We've been anxious to learn about Subnautica's expansion Below Zero but we were still caught by surprise as Unknown Worlds Entertainment confirmed that the expansion launches in early access next week, more precisely on 30 January 2019.
In their defence though, Unknown Worlds Entertainment said back in August 2018 that Below Zero will launch "in the following months" in a relatively unfinished state and they're staying true to their word.
The company wrote, "Below Zero is not finished. It is full of bugs. It lacks polish, runs poorly, and is missing features. We are offering Early Access not because we want your money, but because we want your feedback. We make better games when we make them with you."
Well, it's hard to argue with that and we reckon that if more companies were as straightforward about the development process, we would have more games like Subnautica. Just in case you didn't pick up on it from our tone, we found the game just splendid.
The first obvious change that Subnautica: Below Zero brings is clear from the name itself - ice. Lots of it. Players will still be prancing around planet 4546B, only this time it will be in the much colder region thereof.
We have it on good authority that Subnautica: Below Zero will bring some narrative changes from the original, and the new female character is likely to get a voice too.
True to the expansion's name, Subnautica: Below Zero is set to deliver a new mechanic - heat. This adds a brand new level of difficulty, next to maintaining oxygen, food and fluid levels of the original game.
Considering that we're talking about a stand-alone expansion, we're likely to see a bunch of new enemies. After all, Subnautica: Below Zero takes place in a different ecosystem, which the developer will surely use to think up new baddies.
Unknown Worlds Entertainment will be launching Subnautica: Below Zero with a live stream, where we should learn all about the new features of one of our favourite games from 2018.
You can learn more on Subnautica's website, which also has a convenient timer for the live stream, here, or check out more concept art in our gallery below.