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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.

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Philippa Warr

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