How We Approach Story - Subnautica



  • dokisamedokisame Members Join Date: 2020-04-28 Member: 260443Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    edited April 2020
    For me, Subnautica has always been about that awe-inspiring feeling. The cosmic horror, the calmness but loneliness; the game delivered exactly what I'd expected and more about planetary exploration and "unknown worlds". The story of Subnautica was... a bit underwhelming if I'm brutally honest, compared to the atmosphere that it brought.

    I want more than that. It's not that I don't welcome drama; I'm opened to anything tbh; but for me, I want to feel small. I want to feel dreadful. That I am nothing and ignorance. You know, the Lovecraftian feeling.

    That's all I wanna share. Thanks for reading.
  • joachimpjoachimp Members Join Date: 2020-04-03 Member: 259545Posts: 2 Fully active user
    Will subnautica below zero support ray tracing?
  • mulderrmulderr Members Join Date: 2020-04-28 Member: 260446Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Spoilers ahead!

    I'm sure most people love subnautica for reasons other than the story. Clearly it's not the game's strongest point. However, this only shows how much potential there is for improvement. I for one, had lot's of fun in the beta (if you take anything away from this write up let it be this!) but feel the game sorely lacks a coherent narrative that would keep me fully engaged and wanting to come back for more than just pure process of discovery. I've had to largely ignore the little interactions the character gets to have as they unfortunately make little sense to me and leave me mostly bewildered. I would cautiously hope *this* is one of the main reasons changes are being made.

    I very much like the concept of "suspension of disbelief" as sort of a benchmark for what I truly seek in a game. The world and the story need not be believable per se, that would be ridiculous, but they need to be coherent, complete and engaging enough that one would be willing to temporarily overlook the imperfections, for the sake of said story. However, for that to happen the story needs to be, for lack of a better word, big. So as not to leave the player wanting and looking, even if not purposefully, for those imperfections, which are unavoidable. Games, as movies or books, are in a way deception. To that spirit...

    The lone survivor with a link to an orbital space station dynamic has so much more to offer. But it begins quite underwhelmingly. The relation of Robin and Sam is barely existent, almost work like. This is not necessarily bad and we'll get back to that. The big thing here for me is that it leaves so many unanswered questions. For example, why do I need to navigate using terrain and beacons when I have a space station with surely all kinds of instruments onboard exactly overhead? Why do I only ever speak to Sam? Wouldn't everyone onboard and their mother want to know how I survived and naturally have I seen what happened to X or Y? Could they still be alive? Screw the instruments! People would want to know for sure. Go back there and check!

    Along that same path, the single largest issue I had was information management. How on earth is that station (and Sam in particular!) giving me virtually no information whatsoever. They must (!) know the locations of most of the sites that I'm supposed to find. The base must have made some previous transmissions and backed up at least some of the data. Why is Sam of all people wishing me good luck as I struggle to find a research base she perfectly knows the precise location of. "Sam, come in, where is that base again?". ".5 klicks north of your location, depth 250m, look out for leviathans. No, Robin, the *other* north..." is what I would expect, at least sometimes. Instead I can swim right next to it a thousand times and not notice and Sam is up there what? That is a good question actually. Sam *never* says anything about what's going on on the station. Huh. Why is that?

    Don't get me wrong. You can totally go with this but it needs significantly more context. Maybe the evil corp (tm) decided they want to bury that base and all of it's personnel. It's a remote planet, by the time anyone comes to investigate all the evidence will be gone, frozen under hundreds of feet of ice. Maybe the captain is not letting Sam divulge any information because Robin is not supposed to survive! Maybe the only purpose of Robin is to retrieve the last pieces of intel the evil corp needs. Because someone screwed up and it didn't get transmitted in time. Maybe Robin later discovers that Sam is actually a prisoner on the station and has a gun to hear head during every transmission.

    I need to see Robin struggle with how none of this situation makes sense, because it doesn't! I want her to ask what the hell is going on up there, why are they behaving so strangely. Sam does not sound like herself. Maybe Robin figures out some of it mid game, the player could suspect it much earlier due to various hints, and now the goal is not just to survive on this planet but do it in spite of the people up there who want you dead because you know and have seen too much. Who basically give you whatever is strictly necessary for you to do what they need and *nothing* else. Your goal now is to identify your leverage, figure out what they missed, find what you're not supposed to find to gain a little extra edge while not letting them know you're onto them. But not only that, you also need to save Sam. How? You can't do anything now but later maybe you plan to trade her for the data you're supposed to get while also sending a secret cry for help to another station or ship, possibly evil corps (tm) competition.

    I hear you asking (I know!) why doesn't the captain just send another crew down to get what he needs. Good question, and I want Robin, in time, to struggle with this as well. Why does he need Robin at all? The answer is, Sam. She was always the smart one in the family. She realized what was going on just in time after the base was destroyed and sabotaged the stations capabilities, putting herself on the spot, knowing it's the only thing that could give Robin a fighting chance. This is also why she's being imprisoned. Only alive to make sure Robin completes the job.

    The outlook changes when Robin encounters an unlikely and surprising ally, Marg, who has been on this planet for years, knows some of it's secrets and above all has the tech that Robin is not supposed to have available. The reset goes as usual. Access to deeper locations, rare minerals, even more tech, to finally get the data the corp needs.

    Note, almost nothing has to change about game mechanics or locations. You create a vastly superior system of selective pressures to motivate the player through the story. Damn, it doesn't get much more personal than this!

    In contrast we have Al-an. At the risk of being too forward, drop the alien or make it a comedic relief. Let it be a mystery who/what created all those structures. This is the part that's better left untold. If this Al-An is supposed to really help me later then I'd want to develop *some* rapport with the thing to string me along in going all over the map to find his new... vessel. I don't see that happening. I'd rather it was much shorter too. Boom, you got an alien in your head (or you've gone mad). Get these three things. Put it together. Done. So long Alan! The whole encounter instead of having some gravitas (first encounter!) is basically a series of little jokes and a lot of running around. Fine, then just go with it. Let it be the comedic relief from the main story. Let it turn out that Al-an is in fact a trickster finally on the loose and after we complete his vessel he rewards us with, behold... a plunger - he swears on all that's holy it will come in handy in Robins adventures and is the secret to this whole planet! Or something. And teleports away. Poof. That's about as much Al-An as I need, personally.

    Right now Below Zero is a really cool game. But without the story it's never going to bring anything close to the revenue of the Wild Hunts of the industry. If not this game, please, please, plan a proper story for the next one. In the mean time I've already bought and played almost 100% of Below Zero and I'm surely going to play the final version when it comes out in spite of all the above. And I'm going to have fun. Mostly.
  • BurndemonBurndemon Members Join Date: 2020-05-01 Member: 260562Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Sorry but the new story is kind of...hem,worse than before, of course is personal but couldn't be more clichè.I will make some spoiler.

    Before you were stranded on the planet, a archeologist wake up an alien, your sister on orbit, the space station have problem and you end up with that alien in your head because you didn't followed the protocol, not great but nice believeable.Now you are no more a member of the bad society, because they are bad, you managed to steal equipment,aboard the base, jump out in the middle of a meteor storm because your sister is missing and, of course, your sister is a member of the bad society BUUUUUUT she is good and, of course, she disappeared because (who would guess)she find out the bad corporation was studing a virus (let me guess: they want to weaponize it?)and ,since she is an angel (and the smarter of everyone)she sabotate the base and got missing, oh and forget about the archeologist, now the alien is awake because,and we reach it because and etc..etc..Don't want to be toxic is just the first game had a simple,effective and nice story,nothing complex, in this one it seems you want to do something more,wich is nice, but end up with some holliwood/netflix clichè, the good guy is pure and saint, the bad corporation is irremediable bad and we have even the anarchist lone wolf wich,90% sure, will die heroically in some manner against the bad evil corp.
    I buyed subnauitca below zero day 0 because the first one end up really good, i just want to suggest to lower a little the plot,be a little less clichè and take more risk since ,honestly, right now i expected Robin to declare to be a vegan at some point and AL-An start be judgemental against bad evil human who ruin everything.
  • RainbeetleRainbeetle Members Join Date: 2020-05-04 Member: 260688Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    While I agree I'm a little overwhelmed with the big changes between stories, I have to say I love the team's dedication to this project and their willingness to go with what the players want. Personally, I'm alright with changes. I'm excited to see the end result.

    The only thing I ask is please DON'T get rid of Al-An or make him unimportant. The Sea Emperor in the last game was the most amazing creature to the majority of players, and the reason was 1) her amazing alien-ness and how close we get to see it, and 2) her ability to speak to us. It was a game-changing moment in Subnautica, to have this voice speaking to you on a desolate planet. And then when you meet her, you are face to face with a glorious alien creature that could crush you like a bug if she wanted to... But she doesn't. She speaks to you.

    It was the coolest moment, and I felt that moment again when we met, and when we rebuilt Al-An. Even moreso, because this time we didn't know the alien's motives or what they had planned for us.

    Now, I understand changes may be made, but personally it would sadden me greatly if the mysterious Al-An gets removed from the story. Luckily, it seems at this point in time, he's still in the plans for the game! Other than that, I'm happy to wait through the adjustments and changes, and excited for the full game!
  • WheathanWheathan Members Join Date: 2020-05-05 Member: 260721Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Played through 10 hours before the update, then another 11 after the new Frostbite update. I still notice lots of things wrong with the game, (certain PDA's appear more than once, just to do nothing when you pick them up, animals swimming into the walls or in and out of icebergs, or Al-An calling just to say nothing when I answer.) One of the biggest problems I noticed was at times, my vehicle would get stuck, such as after getting thrown by a shadow leviathan. When attempting to get out of the truck, it would either force me out of the map or put me into the water but act as though I was on land. Lots of little bugs need fixing. I'm happy to help and reply with specifics, as long as you need it.
  • KalepsaKalepsa Members Join Date: 2020-05-08 Member: 260795Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Hi Jill, Thank you for sharing your ideas regarding the narrative development in Subzero. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story fragments come together- particularly as I haven't played very deeply into the game yet, so the pieces I have gathered don't add up. It's a little frustrating because, as a player, I am not sure if that is your goal or not. There are inconsistencies which, for me, interfere with the game play so far.
    1. How do you square Isis' work memos? On one hand, she writes that Xenoworks is a "scrappy" "research first" startup, but in the next memo, she uses "more money" as a reason this takeover by Alterra is positive. Is she completely naive or a bad liar?
    2. What is Robin's motivation for keeping the old PDA? From Cal's note, I thought that the original was not Alterra tech and that Robin was refusing the upgrade because of that, but why then, does Al-an say that her PDA is Alterra? "Your cybernetic components bear their signal." Or is this an older model with fewer "safety features"?
    3. the overall tone of both Cal and Isis is weird. I'm reading it as 'You're the best girl! If you sell your soul, I'll give you cupcakes.' and 'I miss you buddy, but tow the line or you're fired'. What kind of company sends these mixed messages?
    4. I'm confused about why Al-an identifies as a collective, but in the next sentence, the narration refers to Al-an as 'he' and then Al-an immediately jumps to human pronouns. Why would Al-an worry about making Robin comfortable about having an alien collective in her head? How is it so easy for Al-an to adjust to that situation?
    I know this is a work in progress. So please take my questions as genuine. Maybe they'll be answered as I continue the game- I hope they are!
  • thedinosaurmanthedinosaurman Randolph MaMembers Join Date: 2020-05-10 Member: 260882Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Thanks for keeping me updated, I love this game and was confused when the game started changing especially the voices but reading this update and how you explain your plans I realized very easily that I can trust you to make another amazing game. Development is development I’m sure I love this game no matter what. I can’t wait for it to come out on PS4 so I can play it
  • MRNasherMRNasher Members Join Date: 2020-05-16 Member: 261085Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    I had little issue with the original Beta story. I do agree that having voices all around you lessened the vulnerability you felt in the original, but i expected this to go down the route of making everyones situation perilous rather than dialing it back to be the same game as the original. You can take the tone and stylistics but please don't give us the exact same plot again.

    What I did come here to say was making such big changes without warning (removing biomes, all voice acting, items, etc) makes it feel like a backawards step. When you DL and update you expect more.. not less. You prolly should have communicated that more or waited till you replaced it with equal content.
  • 666callofdeath666callofdeath Members Join Date: 2020-03-31 Member: 259388Posts: 1 Fully active user
    subnautica below zero is so hard and i like normal subnautica
  • DarkMist42DarkMist42 Bostic, NC USAMembers Join Date: 2020-05-30 Member: 261509Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Met the Eye Jellyfish and found them disturbing (Not in a bad way) But, it would be even more awesome if they would close there eye when light was shined in there face from a vehicle light or anything the player holds that puts off light. Then open it back up when light leave them.
  • OcusanOcusan Members Join Date: 2020-10-16 Member: 264745Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    i wish there was a beacon to see immediately when starting, with zero visibility it makes it impossible to navigate to find the bases. I walk through the flowers then find the water, where sometimes there is a orange bacon that says alterra, sometimes not, if not i run into a huge white rock wall and get eated by the iceworm. I found the other bases, but had to delete since my apartment shuts down the elevator when building the pods. i wish there was a way that it would save in the cashe, like where i can delete from my cdrive, then reinstall where my items are saved. INstead of adding more monsters, i think survival items such as a compass would be added to the tools, and instead of hearing a relay conversation of two people, the player should be able to communicate to the other scientists, not being just a third anonymous player. The avaitor also can not sit down uness you build a pod, & when she sleeps in the bed she sleeps for one second then gets up, what is the purpose of a bed if cant sleep?
  • westjensontexaswestjensontexas Members Join Date: 2020-10-16 Member: 264736Posts: 3 Fully active user
    Thanks for the small peek into your writing process, Jill. It's great that you feel comfortable sharing with the community (it puts trust into many of those who might be worried about the new girl in town).
  • westjensontexaswestjensontexas Members Join Date: 2020-10-16 Member: 264736Posts: 3 Fully active user
    DarkMist42 wrote: »
    Met the Eye Jellyfish and found them disturbing (Not in a bad way) But, it would be even more awesome if they would close there eye when light was shined in there face from a vehicle light or anything the player holds that puts off light. Then open it back up when light leave them.

    haha yes i've had the similar experience

  • AlexxRiotAlexxRiot USMembers Join Date: 2021-04-14 Member: 269116Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Thank you for this information really helpful .
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