Subnautica Devs Appreciation Thread

GlitchTMGGlitchTMG Members Join Date: 2018-05-30 Member: 241002Posts: 11 Fully active user
Greetings, fellow Subnauts! With the completion of Subnautica Full Release about five months ago, I'm not entirely sure what the Dev Team is up to lately or just how they are doing in general. But everyone could always use some appreciation to brighten their day, and for successfully completing this game to a smashing success, the Subnautica Dev Team certainly deserves some appreciation!

In particular, I am enormously impressed at how the Dev Team managed the incredibly challenging balancing act of both incorporating early-access player feedback over the course of the game's development, -without- losing sight of the main goals and suffering endless feature creep. There are two things in particular I am especially grateful for, both requests from various portions of the community that keep coming up again and again, requests that the Dev Tam have very respectably kept firm stances on;

One: No Weapons. There will always be segments of the playerbase demanding this, and I imagine it happened quite a lot while the game was still deep in its primary development, but I am enormously glad that the Dev Team managed to hold their ground on this. As it stands, Subnautica manages to, in some ways, be a "survival horror" game without being billed as such, in terms of the emotional impact that it has on players, and that's amazing. The addition of genuine weapons would ruin that excellently-crafted experience and turn Subnautica's emotional impact into "just another action game". A perfect example of this is say, the Resident Evil franchise. The early games managed Survival Horror pretty well. Yet, by 4 and 5, despite being billed as "Survival Horror" in continued tradition, most certainly were not--the huge shift of focus to weapons and combat turned it into just an action-shooter set of games. Maybe fun, but lacking in what made the original RE games great in the first place. For any other Survival Horror game that is widely regarded as -actually good- by the wide gaming community, they all have one thing in common; powerlessness of the player. The good Survival-Horror games, the ones with the most emotional impact, do not give the player any meaningful way to actually combat the frightening things in their games. (A notable recent example is Alien: Isolation; despite having access to weapons in that game, which does lessen its impact slightly, it still manages to evoke the emotions intended by the fact that the player can never actually kill the Alien even with their weapons, only make it retreat for a short time.) Although Subnautica itself was not specifically designed as, and isn't, "survival horror", it still manages to evoke powerful emotions in the same manner, emotions that would be lost if you could swim around shooting up or harpooning all the Leviathans. For the Dev Team keeping to this principle despite whatever playerbase pressure there was or is, they have my appreciation.

Two: No Multiplayer. Almost an identical situation to the above; just like weapons, there will always be a playerbase segment of any single-player game clamoring for multiplayer, if not necessarily overlapping with the ones wanting weapons, and in this regard as well I highly respect the Dev Team for holding their ground again. Multiplayer games are fun, and singleplayer games are fun, but they are fun in very different ways that in many (but not necessarily all) cases don't translate well to each other. It's a little harder to define this one, but a good singleplayer experience is about the player--it's about immersing the player in the world for a personalized experience. A good singleplayer game usually does not have a "set character" for the player but is rich with lore and content, yet only requires the player to immerse themselves as much as they want to in it. Such a game provides the material, but leaves it up to the player to fill in the blanks with their imagination and put things together. Subnautica manages this very well; a player can follow the "plot" as closely and quickly as possible, only stopping occasionally to glance at something particularly interesting to them, but not try to put in time they may not have to do much further than that. On the other hand, a player could traverse the world far and wide, determinedly hunting down every last scrap and breadcrumb that can possibly be found in Subnautica, of which there are many. Still other players could, since the "player character" is a blank slate, imagine a character out of whole cloth and put themselves in that character's shoes, making gameplay decisions based on "what the character would do". Or anything in between in that multiple-dimension spectrum! But the key is that the experience feels to the player like it is about the player, and Subnautica manages that excellently. Adding multiplayer to Subnautica as it is now would not only be a terribly technically-complicated affair to alter the game engine to handle it (as noted in a Dev post I've seen around here) that would suck up time and resources from other aspects of the game that could be worked on and get less out for the effort in, but it would lose a lot of that individualized charm that Subnautica currently has. Now, maybe a hypothetical "Subnautica 2" could be built from the ground-up for multiplayer and do it well (while some other game franchises that, like some Survival Horror ones, started out singleplayer but eventually caved and went multiplayer, particularly MMO, and often not to much success), as some aspects of Subnautica are ripe for multiplayer involvement such as task-delegation of things like explore, collect, build, and multiple people piloting a huge submarine, along with crafting the game with a design philosophy that starts at the idea of integrating multiplayer. But just bolting Multiplayer into Subnautica as it exists now? Not a great idea. Thus, again; For the Dev Team keeping to this principle despite whatever playerbase pressure there was or is, they have my appreciation.

And of course, it goes without saying, I am simply appreciative to the devs for creating this game in the first place! :)

But what about everyone else around here? If there is something about Subnautica the devs have done that has your appreciation, post it! Give 'em some love, they've earned it and then some! <3
Post edited by GlitchTMG on


  • FlametuskFlametusk Sparse ReefMembers Join Date: 2018-01-24 Member: 235582Posts: 69 Advanced user
    Everything that you have said here is true. I totally agree with you. But there are more emotions than terror. Every time I got the resources to build the next part of the rocket, and then finally finishing the game? I have felt emotions that I never thought I would feel from a survival game. Absolutely astounding. Seeing all my hard work paying off was Just so amazing. And everyone can experience the game differently! So open-ended, but still having such an incredible and cohesive story! I love this game so much. And even things such as the Aurora explosion damaging all the habitat compartments near it! Truly incredible.
    It is my opinion that the best place to build a base is the northern end of the Sparse Reef.

    That moment when you accidentally eat the last Marblemelon.
  • GlitchTMGGlitchTMG Members Join Date: 2018-05-30 Member: 241002Posts: 11 Fully active user
    Oh aye, there's plenty more emotion than just terror, Subnautica evokes many different feelings! I am just appreciative of the devs standing firm against doing something that would remove one of them! :)

    But what about you? What are you appreciative to the devs for? :)
  • FlametuskFlametusk Sparse ReefMembers Join Date: 2018-01-24 Member: 235582Posts: 69 Advanced user
    Everything. The wide range of emotions this game has made me feel, basically, a combination of the above posts. It's just so incredible. And they stuck to the points they wouldn't budge on, and for good reasons as well.
    It is my opinion that the best place to build a base is the northern end of the Sparse Reef.

    That moment when you accidentally eat the last Marblemelon.
  • elfcrisiselfcrisis Members Join Date: 2017-05-13 Member: 230466Posts: 527 Advanced user
    I agree with you about the devs sticking to their (metaphorical) guns regarding weapons and multiplayer. There's a specific type of experience they're going for, and those aspects would make it into a different game entirely. The feeling of being on your own, having only on yourself and your skills to help you survive and thrive is both thrilling and rewarding.

    Something I really appreciate is the richness of the world. From playing in early-access last year and since the launch of 1.0, I've played this game through a couple dozen times by now, and I'm /still/ finding new things. There are so many ways to get from beginning to end, and you can take as much time as you like.

    I don't think I'd want multi-player for any other Subnautica games, but having NPC's you can interact with would be fun. Being able to find other survivors or other characters to interact with would have enriched the game for me, but otherwise it continues to be a wonderful experience.
  • PfiffelPfiffel GermanyMembers Join Date: 2018-06-12 Member: 241340Posts: 1 Fully active user
    edited June 2018
    I finally just finished my first play-through and don't even know how to put it into words. I noticed quickly that it was going to become one of my favorite games of all time, so I decided to stay away from the forums and community to avoid any potential spoilers until I actually got through once. But I was looking forward to it and here I am.

    As a fellow game dev, I find what the devs did here and are still doing straight up inspiring.

    The exploration and story aspect deserves an extra pat on the back, I love that it is completely up to the player how much and when to uncover everything that is (or has been) going on. And how - especially at the beginning, with the radio messages - it gives you direction without forcing you into anything. It's fun to discover things yourself, rather than having it spoon-fed to you. It's one of those games where I wish I could wipe my memory of it to completely experience it again.

    It's not without its issues, specifically from a technical perspective, but I think it's showing that they're working hard on ironing those out as much as possible. When I first heard about the game, those were the main criticisms and it made me a bit cautious, so I waited for a while and from what I hear it improved a lot since then.

    I also think weapons are completely unnecessary (even detrimental to the experience) and multiplayer would just make everything exponentially more complicated.

    I'm just happy that the focus seems to be on new content and performance (and of course console ports, a wider audience will be good for everyone), because really that's all I want of the game currently: more. Give us more!
  • GlitchTMGGlitchTMG Members Join Date: 2018-05-30 Member: 241002Posts: 11 Fully active user
    Been a while since I've been about. Some more good comments here!

    @elfcrisis ; it is indeed a very interesting and unique experience in a game that makes you really feel like you are surviving on your own wits and resourcefulness--few games ever attempt that, let alone succeed! And heck yeah, I'm still discovering new things even now as well! (I still haven't "finished" the game yet to be fair, but I've discovered new things even in places I've been before.)

    @Pfiffel ; Oh aye, while there are many youtube LPers who are perhaps slightly on the less observant side (much love to them all, but it's the truth :p ), Subnautica handles the early-game amazingly by providing you hints and pointers, but overall not forcing you to any one thing or spoon-feeding you all of the information you'll need to learn--the beauty of the game is that even for the less-observant players, that's okay because the game allows them to take it at their own pace! The devs have just put so much amazing work into this game, and it does indeed really show with how committed they've been to squashing bugs and making sure the experience is as smooth and streamlined as possible.

    What about anyone else? Who else has some love to share for the devs? :smiley:
Sign In or Register to comment.