haven’t tried is waterproof lockers. Those could help.

  9. JarinArenos says:

    Cuddle fish cuteness does not make up for gutting the personality from our survival AI. >:(

  10. Solrax says:

    I bought this game after watching Pip’s delightful tour of her volcano base and underwater gardens, and have not regretted it a second! After restarting it multiple times with successive patches, I’m now trying to hold out for the final release for my next playthrough.

  11. AutonomyLost says:

    I’ll grab this game upon release, even though the ocean depths terrify me. It’s always interested me and I think I mostly avoided it do to its EA status; I wanted it feature-complete before taking the plunge as it were.

    And, the little buddy might be something that’ll help me not flip out later in the game!