Subnautica: Below Zero project lead talks co-op & VR support

We recently caught up David Kalina to talk about Subnautica: Below Zero and the possibility and challenge of highly requested features.


Subnautica: Below Zero represents an all-new chapter for the sci-fi aquatic adventure survival game. It brings us to another part of the world introduced in the original Subnautica and allows us to explore an all-new gorgeous environment teeming with life – some benign, some hostile, and all of it mostly wondrous. Having recently launched Subnautica: Below Zero, we caught up to Unknown Worlds Entertainment’s David Kalina to talk about Below Zero, as well as the possibility, challenge, and future of official co-op and VR support in the game.

For Kalina and the team, co-op couldn’t just be a thing they mashed into the game. Subnautica: Below Zero is a very neatly crafted experience. The team built it a certain way and, according to Kalina, it would have felt wrong to slap co-op in retroactively and without thought. That said, the team has heard the request loud and clear. Unknown Worlds actually sat down as a team and played the Nitrox multiplayer mod for the original Subnautica and was impressed, claiming it could be a direction for “future work.” Even so, Kalina doesn’t want to build up expectations just yet for something that would take time to adapt and balance in the game.

VR support in Below Zero fell into a similar category. Originally, there was VR support planned for the game, but a big look back at the effort it took to put VR in the original, plus the fact that Below Zero evolved from DLC into a full blown sequel, made it less feasible. Eventually the team dropped effort on VR support before launch to focus on building out the features of the core experience and making sure Below Zero was everything it should be. Kalina suggests it may be something the team returns to later, but for where VR is and the time it would have taken to put VR in, the team decided it was something they’d have to cut from the Day One build, not that Subnautica: Below Zero is any worse for wear from it. We were delighted with the game in our impressions.

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Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 20, 2021 3:12 PM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Subnautica: Below Zero project lead talks co-op & VR support

    • reply
      May 20, 2021 4:12 PM

      Subnautica has sucked me in once again. There's something about the exploration in this game that is just gripping. When you discover a new lab or something you feel like you really found something.

    • reply
      May 21, 2021 8:12 AM

      Great interview thanks for doing that. I'm just now getting started on my Below Zero final playthrough. I hope they'll keep making these immersive first person survival (sometimes horror) games

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