Developer Unknown Worlds has confirmed that its deep sea survival game Subnautica will finally leave Steam Early Access this month on January 23rd.

Subnautica first launched in Steam Early Access nearly three years ago, back in 2014, and SteamSpy estimates that it's already been bought by over 1,850,000 people.

Its success shouldn't really be much of a surprise though; even in unfinished form, Subnautica's tightly structured blend of base building, exploration, and survival beneath the waves of a mysterious, alien ocean planet is wonderfully engaging - and the constant procession of development updates, introducing the likes of farming, underwater mech suits, and deeper narrative elements, has only made it more so.

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We like the deep-sea-living sim Subnautica quite a bit around here. Enough to include it among our choices for "best underwater games" last summer, which is admittedly something of a niche sub-genre—but still a valid recognition of its quality. It's also not terribly far off of two million owners on Steam. That makes it easy to forget that the game is actually still in Early Access. 

But after three years of availability, and recent updates that include stealth submarine technology, high-fiving fish, and eye candy, developer Unknown Worlds Entertainment announced today that the full launch is scheduled to take place on January 23.   

The livestream will include the premiere of the Subnautica cinematic trailer, developer interviews, actual sea creatures (although I'm guessing they won't be interviewed) and the "live pushing of the Big Red Launch Button." The stream will begin at 6:15 pm ET/9:15 pm PT, and will be carried on Twitch. You can sign up for a reminder at

Subnautica - (Alice O'Connor)

The alien undersea explore-o-survival sandbox Subnautica will properly launch on January 23rd, after three years in early access. I enjoyed a dip way back when, splashing about in the shallows, but since then have been waiting for a full launch. Seeing the sea sights over the past few years, from Pip’s volcano base to ghost rays flocking around a tree in an undersea river of brine, have made it difficult to stay away. I’m glad to have managed that, as an alien ocean I barely know is waiting for me and I’ll get to be delighted and terrified for the first time by the full experience. (more…)


Subnautica, one of the best games set under the sea, has just received a meaty graphics overhaul. The Eye Candy update adds a wave of new graphics options to the Early Access exploration game including bloom, motion blur and depth of field, as well as a 'Filmic Mode' that makes the game look more cinematic.

You might want to fiddle around with the settings when you first dive in because while turning them all on makes the game prettier it also appears, from the screenshots and the trailer above, to make it much more blurry. Now, that makes a bit of sense given the underwater setting but it could prove distracting for some. By playing with the new settings for a bit you should be able to get a new look that you're happy with.

Alongside visual changes, the update adds new voice-overs for abandoned bases and changes the way that some items work. The dive-reel, which is designed to let you retrace your steps, now guides you with balls of light rather than just a cord, and the prawn (a mining machine) will now place items you mine directly into your inventory so you don't have to go scrabbling around for them. Scanner Rooms are now easier to use, too, and won't show you items that you've already picked up.

The update also ships more than 250 bug fixes, including the perennial problem of your surface lifepod inexplicably drifting miles from its starting point, and a visual glitch that made stars shine through the moon.

Click here for the full update notes.

Subnautica - (Dominic Tarason)


I’ve been meaning to sink some proper time and energy into Subnautica, Unknown Worlds’ game of submarine exploration and underwater survival, but looking at the latest update suggests I might be best waiting until I get my shiny new PC. That’s because the Eye Candy update makes the game (visually) better, down where it’s wetter. Rub your eyeballs all over the update trailer within or take a peek at the full update notes here.


Dec 7, 2017
Subnautica - Hugh

Get those eyeballs ready, Subnautica has received a massive graphics overhaul. This is the Eye Candy Update: Subnautica has never looked so good.

A host of new graphics options are available in the main menu:

  • Chromatic aberration
  • Bloom
  • Lens artefacts
  • Dithering
  • Motion blur
  • Colour grading
  • Depth of field

All together, these options revolutionise the way Subnautica looks. You can mix and match all the options, and adjust their intensity, to find a look that you like best.

Eye Candy isn’t just a pretty face. This update contains a disgusting quantity of bug fixes – Over 250 at last count. In particular, we think we have solved the perennial and infamous drifting lifepod problem.

Miners among you will be happy to hear that your life just go easier. When piloting the prawn, drilled resources will automatically be placed into your inventory.

One big graphics improvement is actually a bug-fix in disguise. Sun-shafts are now properly hidden by shadows. This used to be a big problem inside bases, particularly ones with long corridors.

Eye Candy is not just candy for your eyes: Your ears are also in for a treat. Abandoned bases now feature voice-overs from new voice actors. Have a listen, and learn about what happened to this underwater world.

Speaking of bases, the Scanner Room user-interface has received some serious TLC. It is much easier to use, and more powerful, and won’t show items that have been picked up.

Who likes stargazing? We do! Problem: When stars shine through planets, stargazing becomes weird. Stargazing in Subnautica is no longer weird: We’ve fixed up a bug that caused stars to shine through orbiting bodies and clouds.

The dive-reel has always been a little bit of an oddball item. The intention is to, like a real dive reel, lay a trail that a diver can use to retrace their path out of a confined space. Unfortunately, the reel hasn’t worked so well in practice. So we’ve replaced the cord with breadcrumbs of light. We’re still working on the final effects, but the gameplay change is here now.

Get Development Updates

Be notified the moment we release the next Subnautica Update, by subscribing to the Subnautica Development Newsletter and following @Subnautica on Twitter.

Subnautica - (Philippa Warr)

Subnautica Lego idea

A reader sent me some links to really well-done Subnautica Lego pitches on the Lego Ideas forum so I wanted to share them! Here’s Survivors of the Degasi and Exploring the Safe Shallows. The Lego Ideas forum lets people pitch ideas for sets that they want Lego to convert into real products. You need 10,000 supporters for a set to qualify for review and these are nowhere near. They’re also based on a third-party IP – from the T&Cs I don’t think it immediately precludes a set from eligibility but it would complicate matters. ANYWAY! I just really liked how well the projects seemed to get the sense of Subnautica (look at the peeper fish!) PLUS because the submissions can use only existing Lego pieces you could build them/bits of them anyway. The shallows terrain segment gave me some ideas for building my own reef – not Subnautica-themed – using my young relatives’ Lego collection!


Ever made friends with a fish? Didn't think so. They're generally not amenable to humans, and fair enough too: we eat them. But the good thing about video games is that we can do things otherwise impossible, and thanks to Unknown Worlds, we can now be friends with a "Cuddle Fish" in Subnautica.

"The Cuddle Fish is an adorable companion creature," the update reads. "You may find Cuddle Fish eggs hidden around the world. Those eggs can be incubated in an Alien Containment module, and will eventually hatch into a Cuddle Fish."

So is the fish an alien then? Apparently so, but never mind, because its alien-ness is what imbues it with the ability to follow you everywhere, and to stay in a specific place if you command it to. There aren't really any other benefits to having a Cuddle Fish, but there doesn't need to be any other damned reasons to have a Cuddle Fish.

The video below shows off the Cuddle Fish in action. The update is available now.

Subnautica - (Philippa Warr)

Subnautica Cuddle Fish

Hello! It’s your unofficial underwater correspondent, Pip! I’m here to discuss the latest dance music fish trailer and update info for Subnautica [official site]. There’s a thing called a Cuddle Fish and you can feed it snacks!

Also, do you have any idea how many notification systems I have for news about this game? And if any of them fail I have also apparently trained friends to alert me to news as well. (more…)

Sep 14, 2017
Subnautica - Hugh

Prepare for love, cuddles, and tentacle high-fives: the Cuddlefish Update has been released on Steam!

The Cuddle Fish is an adorable companion creature. You may find Cuddle Fish eggs hidden around the world. Those eggs can be incubated in an Alien Containment module, and will eventually hatch into a Cuddle Fish.

Right click on the Cuddle Fish to tell it to follow you on your adventures. Right click again to tell it to stay in one place. Left click to interact with the Cuddle Fish in various ways – It loves snacks!

The Cuddle Fish Update also includes upgrades to vehicle Head-Up-Displays (HUDs). The Seamoth, Prawn, and remotely operated cameras on both Cyclops and Scanner Room all have new HUDs.

Get Development Updates

Be notified the moment we release the next Subnautica Update, by subscribing to the Subnautica Development Newsletter and following @Subnautica on Twitter.

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