We're sorry. We're so so sorry. Our upcoming Update Aquatic (Phase One out now in several editions of the game, and in pre-release on Java) was meant to be a pleasant experience for our players. A joyous dip into a wet and wonderful new ocean, overflowing with joy, smiles and laughter!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Because something is down in those murky depths with you. Lurking beneath the surface, below the delightful dolphins, the colourful coral, the terrific tropical fish, awaits a new danger.

Reader, I sincerely hope you never Meet the Drowned.

To learn more about this mysterious new enemy, I contacted the smartest, wisest, most articulate members of the Minecraft community. Sadly, they were all busy, so I had to talk to these people instead:

“I was practising my awesome karate moves,” said local liar, Sid Plimps. “When I punched a zombie right into the sea! I watched him sink to the bottom and decided to follow him down so I could loot myself some rotten flesh for dinner. It's my favourite food!”

Interesting. Interesting and gross. But Sid's flesh-eating story soon took a more sinister turn.

“I swam down to the ocean floor, but the zombie wasn't there – or even any delicious rotten flesh,” Sid explained to me, while licking his lips and rubbing his belly and making me very uncomfortable. “I'd definitely seen that zombie fall into the water. What gives?”

What gives indeed? Sid was confused. Confused and hungry. But he was about to be something else - terrified.

“I was about to give up and swim back to the shore, when I saw the zombie! It was blurry and far away, so I swam close to finish it off with my mighty fists,” bragged Sid, while flexing a puny bicep at me.

“But when I saw it up close... well, I haven't stopped screaming since!” Sid screamed at me.

Was this an isolated case? Or were there more of these aqueous abominations plaguing the once-safe seas? I decided to seek out someone who'd know Minecraft's oceans better than anyone, local fisherman, Matthew Denton.

“I love fishing!” Matthew said to me, even though I didn't ask.

But I did ask him if he'd encountered this strange new underwater mob, the Drowned. Immediately Matthew's face went white, his whole body started shaking and all of his hair fell out, along with all of his teeth. And his arms. It was pretty grim.

“N-never heard of them!” he lied. At least, I think that's what he said. Hard to understand a guy with no teeth.

After offering Matthew some rotten flesh, he agreed to tell me the truth (why do people like this stuff so much?).

“I was fishing on the beach,” he explained. “But the fish weren't biting. Then I had a great idea! Why don't I throw my rod in the sea, wait for a large fish to eat it, then swim down and pick it up!”

That's the worst great idea I've ever heard. But Matthew tried it anyway.

“I was swimming down to get my fishing rod, when I saw someone was holding it,” Matthew recalled. “Someone wrong. Someone not of this world. Someone evil.”

It gets worse. Throughout my research, I'd heard disturbing rumours that these deep-sea deceased had the power to use weapons.

“It was carrying a big fork!” wailed local builder, Jonathan Quibbles. “I thought it was going to eat me for sure! Thank goodness I wasn't standing on a giant plate and covered in salt at the time.” Yes, Jonathan, that sure was a close one.

This 'big fork' or 'stabby stick' or 'impractical comb' that several witnesses described to me sounds a lot like the trident - a new underwater weapon that's part of the Update Aquatic. Players armed with tridents have nothing to fear! Well, except underwater zombies also armed with tridents...

Players on Java can try the pre-release if they're brave/foolish enough to risk encountering these horrors (players on other Minecraft platforms are safe for now - but not for long – the Update Aquatic is coming for them very soon). I've also heard whisperings that some brave souls have explored the origins of The Drowned.

Try to stay safe! And keep watching those seas...

Tom Stone
Written By
Tom Stone