It’s a good time to be a Subnautica fan. The underwater survival game just got a sequel called Subnautica: Below Zero, which is another hit. It adds new items to craft, a more authored narrative throughline, and an entire on-land component.
With the sequel turning Subnautica into a full franchise, fans are left wondering if we’ll get a third game. According to Below Zero’s Director David Kalina, the answer is yes … eventually.
Inverse recently sat down with Kalina to discuss the otherworldly design philosophy of Subnautica (and get to the bottom of who the Lady Dimitrescu of the ocean is). During that discussion, Kalina confirmed that developer Unknown Worlds isn’t quite done with the series yet.
“We will almost definitely do a proper sequel someday,” Kalina tells Inverse.
Fans shouldn’t expect that anytime soon, however. Kalina confirmed that developer Unknown Worlds has a new project in the works, which is entirely separate from Subnautica. While he didn’t share any exact details on it, Kalina says that the game is currently in development and that fans may get some news on it later this year.
In the meantime, Kalina says that the team is hard at work supporting both the original Subnautica and Below Zero. Even if a third game is still years off, Kalina says more “feature work” is coming to the series down the road. The team is just taking time to listen to community feedback before rolling anything new out.
Here’s exactly what David Kalina had to say about the future of Subnautica and Unknown World’s next title.
Are you done with Subnautica after this?
No, we're not. In the medium term, there's a little live team that’s going to continue supporting both Subnautica and Below Zero. We're dealing with a release that's very multi-platform for the first time in-house. We haven't done console work before. So there's a lot of stuff to keep an eye on.
But then beyond that, there will be more feature work. We're not committed to anything specific right now, because we want to kind of listen to the community and see, see what our fans are telling us.
Then beyond that, we will almost definitely do a proper sequel someday. It's just that some people have worked on Subnautica for about eight years. There is another game in development in-house that hopefully people will know about this year. But I think it's pretty safe to say that'll happen someday.
Can you say anything about the thing you're working on now?
There's about a dozen of us who are just working on concept discovery. So we're basically doing that fantasy video game job of “let's just make stuff up and try to figure and prototype it and see if it works.” We're pretty early in that process and it's really hard. It sounds like the most fun part, but in some ways, it's more stressful than just being on a production team where you know exactly what I'm doing. I know what Subnautica is. We're trying to invent and that's a different challenge.
In that same interview, Kalina also spoke about the development team “trying to imagine a Subnautica-like game in other environments, whether it's an above-ground aerial game or a space game.” Any Subnautica-styled game from the team would likely take a similar approach to “a frontier that hasn't been explored.”
“We talked about setting it inside the human body or doing inner space-style exploration,” Kalina also revealed. Whether or not that’s a hint about the studio’s next game remains to be seen. Either way, we’re likely at least several years away from whatever the team has planned next.