Subnautica developer Unknown Worlds has unveiled the first snippet of information about its upcoming blisteringly cold expansion for the underwater survival sim. Germanely titled Below Zero, the expansion follows on from the events of the critically acclaimed Subnautica in an area of planet 4546 where arctic conditions reign supreme and ice has muscled its way into every nook and cranny.
Below Zero will feature many of the core gameplay features from Subnautica, notably base building and the open world exploration aspect, and introduce brand new mechanics, including thermal management, and to the delight of fans, voice acted dialogue. Unknown Worlds stresses the expansion is still in the early stages of development and as such features are set to evolve as the game takes shape.
In a similar fashion to Subnautica, Unknown Worlds are planning to unleash Below Zero in early access in the coming months, with the intention of fleshing out and improving the game through regular updates based on suggestions and feedback from players. This model proved particularly successful with Subnautica. Unknown Worlds are banking on a similar outcome this time around.
The released concept art hints at a world plastered with icebergs and cavernous glaciers, though the waters below remains predominantly liquid. Huge underwater creatures are frozen in downward jetting ice formations, while transport on ice sheets will be conducted inside an ice-faring hover craft of some sort, while underwater vehicles are returning. Interestingly, land based activities may take a more predominant role in Below Zero if the mountains framing the background in one of the shots are anything to go by.
Below Zero was initially touted as a Subnautica DLC before morphing into an expansion. Now, Unknown Worlds plan to release it as a standalone expansion. Other than the vague ‘coming months’, we have no firm details on when it will hit Steam, nor what platforms are targeted for the final release.
Unknown Worlds is running are open Trello board where you can track progress and apparently even uncover a few spoilers. You can check it out here.