Developer Unknown Worlds has announced that Below Zero, the ice-themed standalone expansion for superb underwater exploration adventure Subnautica, is entering early access on PC next week, January 30th.
Below Zero was announced last August and is described as a "new chapter" in the Subnautica story, unfolding across a previously unseen, ice-bound region of ocean planet 4546B.
At the time of the reveal, Unknown Worlds confirmed that Below Zero's development approach would be similar to that of Subnautica's base game, and that it would be "carefully crafting" the new experience based on player feedback during a period of early access.
Below Zero's Steam early access page is now live and reveals that development is expected to last approximately one year. The initial early access build, due on January 30th and also available via Discord and the Epic Games Store, will feature around 1-2 hours of story play-time.
"Starting environments are richly detailed, voice acting is present, and bugs are frequent but often not game-breaking," explains Unknown Worlds, noting that "performance (frame rate) is poor relative to what we want in the finished game." The developer also confirms that Below Zero's price is expected to increase by around 25 percent when version 1.0 eventually arrives - it'll cost £15.49/$19.99 USD on all stores during early access.
Elsewhere, Unknown Worlds explained that it's hoping to launch Below Zero's version 1.0 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 simultaneously. "We don't know if we can do it," the developer admitted, "but that is our target, and we'll keep you updated on our progress." The studio is also exploring the possibility of releasing Below Zero as part of Xbox One's Game Preview programme prior to the project's completion.
Unknown Worlds will be heralding the start of early access and unveiling Below Zero's first trailer during a special celebratory livestream event from 6pm, January 30th in the UK.