‘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.
This is the Koosh Bush Zone – An area of the environment featuring lots of different sizes of Koosh bush, among which creatures dart about. These glowing, pulsating orbs are examples of the multitudes of unique flora that Subnuatica will feature. Note that the little turquoise balls on the Koosh bush are glowing – Sure to be a spectacular light show when the sun goes down…
Being underwater means Subnautica’s environments can take on wonderful vertical freedom: Even shallow areas like this grassy plateau can feature towering geographical features, all of which can present opportunities for exploration. Ahead of the player, at the lower left, sits a Jumper – A unique creature that many PAX attendees have enjoyed playing with as it leaps across the sea floor, watching the player with its downward facing eye.
All four of the screenshots we have revealed this weekend come from Subnautica in a playable state, they are not staged, static constructions. These are early days: Only a tiny fraction of environments, creatures, game mechanics, equipment, graphical features and technical systems are implemented. Subnautica has lots of development time ahead, we hope these screenshots have given you an appealing first taste of what you are in for…