Subnautica 2 Dev Says It’s ‘Not Multiplayer-Focused,’ Clarifies Live-Service Aspects [UPDATE]


Updated, February 8, 2024, 10:20 am PT: In its latest financial report, publisher Krafton seemingly revealed that Subnautica 2 is a multiplayer-focused live-service game, causing quite a stir among fans of the series. Developer Unknown Worlds, however, quickly clarified in a blog post, insisting that it’s, in fact, “not multiplayer-focused,” and explained the “games-as-a-service” aspect.

In the financial report, Krafton described Subnautica 2 as a “multiplayer sequel to the original IP pursuing fandom snowballing,” which is a garbled way of describing the game. It went on to say Subnautica 2 lets players “explore an oceanic world in stunning stylized graphics powered by Unreal Engine 5,” with “single or one to four player co-op to uncover the mysteries on an entirely new alien planet,” alongside a “game-as-a-service model with enhanced replayability.”

In the blog post today, though, Unknown Worlds specifically addressed some of the above descriptions with a few clarifications.

“In reference to ‘Games-as-a-Service,’ we simply plan to continually update the game for many years to come, just like the previous two Subnautica games,” it wrote. “Think our Early Access update model, expanded. No season passes. No battle passes. No subscription.”

The developer added that it is “not multiplayer-focused. Co-op will be an entirely optional way to play the game. You’ll be able to enjoy the game as a single-player.”

It also said that Early Access “is not intended for release in 2024, but we plan to share a lot more information later this year!”

Subnautica is a hugely successful indie game that first emerged in 2018, then saw a follow-up, dubbed Below Zero, in 2021. IGN’s Subnautica review returned a 9/10. We said: “Subnautica’s a survival game with focus and an excellent sci-fi story, but its greatest achievement is its underwater horror.”

We were equally impressed with Below Zero: “Subnautica: Below Zero is a leaner, meaner standalone expansion to Subnautica that improves on the story and mechanics, but doesn’t give us as much room to explore,” we said. Subnautica and Below Zero are single-player game, although modders added multiplayer post-launch.

The industry appears to be struggling with live-service games after a number or recent efforts failed to move the needle and some were even cancelled before launch. Perhaps most notably, Sony canned Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us multiplayer game amid a more general pull back on live-service at PlayStation. Naughty Dog will now focus on single-player games.

Previously successful live-service games have also hit hard times. Bungie’s Destiny 2 has struggled commercially, and Fortnite maker Epic has announced huge layoffs. Meanwhile, some single-player only games saw enormous success in 2023, with the likes of Hogwarts Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom blowing up sales records. Rocksteady’s recently released Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League suffered ahead of launch for its association with the live-service model.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].



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