Feedback for the devs

MilkshakeMilkshake Romania Join Date: 2019-01-30 Member: 249782Members
Hey, I'm a big fan with hundreds of hours of playtime across both games. I'm writing this in case there are any plans to make more Subnautica games.

DO: Put emphasis on the aspects that relate to thalassophobia and the feeling of being shipwrecked, lost and helpless.
The original Subnautica did an amazing job at creating the feeling of being lost in an ocean. It triggered an archaic fear in the players. As the player progressed through the game, they not only got more technology and knowledge about the environment, but they also progressively overcame this archaic fear in themselves. This is arguably the most rewarding aspect of the game. Therefore I will enlist a few factors that relate to this:
  • Have the player start out with being alone and lost, this is a key component in crafting/survival games to create tension. Do not give them side characters to guide them or keep them company. Do not give too much directions with direct signal locations, it feels a lot less rewarding to progress that way.
  • Make the technological progression more challenging. The longer it takes to get your first flashlight, the more rewarding it will feel once you got it. Also, we've had two games by now to get trained, so you should ramp up the challenge accordingly!
  • Make the environment challenging. Do not shy away from making a horrible death area near the starting location of the player (like we had with the crash zone in Subnautica). These moments of terror and helplessness are the most exciting thing about the game (and it is also what makes content developers make your game go viral on the internet). We secretly didn't want the reaper to be removed, but to see a more terrifying beast than the reaper, perhaps even one that could instantly kill the player. The layered depth progress of blood kelp -> lost river -> lava zones, was extremely awe-inspiring. We would like this type of level design to be expanded upon, to perhaps force the player to build bases in such deep underground biomes and become truly acquainted before moving deeper. The extreme challenges of deeper water's should not just include the predators, but also the environment. It is a good step forward that the crystal caves are a lot more violent than the lava zones. But we also need more challenges on the side, like we had with the extreme heat, lava lizards, and lava larvae.
  • Make deeper and darker waters. The main element of the archaic fear of the ocean, is of course, the inability to see what's below you, or in any other direction. Subnautica did an amazing job at giving players an adrenaline rush as they dive into vast open waters where you couldn't see the seafloor or into the pitch darkness of the blood kelp. In a sequel we need these to be enhanced, not reduced. The Below Zero map is much smaller but clearly much more detailed. We don't need a lot of attention everywhere, we need expansiveness. We don't need land gameplay (there are plenty of other games that excel at that), we need the feeling of having no choice but to live in the water (at least until later in the progression). We want more of the feeling of diving into an abyss, such as the void offers. But the abyss should have something to find deep within it.
  • Put more focus on horror elements. One of the most iconic moments in the entire Subnautica series is when the PDA warns against going into the dunes biome "Are you sure whatever you're doing is worth it?". We need more spooky tension buildup through such PDA information, spooky music (not electronic dance music everywhere, like we have in BZ), distant growls of a massive beast that you can't find for a very long time, destroyed human bases with horror story PDA's in them, etc. Also, it goes without saying that the most popular demand from the players is for bigger and scarier leviathans (as we can see from the popularity of the mods relating to such), and I subscribe to that. However, the leviathans, especially the more dangerous ones, should not be too abundant, there should be more time spent fearing the appearance of them from their sound, than actually seeing them (this is where BZ fell short of the original). Another significant misstep with Below Zero was in the writing and voice acting for the main character. She is always the alpha woman who never shows much signs of being vulnerable, afraid for her life, or in any serious way worried. The constant quirky jokes from her and her PDA do a disservice to any attempt to build tension and immersion.

DON'T: Put emphasis on a storyline!
The story is nice most games, but in crafting/survival games it doesn't fit very well. The story elements should be kept to a minimum, so as to avoid creating a linear feeling to the game and reduce the feeling of an open-world exploration.

DO: Put emphasis on non-progress related gameplay features (side content).
The original Subnautica did a great job with the sandbox elements, allowing players to interact creatively with the world. Such elements included the harvestable tiger plants (that shoot), the harvestable and moveable brain corals (that give bubbles), the floaters that could be used to make other animals float. We would also like more emphasis on secret interactions with animals, such as acquiring the stalker tooth, or using the sea treaders poop for bioreactor fuel. The addition of the rare collectible toys and pet fish (cuddlefish and trivalve) is another such aspect that would keep the players interested and engaged in the game, beyond just exploring superficially.

DON'T: Let your game design become politicized. I understand that there is an intention to promote inclusiveness, but doing so just for the sake of it ruins the artistic depth of the game. It is immediately obvious to many players that the sudden change of a character from a white man to a colored woman was done solely for this purpose. The same goes for the PDA voice (who is now harder to understand and yet less robotic sounding). The same goes for the only love story (that I'm aware of) in the series. It is no problem to add pro-LGBT messages in the game if the game's narrative relates to it. The random PDA of the two women flirting felt completely irrelevant and meaningless to the player (there was nothing funny, intriguing, or shocking about that dialogue, which is why it wouldn't have been implemented if it was proposed as an opposite sex flirtation). If you would like to make a statement about inclusiveness, it still needs to be delivered with substance and be relevant to the game, not thrown in there half-heartedly. Consider for example how Dragon Age 1 created an entire social climate of racism between humans, elves, and dwarves to deliver this message in a powerful and meaningful way.

Thank you for reading!


  • DacatsmeowDacatsmeow Iowa Join Date: 2021-05-18 Member: 270306Members
    I would like to have more to build with more to do with surviveing. I find it boring swimming the abyss and have nothing big or scary.
    After a day or 2 there's nothing to entertain yourself with if you play long hours.
    Add in some more things to build a science room were experiments could be done... Idk I love to build and survive in these games but this one is extremely limited with a lot of potential
  • SchulzSchulz Join Date: 2021-05-19 Member: 270369Members
    First subnautica had some of the most horrifying organic scares I’ve experienced in a game in a LONG time. Sequel won’t appeal to those who loved that about the first. I don’t care about a story and frankly, from the reception it’s already gotten, it seems the focus on story elements is a weak point.
  • rcf31415rcf31415 Join Date: 2021-05-19 Member: 270340Members
    1.) I liked the greater emphasis on story. It is unique to survival games and a fresh change of pace. That said the story was a bit bumpy as you found stuff out of order but I would like to see them keep trying. I like how Robbin is here on purpose, it differentiates this game from the original, if they had gone with a stranded survivor again would have felt a little stale. That said please put a great emphasis on deeper darker water. This game felt brighter the deeper you went and sometimes I thought I was getting the fade to black suffocation screen when assenting even though I had plenty of oxygen left.

    2.) I do agree with not letting the game becoming politicized. Inclusion is great but ask yourself if it makes sense before adding so it is not just a forced token. There are a lot of people out there that just find that patronizing. To address the concerns raised by OP: The lgbt relationship seemed forced. there is a research outpost with a dozen or so people so a romance in general feels unlikely and when that is a lgbt relationship astronomically so. If you must include it have 1 character be in a relationship with someone offworld (like so many others are depicted in game) as that makes far more sense then the odds of meeting here. As for main character being POC/woman it didn't matter she was well written and I like her. And for the pda, I have friends who speak in a thicker accent so I didn't have an issue as I am use to it but I can see how that can be frustrating, maybe if they could get a few other people to record the pda lines and make that a setting the player can change?
Sign In or Register to comment.