Subnautica is a game in development by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. Subnautica allows the player to explore an uncharted alien planet by scuba diving and traveling in submarines. The planet is almost all water, meaning the player must scuba dive for almost all resources such as metal and upgrades.
Descend into the depths of an alien underwater world filled with resources, creatures, wonder and threats. Craft equipment and submarines to explore lush coral reefs, volcanoes, cave systems, and more – All while trying to survive.
Subnautica is a first-person video game set in the future on an aquatic uncharted planet in development by Unknown Worlds Entertainment that blends the traits of the survival and the exploration genres. Subnautica hit Steam on December 16, 2014 as part of the Early Access program and is currently set to reach version 1.0 in May 2017. Until then, it receives an update a little below once a month and depending on circumstances is intended to receive further updates thereafter. The game is available on PC (Steam & Humble Bundle), VR (Steam and Oculus Home) and Xbox One. A version for the PlayStation 4 is looked into for after V1.0. Due to the developer-centric update policies on Steam, that version receives updates the earliest.
|Publisher:||Unknown Worlds Entertainment|
|Description:||Subnautica begins with the crash of the Aurora on Planet 4546B, a planet completely covered in water, in the late 22nd century. There is one sole longterm survivor, who is the protagonist of the story. It is then up to the player to make it through the initial days with a partially broken Lifepod 5 and a few resources at their disposable, improve their situation by learning about the alien environment and gathering resources, building better equipment, and maybe even find a way home. If so chosen, the player can also start an investigation into what happened to the Aurora and what secrets Planet 4546B holds.|
|Similar Games:||Biosys, Submerged, and Ark: Survival Evolved. Beyond Good & Evil is partially the inspiration to the scanner and the camera function of the PDA.|
|Genre(s):||The game puts together survival and exploration elements. To quote Wikipedia, survival games "are a subgenre of action video games that generally start the player with minimal resources in a hostile, open-world environment, and require them to collect resources, craft tools, weapons, and shelter, and survive as long as possible", whereas exploration games "are narrative-focused [adventure games] that allow players to experience their story through exploration and discovery".|
|Playthrough Length:||Subnautica offers a static world of 3*3*1.7km and random generation is exclusively present in the spawn points of various resources and the exact starting position of Lifepod 5. There is no, nor will there ever be, multiplayer mode. If the player knows where to go and rushes through the essential parts of the story and useful blueprints, the game as it is at this point in development can be completed in 20 hours. Players that go for the full experience will find themselves at 40+ hours.|
|Difficulty:||There are four game modes available: Creative, Freedom, Survival, and Hardcore. Creative mode makes no demands on the player at all. Freedom mode requires managing oxygen, health, energy, and hull integrity. Upon death, the player respawns in Lifepod 5 or in the last Seabase/Cyclops visited. Survival mode adds hunger and thirst. Hardcore is identical to Survival except that it features permadeath.|
Although combat is an option, it is generally the lesser pick compared to stealth and speed. All but the largest creatures can be evaded or outrun with a little practice. The game does not have intentional jumpscares, but a few creatures such as Warpers and Crabsnakes can cause them. Exploring maze-like structures such as caves and wrecks demands navigational skill and proper preparation to not run out of oxygen. Hunger and thirst are a core concern early on and it might take a while before steady solutions are acquired.
|Security Concerns:||Being a singleplayer-only game, Subnautica has no security risks.|
|ESRB Rating(s):||Subnautica is still in Early Access and therefore not rated.|
|PEGI Rating(s):||Subnautica is still in Early Access and therefore not rated.|
|ACB Rating(s):||Subnautica is still in Early Access and therefore not rated.|
|Content Labels:||Subnautica is still in Early Access and therefore not rated. Content Warnings it may receive are Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, and Crude Humor.|
|Violence:||Subnautica does contain very few conventional weapons and the few there are have limitations. This is because the game tries to promote solutions other than violence. One can still kill or be killed by wildlife or die from environmental hazards such as radiation and lava geysers. In case damage is sustained, the protagonist lets out a muffled scream, the sides of the screen flash red, and a small amount of red blood is lost. Death due to lack of oxygen begins with a darkening screen followed by a dramatic tune if an oxygen source isn't reached after a few more seconds. Creatures that are killed currently bleed yellow and either respawn or revive some time after the player leaves their territory. The backstory of Subnautica contains the deaths of about 170 people and an unknown number of other sapient lifeforms. Data Downloads and materials left by them can be found, but there are no corpses.|
|Language:||There is no strong language.|
|Sexual Themes and Nudity:||There are no sexual themes or nudity.|
|Drugs and Alcohol:||A few bottles that appear to hold alcohol are lying on the floors inside the Aurora, and within the Deep Grand Reef Degasi Base. These cannot be interacted with and are for decoration only.|
|Crude Humor or Comic Mischief:||The Stillsuit reclaims bodily fluids and cleans it for consumption. The databank entry includes such lines as "Because drinking reclaimed urine is better than death by dehydration." A resource to collect is Sea Treader Feces.|
Directors & ProducerEdit
Charlie attended Case Western Reserve University and received a B.S. in Computer Engineering. He worked as a software engineer at IBM, Papyrus, CogniToy and Stainless Steel Studios, on Grand Prix Legends, MindRover and Empire Earth. In May 2001, he left Stainless Steel to start writing Natural Selection.
Charlie has contributed writings to Game Developer Magazine and Game Design Perspectives and spoke at Casuality (2006). He also spoke at the Game Developer’s Conference in:
While still in high school Max worked as the assistant to Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot at IBM Research. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 with a B.S. in Mathematics and a double major in Computer Science, Max joined Iron Lore Entertainment (Game Developer Choice Best New Studio) as the first employee.
While at Iron Lore Entertainment, Max served as the Lead Engine Programmer and held a key role in developing the technology and tools behind their first two titles, Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.
Cory attended the Massachusetts College of Art, majoring in Illustration. He worked at Stainless Steel Studios as a digital artist for over five years doing 3D modeling, texturing and concept work on Empire Earth, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World and Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War. He then worked as Senior Texture Artist and Concept Art on Lair and several unannounced titles at Factor Five.
He and Charlie started working on Natural Selection together in August 2000 and his artwork has been featured several times in Spectrum and Expose.
Hugh is Australian, but we try not to hold it against him. He invaded our San Francisco office and we have worked to teach him to speak English ever since.
Hugh holds a BCom in Finance and Accounting, thinks only in spreadsheets, and likes making movies all day.
He is a nerdy farm kid who turned into an animator / tech. He has worked on Mass Effect 1 cinematics, Bioshock Infinite in-game sequences, most of the Natural Selection 2 rigging and currently animation lead on Subnautica. He enjoys walks in the park and long-shot FPS melee kills.
As soon as he graduated from Engineering school, Louis decided to go down a more artistic path. He started by learning character modelling on his first job, but realized that animation was his true calling soon enough. He attended Animation Mentor, and since graduating has worked as an animator on movies, TV series and commercials, in countries including Singapore, Russia, Lebanon and Bahrain. He is currently an animator and rigger on Subnautica.
Brandt graduated from Madison College, with an associate degree in Animation and Concept development. He joined the offsite team in the summer of 2012 working on animations for Natural Selection 2.
Check out some of his works at:
Scott hails originally from Carlisle UK, close to the Scottish border. Having worked in Film & TV, he now works in Games remotely from the South Wales, UK. He can be often found frequenting shops late at night in his daily pursuit of yet more coffee, to fuel his typical animator caffeine habit.
Brian (Alpha) joined the team in late 2009 after graduating from the Art Institute of California San Francisco. Before moving here, he worked as a contract 3D Artist on two published PC titles in Birmingham, Alabama.
Initially hired to help with managing the art pipeline, Brian now fills the gap between artists and engine. He has also worked as the editor for several Natural Selection 2 cinematics including the Fade Reveal, Lerk Reveal and Gorge Belly Slide video.
After almost dropping out of university twice to make computer games instead of learning about skolemization and formal verification, Jonas now holds a master's degree in Computer Science and makes computer games. Hah!
Unbeknownst to Charlie Jonas’ career at Unknown Worlds started as a mapper for Natural Selection 1 where he managed to finish one single room. Encouraged by this huge success he ran the fastest NS1 servers in Europe on launch day and still remembers sneaking into the university’s data center to pull this off like it was yesterday.
Jonas fixes the bugs, optimizes performance, causes a mess, and wears the “I broke the build” T-shirt with great pride. He enjoys traveling and sometimes does a decent Count von Count impersonation including bats and lightning.
Scott is a coder and 3D artist. He’s spent most of his career working on MMORPGs and now happily resides deep in the underwater landscape of Subnautica’s codebase. When not making games he’s playing music and systematically attempting put every BBQ joint to be found in Texas out of business with his insatiable love of brisket.
Game programming (Austria)
Michael was originally a Natural Selection 1 map contributor. In 2007 he graduated from Glasgow University, and worked as a functionality tester before joining the off-site team in 2010. He was hired as a level designer and has contributed towards several Natural Selection 2 maps. Currently he is developing environments for Subnautica.
Oli joined the offsite team in June 2009 as a mapper for Natural Selection 2. He spends his time complaining, being cynical and drinking tea.
Andrew attended Oxford Brookes University and received a BA in Architecture. He contributed to NS1 back in the day, and joined the UWE team in 2009, initially to help maintain the website. He soon moved on to art and level design, and nobody had the heart to tell him to pack it in.
When not making or playing games, Andrew’s many hobbies include brick-spotting, desperation and breathing. He lives in London.
Jake is an artist with an associate degree in Computer Animation, and a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Utah. He began working on a custom map for NS2, which caught the attention of Charlie and Cory, and eventually led to a position working to further develop this level, and to work on future level design projects. He continues to work in level design for NS2 and future projects.
Sylvain joined Ubisoft Paris as a 3d environment artist on GRAW 2 before enjoying particles and visual effects on Redsteel 2, Raving Rabbids TV Party and Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Looking for new experiences with indie studios he started to work on Natural Selection 2 late 2011.
Simon is our sound and music guy. After flying bombers in WWII (not really) Simon decided to be a hippy (really). It soon became apparent that being a hippy was not nearly as lucrative as described in the brochure, so he made the tactical decision to fail high school and drop out of university in an attempt to gain our attention.
It worked! and we decided to hire him as sound designer on Natural Selection 2 as we felt our company would benefit from some fail on the team for a change. Simon soon began to take over the music production on NS2 from David John… and is now eyeing Cory’s jobs as well.
Check out some of his works at:
Lukas is another employee with his roots in the community. Since he joined us in October 2012 he works on all kinds of web applications and websites that improve workflow in UWE or serve our players. He spends most of his free time learning new stuff, playing too many games or reading books. He also enjoys his journey to find the perfect craft beer.
Jess is a web developer that spends her time in preparation for the next update, and also specializes in community and update announcement material. She also writes tools but rather slowly due to Unknown Worlds continually asking her to prioritize the update sites.
Her skills include sweet talking humans and computers and crying herself to sleep when it doesn't work.
Voice Actors Edit
Fox3D has successfully cooperated with game developers of all sizes and world-class publishers from North America, Europe and Asia. Our aim is to create high-quality projects on a global scale.
It is brilliant sample of high quality cinematic needs for our Subnautica. Fox3D made it with tight budget and deadlines with great quality!
—Cory Strader, Art Director of Unknown Worlds
Sergey Solovyev - Lead ArtistEdit
- Hi, my name is Sergey Solovyev. At the very beginning on the Subnautica, I was faced with a task - to build our Fox3D team into an effective working art resource for the project. Although the team members never gathered under one office roof, my goal was to make them work as well as normal game developer teams.
After a number of approaches and brainstorming sessions, we understood that for such a big project as ours, we needed the highest possible visualization of workflow and the creation of one general work space in order for efficient remote working. This meant creating something like a virtual office that copies the functionality of a real physical office. We built work processes in such a way that a person from anywhere on the globe, who has a laptop and an Internet connection, could easily learn about the development stage of any asset, find out what was updated, and if necessary, send comments about what else should be done. Such an approach demanded decision making about a remote working field, which is why we spent such a long time searching for the new services that would be as easy and convenient as possible.
In this case, Sketchfab was very suitable for us. There is nothing better than giving an art director the possibility to spin around, on his laptop screen, a finished 3D model of a monster, spaceship or main character of the game. Whether in a cafe, house, or in the office, his work is equally effective - he can see an exact model, the same way as it will look in game, and immediately give us feedback about it. And since Sketchfab supports normal maps, spec, gloss and hdri lighting, it was completely suitable for us and the Subnautica project. All of these features are important for the project.
We enjoy working on Subnautica, and like the idea of creating a colourful, cartoon style underwater world. It is so exciting to participate in creation of such a tremendous and unusual world from an art-concept to the game. We are inspired by how unusual and scenic the locations and creatures look. It’s probably a little immodest to say, but I think I have to say it: as I see it, Subnautica is the first fully underwater game, and it actually looks great! And it wouldn’t have happened without such a great community. The feedback we receive inspires our artists and pushes them to do the artwork better and better each time.
I would like to thank all those wonderful people who are supporting us with attention to our artwork. It is always thrilling to log in Sketchfab and find new likes, comments, and a growing number of followers.
Thanks people, you rock! Many thanks to the Sketchfab team for making all these magnificent opportunities become real tools. See you in Subnautica, divers!
Igor Popov - Software EngineerEdit
Prior: Indie developer (Unity Engine), Technical Artist at Unigine, Alien Shooter/Zombie Shooter game series developer at Sigma Team.
Maxim Vigovsky - Technical ArtistEdit
Animations & Cinematics TrailerEdit
Freelance Concept Artist
Freelance Narrative Designer
- Main article: Sounds
If you want to buy Subnautica merch, please visit the official UnknownWorlds merchandise redbubble store.
While Subnautica can currently only be played on PC, Mac, and Xbox One, a PS4 version may follow if the Xbox One version is successful in terms of sales.
Ian Birnbaum of PC Gamer described Subnautica as an "underwater Minecraft", remarking that "with an experienced developer at the helm and a limitless variety of the oceans to play with, it’s going to take a lot for Subnautica to go badly wrong. As the toolbox gets deeper and the shape of the end-game gets set, Subnautica will be a unique example of the ways survival can be tense, rewarding, and fun." Marsh Davies of Rock, Paper, Shotgun praised the rewarding nature of exploring the world of Subnautica, but criticized the "arbitrariness" and lack of intuition in some of the in-game recipes.
Subnautica is heavily praised by many Youtubers for being very original.
- Main article: Concept Art
- Visit official Subnautica Youtube for more videos.
|OS||Windows Vista SP2 or newer, 64-bit|
|Processor||Intel Haswell 2 cores / 4 threads @ 2.5Ghz or equivalent|
|Memory||4 GB RAM|
|Graphics||Intel HD 4600 or equivalent - This includes most GPUs scoring greater than 950pts in the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark|
|Storage||6 GB available space|
|OS||OS X 10.9 Mavericks|
|Processor||Intel Haswell 2 cores / 4 threads @ 2.5Ghz or equivalent|
|Graphics||Intel HD 4600 or equivalent|
|Storage||6 GB available space|
- Subnautica shares the same universe as the Natural Selection series. 
- This is further supported, as the company Alterra is a manufacturer of various supplies in all games by Unknown Worlds.