Subnautica: Below Zero Guide – Release Date, Early Access, FAQ

We're taking a look at the eagerly anticipated launch of Subnautica: Below Zero!

Our Subnautica: Below Zero Guide walks you through all you'll need to know for this new stand-alone expansion for Subnautica. We've got a bunch of general information about the game, as well as information on release dates and which platforms it will be supporting!

Subnautica: Below Zero is a stand-alone expansion to the very popular Subnautica. There's a bit of confusion around the release, people have assumed that this is a DLC for the original game, but this is not the case. This is completely separate from the original game.

What is Subnautica?

It's a survival game that has you inhabiting an alien world in a mostly underwater environment. You explore, collect, and create equipment to aide your survival. You'll also need to monitor your oxygen levels, food, and water intake to keep yourself alive. As you make your way deeper into the game, you will unlock the mysteries of the planet and get access to more and more advanced equipment. Below Zero takes you on another adventure on the same planet, but in a completely new game.

Below Zero FAQ

Here's a quick look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Subnautica: Below Zero.

Is Below Zero a DLC? Do you need to own the original Subnautica?

It is not a DLC and you do NOT need to own the original Subnautica. This is a stand-alone expansion, so if you've never played the original you can purchase this and play it if you'd like. If you got the original when it was from in the Epic Game Store, you can purchase it on Steam (if you prefer) with no issue.

Is Subnautica: Below Zero Free?

No, it's not free. This is a full stand-alone expansion for the game Subnautica.

What is a "stand-alone expansion" and how is this not Subnautica 2?

This concept is a bit confusing because an "expansion" in gaming has had a different meaning in the past. DLC now means content you can download and add to a currently existing game (which is what an expansion was). An expansion now generally refers to a new game using the same engine and graphics from the original game. The series Far Cry has done this most recently. They put out a full version of a game (Far Cry 5) and then they will use those assets and resources to create another game like they are doing with Far Cry New Dawn.

Are we exploring a new planet?

No, the planet is the same as the one we explored in Subnautica, but it is focused on a different region. This new region is in a particularly cold part of the planet, so managing your temperature will likely become a survival aspect of the game.

Will there be Multiplayer or Co-op?

No, it will be a single-player only experience. It's possible that a mod could be made for co-op in the future like the original Subnautica.

Subnautica: Below Zero Release Date

The early access release for Below Zero is set for January 30th, 2019 (there's a countdown on their official page). This is not the full release, and just like the original Subnautica it will be in early access for the foreseeable future. This allowed the development team to evolve the game over time based on consumer feedback. It worked very well, but expectations will be a lot higher this time around, so we'll see how it plays out.

It looks like they are currently targeting October 2019 for a full release (according to the Favro information), but this is not official and hasn't been announced.

Subnautica: Below Zero Platforms

The first release of the Below Zero early access will only be available for Mac & Windows PC. They are actively working on bringing the game to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but the release date for consoles is unknown at this time.

What's New in Below Zero?

With the new settings coming to Subnautica, we're getting a bunch of new creatures, locations, and vehicles!


Lots of new creatures and some originals with an arctic twist! Keep in mind that the game is early in the process, so some of these might not end up in the full release. Here's a list of creatures from the official Below Zero Favro where they keep track of their development. Spoilers are below, if you want to go in fresh then I wouldn't read any further.

  • Arctic Peeper
  • Arctic Ray
  • Arrow Ray
  • Brute Shark
  • Brinewing
  • Discus Fish
  • Glow Whale
  • Ice Worm
  • Large Bird
  • Lilly Paddler
  • Noot Fish
  • Penguin
  • Penguin Child
  • Pinnacrid
  • Rock Puncher
  • Sea Monkey
  • Shadow Leviathan
  • Skyray
  • Snow Stalker
  • Spikey Trap
  • Spinner Fish
  • Squidshark
  • Symbiote
  • Titan Holefish
  • Triops
  • Trivalve


While all vehicles focused mainly on undersea travel, it looks like we're going to be doing a lot more surface exploration in Below Zero. The introduction of the Snowfox (Hoverbike) gives us a strong sense that we'll be traversing the icy terrain of the planet.

  • Prawn Suit - The Prawn Suit is back and looks to have an even bigger role in this game than the past. The suit is getting a new move called the "powerslide" that will allow you to glide across the seafloor rather than walk on it.
  • Snowfox - A land only hoverbike that will require the construction of a Hoverpad to craft.
  • SeaTruck - A modular vehicle that allows you to create modules that you can attach to it. This will allow for further upgrades the deeper into the game you get.


One of Subnautica's most notable features were the amazing environments you would find yourself in when exploring around the vast ocean. We're hoping that Below Zero is no different, so here's a look at some of the potential areas that we'll get a chance to explore.

  • Arctic Kelp Forest
  • Arctic Spires
  • Deep Arctic
  • Deep Twisty Bridges
  • Iceberg
  • Lilypad Islands
  • Ocean Ridge
  • Rocket Island
  • Shallow Twisty Bridges
  • Sparse Arctic
  • Arctic Kelp Caves
  • Crystal Caves
  • Deep Lilypads Cave
  • Methane Ice Caves
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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. If you buy the early access on steam (I am a new steam user and have not learned how this stuff works yet) will we have to pay again for the full release of the game? Or does the early access just update and become full release (once it has gone through the stages of being developed fully)?

    1. No, you get all further updates and the completed game!