Subnautica studio Unknown Worlds has a new game coming later this year

Project M concept art
(Image credit: Krafton)

In October 2021, PUBG Corporation parent company Krafton acquired Unknown Worlds, the developer of the outstanding undersea survival game Subnautica and its 2021 sequel, Subnautica: Below Zero. Today we got our first look at what the studio's getting up to for its first project under the Krafton flag, and it is not another Subnautica game.

Project M, as it's called in Krafton's FY2021 financial report, is "a turn-based strategy game set in a sci-fi world" that's being developed for PC and mobile platforms. Unknown Worlds is aiming for an early access release later this year, and is pursuing an "'easy-to-learn, hard-to-master' formula ... that is fun to watch others play," presumably suggesting the studio is hoping to leverage the influence of streamers.

Even without any further details, it's quite a shift for Unknown Worlds, whose previous works have been exclusively first-person games, going all the way back to the Natural Selection mod for Half-Life in 2002. It's had considerable success with the formula in recent years—Subnautica and Below Zero were both critical and commercial hits—which makes it especially interesting (and unexpected) that Unknown Worlds would change direction so sharply.

The report included this piece of Project M concept art—click the icon in the upper-right corner to see it full size:

(Image credit: Krafton)

Krafton also said in the report that The Callisto Protocol, the Dead Space-alike being developed by Glen Schofield's Striking Distance Studios, remains on track for release in the second half of 2022. Further down the road, Krafton and its various studios are also working on Project Birmingham, an open-world PvP shooter aiming for an early access release in 2023; Project FF, a hero collector RPG, also looking to launch in 2023; Project Black Budget, a PvPvE looter-shooter with no launch window; and Project Windless, "The Bird That Drinks Tears," an adaptation of a Korean fantasy novel series, also without a release target.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.