Revulsion With Real Guns Inspired Developer To Make A Game Without Them

Revulsion With Real Guns Inspired Developer To Make A Game Without Them

Underwater survival game Subnautica has a lot of things that can kill you. As has long been a point of contention among players, you can't do much to kill things back. This weekend, one of the game's developers revealed the reasoning behind Subnautica's lack of lethal weapons. As far as weapons go, players can kill smaller fish with their bare hands for food. There are a few defensive options against larger terrors of the deep, including a perimeter defence for your Seamoth and a stasis rifle that can briefly paralyse enemies, but your best bet is usually to retreat.

The absence of deadly weapons appears to be an ongoing debate both on Steam and on the game's forums. In September, Steam user Vasheeri asked this question yet again, wondering if the decision was lore-based or, failing that, to maintain the game's balance:

Is it lore baised [sic]? because for all I know something shot/emp'd your ship and thats why you crash in the first place. If the "company" or whatever your character works for does not approve of ruining the ecosystem of this beautiful planet then I say BALLS to that! your ship is making damn well sure to ruin the ecosystem by crashing into the planet, leaking radation [sic] (at least the repears like it) and exploding multiple times sending random crap into the vast sea, whats a few more fish corpses gonna do (no telling how much harm you are doing already with the simple act of removing a floater from a rock, that could of been another floating island in a few thousand years D: )

Soooo, anyone wanna explain to me why this is? (probably just a dev choice to prevent you from killing everything and to always make you fear the random bone shark) but if its a dev thing then i would like to know.

The thread had fizzled out in September, but it returned to life over the weekend. This time, however, Subnautica's game director Charlie Cleveland took to the forums to explain why Subnautica doesn't feature guns:

I haven't read all the comments here, but I'll chime in here, as I'm the main reason we don't have violent/weapons in the game.

Subnautica was being birthed right around the time of the Sandy Hook shooting. This was a particularly nasty shooting, although many people don't realise America has school shootings every day. Every. Single. Day.

Yet, for reasons I cannot understand, our people and the corporations that influence our country want to continue making it easy for people to get, carry and use pistols, semi-automatic and fully-automatic weapons.

I've never believed that video game violence creates more real-world violence. But I couldn't just sit by and "add more guns" to the world either.

So Subnautica is one vote towards a world with less guns. A reminder that there is another way forward. One where we use non-violent and more creative solutions to solve our problems. One where we are not at the top of the food chain.

The response has been met with both praise and criticism by users on the Steam thread, with people debating gun control, as well as Subnautica's lore and balance. While deciding not to add guns to a game is unlikely to have massive real-world ramifications, it's refreshing to see developers be intentional about their ubiquity in so many modern games. Whether video game violence leads to violent behaviour has long been a topic of debate, but Unknown Worlds has decided to eschew weapons in favour of exploring how people can live with — or, as is usually the case in Subnautica, in spite of — their environment.


    And there's the confirmation of what we already knew; Unknown Worlds has forgotten about Natural Selection 2 a long time ago

      It doesn't get more frank than "The community will carry on with the patching. Here are the tools. Bye."

      Yeah. They publicly announced they were moving on from NS2 to work on other projects. It's not like they were denying this.

      I guess they didn't want to work on the same game for the rest of their lives, the bastards.

        I'm usually okay with the moving on thing, except the state they left the game in was pathetic.

    So the message I'm seeing here is that violence is ok as long as it's someone (wildlife in this case) doing it to you? Not having played the game or knowing much about it other than what's described here, why is the player being hunted? Wouldn't most wildlife have been scared off by the crash and be wary of the foreign object? Wouldn't primitive weapons like spears and knives still have practical uses for hunting for survival and warding off attacks? I'm pretty sure if you stick something with a pointy stick a few times then it will learn to stay away.

      The player gets hunted in the same way that a player can get hunted in Minecraft - no baddies are really looking for you, but if you come across them you might want to retreat.

    I don't mind Subnautica, but it needs more content, multiplayer and far, far more content...

    Did I forget to mention it needs more content?

    Content would be nice...

      So would you say you are not content with the content?

        I'm content with not being content with the current content. Are we all content with this?

      i tend to agree its interesting and has potential but yeah needs more content. once you have made a base, there isnt much to do

    I've been dithering for a few months about whether to pick up Subnautica. After reading this article the game has moved to the top of my next game to buy list.

      It's a great concept, and it's been beautifully executed. The only thing I would personally wish for is procedural terrain generation so that you're not always playing in the same map. After you've explored and gotten to know the world, it gets kinda boring.

    I think the developers decision is simply not in the true spirit of the game. You're a survivor trying to protect yourself in an unknown world... there's no way you're not going to come up with at least a makeshift speargun to hunt your food and protect yourself. It was the first thing I thought of when I ran into my first dangerous creature.
    But in reality, all they've done is just add more effort to killing things. I mean, It's not like you can't freeze a creature with the stasis gun and stab it to death. I've done it several times to dangerous creatures I don't want in a particular area while I'm swimming about. It just takes a little more work but it's doable. And you can always ram creatures with your Seamoth until they're dead, the cost of that again is a little time and effort to repair the vehicle so really it's no big deal.

    The guy is an SJW cancer cell. Infecting the game with his backwards politics while firing others for their own political views. He's a bigot and a fascist.

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