UPDATE (5 Sep 2016): Subnautica will be a single-player game only, and will not receive multiplayer. Click here to read Charlie’s post talking about why.
The information below is now outdated.
Subnautica multiplayer is a question of Cyclops-sized proportions. Every day, several threads pop up on the Steam and Unknown Worlds Subnautica forums asking: “When will Subnautica get multiplayer?.”
This is Charlie’s take on the current status of multiplayer in Subnautica:
“Adding multiplayer support to Subnautica is something we would love to do. In fact, the game was originally conceived of as a co-op experience. However, as we started to develop the game, we skipped multiplayer to be able to release the game faster.
Now we find ourselves in a difficult situation: we all really want co-op player, but adding it would take us many months of work. We almost have to start over from the beginning, as it affects everything. If our small team decided to add multiplayer right now, we probably wouldn’t be able to improve any other aspect of the game for a very long time.
So we’re not sure what we’re going to do, but we’re not working on multiplayer right now. The most important thing is to make sure the exploration, crafting and creature experience is working well. Maybe before v1.0 we’ll figure out a way to hire another team to help us with networking, or maybe we’ll release a new version of the game later that supports co-op (like Klei did with “Don’t Starve Together”).”
That’s Subnautica multiplayer as it stands today. If the team consensus moves, we will keep you updated. We have to be honest about this: “we’re not working on multiplayer right now” means there is zero, nada, zilch, absolutely no possibility of multiplayer any time in the short or medium term.
While we are not working on multiplayer, you can be sure that we are working on all sorts of great stuff. You can check out what we are working on by visiting the production tracker, see our progress by visiting the checkin and changes list, and get a newsletter when the next update is released by signing up to the Subnautica mailing list.