Subnautica is an underwater open world adventure game in development at Unknown Worlds, the creators of Natural Selection 2. Today, we are releasing the first pre-alpha in-game screenshots of this new game! These screenshots coincide with Subnautica being revealed and shown at PAX East 2014 – The first time Subnautica has ever been shown publicly and playable anywhere in the world.
‘Pre-Alpha’ is a way of saying ‘before this game is even vaguely ready to be properly considered a product that could be released.’ These screenshots are taken from a real playthrough of a real playable version of Subnautica, but they are very, very early. The game you see here has only been worked on for a few short months. They do not represent what the final product will look like. They do represent some of the gameplay and visual themes that we hope to express when Subnautica is released. We are very proud, and excited to be showing them to you now!
In the first screenshot, called ‘Safe Shallows,’ the player is swimming in a coral reef area rich in life. The fish and rays present react to the player’s presence, some are scared, some are curious. Throughout the coral reef area, resources may be found, shells and caves explored, and fish caught. The water is quite shallow, allowing sunlight to play across the player’s vision. This is where players start in our PAX East 2014 demonstration. While it is very early, and not representative of the final product, this is not a staged screenshot and it is really playable!
Safe Shallows is the in-game realisation of coral reef concept art such as the piece above: Many of the life forms and features that you see in this concept have made it into this early build of Subnautica.
The second screenshot, which we call ‘Sub and Stalkers,’ shows off many different gameplay elements. This screenshot is taken deeper down in the world, and less light is reaching the sea floor. Different life forms are present, from unique coral formations to the terrifying and dangerous Stalkers. The player is maneuvering using the Sea Glide, a personal water vehicle with a propeller that is faster than swimming with arms alone. Using the Sea Glide, it is possible to evade the hungry (and quite aggressive!) Stalkers.
Most notably, the player is before a Cyclops – The first submarine to make it into Subnautica. At the lower right of the vessel, above the tail of the right-most Stalker, you can see an open door. This door leads to a hatch, through the player may enter the Cyclops. In this early pre-alpha stage, the Cyclops has an extensive detailed interior, which you can glimpse through the bridge glass. Players can board the Cyclops and pilot it around the world, faster and with more protection from danger than while swimming or using the Sea Glide.
To celebrate Subnautica’s public PAX East 2014 showing, we are going to release another screenshot on each day of the show: Saturday and Sunday. Follow Subnautica on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and sign up to the mailing list to be the first to see these new screenshots. Tell us in the comment thread: What do you want to see in the next two screenshots? More of the Coral Reef? Inside the Cyclops? Somewhere new?
As always, you can talk to the creators of Subnautica directly on Twitter! Charlie leads gameplay, Cory leads art, and Steve leads engineering. Send them tough questions!