A brief-ish history of the Nether

What were we thinking??

Have you ever been to the Nether? I accidentally yet gracefully fell into a portal the other day and all of a sudden, I was surrounded by lava and a pack of Piglins started chasing me. The amount of lava bordered on gratuitous and I did not appreciate the Ghast that screamed back at me. When I finally made it back to the safety of my chicken-filled pit, I dutifully added this to my list of things to change around here. If I was going to get rid of the Nether, I would have to find out everything I could about it. This was conflicting, as learning is constructive (yuck!) but would give me the chance to bother some of the developers (yay!). 

The first shock came when I discovered that the Nether didn’t exist in the very first version of the game, it was voluntarily added as a map in 2010. This means that it wasn’t just there all along and we did our best to add stuff to make the game less terrifying. It was added to make it more terrifying. Who would greenlight this, why would anyone even want to go there at all? 

I love that Nether is so different from Overworld. I go to Nether either because I want an extra challenging adventure, or because I want to gather some nice Nether resources.

-Agnes Larsson, Vanilla Minecraft Game Director

Resources, eh? That’s just a fancy word for stuff, which I like. Alright, I can almost see the appeal. Let’s take a look at some of the items that were added early on in order to lure players to their demise next adventure.

Let me get this straight. Not only were there misleading block shaped mobs and deceptive sand, this cursed dimension is also crawling with ghasts and zombified piglins. And people went still went there on purpose? 

Yes, so we updated it!


Et tu, Agnes? I thought the Nether Update was just a fever dream, but I guess I didn’t just dream that I was bartering with a particularly rude piglin after attempting to mine netherite. Don’t even get me started on the hoglins. They know what they did. Let’s take a nice stroll through the forests together with Agnes instead. 

Will this madness never end? That’s it, I am abandoning Agnes in the woods. I wonder what’s going on with Minecraft: Dungeons these days.

I am super excited for everyone to be able to play the Dungeons Nether and explore it!

-Laura de Llorens, Senior Game Designer

Wait a minute. The Nether is in Dungeons as well? But I’m already here! It’s too late to turn back! Laura, please tell me that the Dungeons Nether is really different from Vanilla and not scary or filled with lava. 

The main difference, I would say, are the art possibilities we have in Dungeons – the lighting, the glowing vegetation, the VFX... It allowed us to make the nether lusher in some places and spookier in some others! I would say the most challenging has been trying to convey the feeling of the Vanilla Nether, while giving it the Dungeons touches. It has been tricky at times to find the right balance, but I think the final result turned out great!


Now you tell me. OK, I need to get myself together so I can figure out how to get out of here. I’ll just take a seat on this block and think of a plan. 

I cannot believe I fell for this again! I need to get away from this sentient block as quickly as possible. A task that would have been made much easier if there weren’t lava everywhere. We really did bring a lot of stuff over from the Vanilla Nether. Is there even anything left over there? I need some help, why didn’t the rest of the Editorial Team come with me? We have cross-platform play for a reason! Oh, good. Here comes some nice piglins with what looks like a snack. A picnic would really hit the spot right now. 

I did not sign up for a food fight! Or did I? This place is pure chaos! I’m getting attacked left and right, I can’t tell up from down, and I keep getting distracted by all these nice new Gilded items. Don’t judge me, you wouldn’t be able to keep your eyes off enchanted gold stuff either. Hold on. Did you hear that? It almost sounded like a ghast, but nobody would be reckless enough to have brought them all the way over to Dungeons. 

You mean to tell me that not only are there ghasts here, but I now have a baby ghast as a pet? The audacity. How am I supposed to continue my campaign against the Nether when I have this adorably albeit terrifying mob in my care? This almost feels like it was planned in order to thwart the very real threat that I posed to the Nether’s existence. There have got to be clues to this conspiracy, maybe they’re hiding in the Dev Diaries episode about the Flames of the Nether DLC

I hope that we all learned something from this ordeal so that I didn’t burn most of my hair off for nothing. On the other hand, I am enjoying this strider chic vibe that I now have, so maybe the Nether isn’t all bad. It does make for an exciting adventure and the resources are pretty sweet. I think I’ll just narrow my campaign down from getting rid of the Nether to banning all magma cubes, or at least renaming them to Sentient Deception Blocks. 

Sofia Dankis
Written By
Sofia Dankis