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Subnautica: Below Zero officially announced so stay frosty

Unknown Worlds
Logo for Subnautica: Below Zero
Subnautica: Below Zero

Unknown Worlds Entertainment's excellent undersea alien planet exploration game is getting a standalone addition to its world - and this time you're going to be freezing your flippers off. Planet 4546B has got a lot more to offer.

Subnautica's standalone addition Subnautica: Below Zero has been officially announced - and the rumours are true. We're going frosty.

Unknown Worlds Entertainment's subsea alien exploration game is taking us to a new ice-bound zone on planet 4546B, the setting of the original title.

Beyond the polar environment, not a great deal is known - and we don't want to spoil the original game for those beginning their journey into the depths. However, it looks like at least one familiar character has survived to feature in the frozen deep.

Altchar has also got an authoritative source who tells us to expect some narrative changes from the original story, with the possibility of the new female player character gaining a voice.

The sparse but compelling story telling of Subnautica was one of the strongest features of the game for this author - actually going so far as to make us want to play games with stories again. So we're hopeful for Below Zero.

Unknown WorldsAir cushion vehicle amidst ice spires in Subnautica: Below ZeroSubnautica: Below Zero - hovercraft on ice concept art.

Right now, we're seeing a bunch of concept art - but it's looking good if Unknown Worlds can deliver even a portion of it. 

As well as the threats to survival we all know and love/hate from Subnautica, it seems some kind of thermal mechanic will be at play in Below Zero. So even those players who've overcome the challenges of the original will have something new to tackle - as well as some new horrors of the deep, in the shape of creatures that want you for their frozen ready meal.

Unknown WorldsMeeting strange form of life above the water in Subnautica: Below ZeroSubnautica: Below Zero - strange lifeforms concept art.

And if you've ever watched a documentary on how weird creatures who live beneath our own Arctic can get - then you'll have an idea of the kind of material the developers and writers have to play with.

It also seems we're being pointed towards some kind of survey and/or research mission as a plot-line, rather than being a survivor of a crash.

Unknown WorldsMeeting new and remarkable undersea creatures in Subnautica: Below Zero Subnautica: Below Zero - alien life under the freezing water concept art.

Concerning release, the studio says: "In the coming months, we will release an unfinished, early version of Below Zero in Early Access. We will then begin releasing consistent content updates, carefully crafting the game based on your feedback - Just like the original Subnautica." They've also made their Trello development board public.

Unknown WorldsExploring above the frozen water in Subnautica: Below ZeroSubnautica: Below Zero - above the ice concept art

We're confident that we're going to see a game as immersive as the original, with the base building, the discoveries, the monsters, the strange noises - and the downright fascinating loneliness that we've come to enjoy.

Remember: Your PDA is your only friend. Because Alterra ain't.