Underwater survival gets chilly in Subnautica: Below Zero, releasing as a full game in mid-May. Set in the same world as the original Subnautica game, players will take on new challenges, explore new biomes, and attempt to survive a harsh, alien planet. However, Subnautica: Below Zero has left some players confused as to whether it’s a true, standalone sequel, due to its initial intention as DLC for the first game.

Subnautica follows the story of a shipwrecked spacer who crash lands on an alien planet. The planet, 4546B, is covered primarily in water, so the only option the survivor has is to build an underwater base and scour the dangerous seafloor for wreckage and natural resources, all building towards the hopes of escape. While the start of Subnatica seems like an open-ended survival game, as the player locates other abandoned bases and log tapes, it becomes clear something more sinister is happening under the surface of 4546B.


Below Zero was originally meant to be DLC for the first Subnautica, adding new monsters and areas with an icy theme. Released in Early Access in January 2019, the project’s scope began to grow, but messaging about whether or not it was a full sequel remained unclear for quite some time, muddying the waters on Below Zero‘s status as a standalone spinoff expansion or a real “Subnautica 2.”

Subnautica: Below Zero Is Being Sold As A Sequel

It seems Unknown Worlds said or implied in a February 2021 PCGamesN interview that Subnautica: Below Zero was “not quite a full sequel.” To that point, text on the official Subnautica website itself still makes no specific reference to it being a sequel, and its Steam page says only that it’s “a new chapter in the Subnautica universe.” Yet, in an Inverse interview published the same day as PCGamesN’s, project lead David Kalina said, “at this point, it’s a sequel. It’s a whole new world, new story, new creatures.”

The truth wasn’t fully confirmed until later in February; in the first few seconds of the trailer for Subnautica: Below Zero‘s early access Seaworthy Update, Unknown Worlds called the game “The sequel to Subnautica,” which appears to be the first public reference to it as such. Below Zero has a price tag to match, retailing for $29.99 on PC and consoles – the same as the original game.

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While the vast majority are positive overall, some Early Access reviews on Steam say Below Zero isn’t as expansive or well developed as the original Subnautica, with several saying it still feels like DLC. It remains to be seen if Subnautica: Below Zero‘s full release will remedy this, but those who enjoyed the original may still find diving back into the alien ocean compelling, even if it isn’t as big or intricate as the first game.

Source: Unknown Worlds

Subnautica: Below Zero comes to PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Switch on May 14, 2021.

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