FAQ – Below Zero – Mid-2020 update

This is an unofficial FAQ for the Early Access edition of Subnautica: Below Zero.

This FAQ was last updated on Nov 2, 2020 for EA12 (early access 12).

It is divided into 2 parts:

  1. "No-Spoiler / General Questions" at the top
  2. "Spoiler / Content-specific Questions" at the bottom.

FAQ – No-Spoiler / General Questions

Q: When will the game be released?

A: No one, not even the devs, knows the actual release date. No one knows anymore due to the story re-write and the Coronavirus pandemic. I wouldn't be surprised if the release is delayed well into 2021.

Q: What's the current update?

A: Early Access 12 ("Relics of the Past") was released on Oct 30. This includes the re-written story since EA9. It's a lot more polished now. Most voice lines are now in-game. The ending will be left out until the final release.

EA12 > EA 13 > Version 1.0 (console) > Version 1.1 (release)

May 22, 2020 blog update from the devs.

Q: How do I access Experimental Mode or previous Early Access builds?

A: This is only available for the Steam version. You can enable Experimental Mode to obtain daily updates. For previous Early Access builds (e.g. EA8), use the beta access code, "belowzeroearlyaccess" in the same place you enable Experimental Mode.

Q: Where can I find status updates for releases?

A: Check any of the following:

Q: How far along has the game been developed? How complete is the story?

A: It's almost complete. Feature-wise, almost everything is there. Story-wise, it's probably 80% of the way there. EA9 (Apr 2020) removed 80% the original story and re-did the introduction. Note that the ending of the story will be locked until the official final release (1.1).

Read more:  Critique of Below Zero

If I were to give a personal estimate of how complete EA12 (Oct 30) is compared to what one of would expect of a finished product:

  • Gameplay features: 95%
  • Location completion: 90%
  • Story: 80%
  • Polishing and fine-tuning: 80%

Q: Can I continue my save game between Early Access updates?

A: Not really. If you continue your save game between early access releases, you'll almost certainly miss features or new story elements in the newer releases. The rule of thumb is that you need to restart your save game every time there's a major update.

Q: Why can't I find when other people say they have encountered it?

A: It's likely the others are on the Experimental release cycle, which get updates daily instead of once every 1-2 months. It's also possible you need to start a new save game if a new feature is missing. The rule of thumb is that you need to restart your save game every time there's a major update.

Q: I'm physically stuck in the game and cannot escape from my current location.

A: Enable console and enter either "warpforward 5" or "kill" (suicide and respawn at last safe location).

Q: Should I buy this game now or later?

A: A variation of this question gets asked every week. It's a personal decision. There's no correct answer for whether you should start playing now. Please use existing search results if you really want other people's opinions. If you're looking for a complete experience, I recommend holding off playing it until released. However, this may be your only chance to play through the original storyline. (Use the Steam beta access code to switch to EA8.)

One wise man noted:

You'll get the best experience if you wait for BZ to be completed. Playing it now is basically for us crack addicts who lack patience.

Q: Do I need the original Subnautica to play this? Should I play the the original first?

Read more:  Below Zero critique

A: No. It's a separate game. Yes, you should absolutely play the original first.

Q: I can't wait that long. What can I do to pass time?

A: Whatever you want. You can revisit OG Subnautica and try a super hard "Subnautica: Below Zero (meters)" challenge. Or play "The Long Dark" or "No Man's Sky" (Sorry. That was a horrible recommendation).

Q: Where are all the devs?

A: They're on the Discord channel. Please read the Discord rules first before chatting; it's very easy to get banned for breaking the rules. NEVER ping the mods or devs.

Q: Does VR exist for this game?

A: The devs explicitly said that they're NOT planning to develop VR, so don't get your hopes up. (It's possible there will be fan-created mods)

Q: Is this game scary?

A: Not really unless you truly have thalassophobia. This isn't SOMA or The Forest.

Q: Will Below Zero be available for consoles?

A: Yes, eventually. Devs are working console ports, but they won't be released until the game is done. Check the "Console Roadmap" section of their Favro.

Q: Will there be multiplayer?

A: Definitely not. As stated by Fowlin:

Every time someone mentions "co-op" or "multiplayer" the devs push back the full release date by a day.

Q: Will new Below Zero features be added to the original Subnautica.

A: No.

Q: How come I can't scan in the game?

A: Not all structures and flora/fauna are scannable yet.

FAQ – Spoiler / Context-Specific Questions

Q: Is there a walkthrough for the game? Where should I go next in the game?

A: Yes. See this Steam guide. It contains a checklist at the top.

Q: Where do I find an object, blueprint, or material?

A: Search in the Wiki. It has pages for every object, Data box, Blueprint, and Raw Material.

Q: Are there vehicles are in the game?

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A: Yes, you can find scannable fragments to create the Sea Truck (+ modules), Prawn Suit, and Snow Fox. The Cyclops and Seamoth have been removed.

Q: What rewards do I get for scanning Precursor artifacts

A: See Precursor Bounties

Q: How do I reprogram the Satellite Tower / Communications Tower?

A: You need to find the Parallel Processing Unit and Test Override Module blueprints to reprogram the Satellite Tower.

Q: Help, I keep dying to the cold

A: Growbeds & an assortment of growable plants (e.g. Fevered Peppers) are your best friends. Later on, you can scan a cold suit in Phi Robotics Lab that will keep you warm

Q: Is there a map?

A: There are 2 in-game posters of maps in the Delta Base and Phi Robotics Lab. You will be able to view those maps in the PDA after scanning them.

Q: How far does the story go in EA12?

A: You can reprogram the Satellite Tower. Afterwards, you can visit Marge in her Greenhouse. You can also find the 3 alien body fragment blueprints and construct AL-AN's body.

You can refer to this Steam guide for a checklist of things you can do.


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