Readers familiar with my articles have noticed that lately I’ve been a little preoccupied with Subnautica, the underwater survival/exploration game. A few months ago I took a shot on this Early Access title and like many other Sub-o-nauts it blew me away instantly. It very rapidly became one of my favorite games, and propelled indie studio “Unknown Worlds Entertainment” to the very top of my “companies to watch” list.
One of the things Subnautica excels at is its exceptional sound design – each sound effect is masterfully crafted by developer Simon Chylinski. Everything from the pleasant sci-fi whirring of the vehicle engines to the distinctive animal calls of each of the game’s exotic alien species adds to the immersive ambience – it’s hard to imagine what Subnautica would be like without Chylinski’s influence. That’s why it saddens me to say that recently Mr. Chylinski was let go due to statements he made on his personal twitter account.
To explain what happened we’ll need to go back a ways. In 2016 Unknown Worlds posted a poll essentially asking players if they would like the developers to work on a female player model for the game or work on other game features. The poll was deleted, prompting Chylinski to make sarcastic tweets about adding “diversity sliders” to the game’s options. At the time, Unknown Worlds wrote the tweets off as trolling. However, further tweets were uncovered with a myriad of other statements deriding immigrants, transgendered people, and other minority groups. When a few larger gaming blogs picked the story up Unknown Worlds opted to cut ties with Chylinski and part ways.
It’s unclear what impact (if any) this will have on Subnautica. At the time Chylinski was let go the base game was already completed and released (Subnautica officially left Early Access and became a fully published title on January 23rd, 2018). Since then the team has reportedly been working on an expansion or DLC, which Chylinski would have presumably been a part of. Very little is known about the DLC at this time other than the fact that it will feature an arctic-inspired biome. More specifically, we don’t know how many new sound effects were planned, if those effects were finished before Chylinski was fired, or if the plans have changed now that he’s gone. We also don’t know if Unknown Worlds has any other games in the works that may have been using Chylinski’s talents.