Image via Mojang

Have you ever seen an underground lake before? I mean, I haven’t, but the idea is fascinating, isn’t it? An entirely self-contained body of water dwelling beneath the surface of the Earth; who knows what kind of wacky life forms and geological developments could arise in such a place? Well, I find spelunking terrifying, so that’s why I’d rather just experience it by playing Minecraft. Of course, we won’t be experiencing such a thing until the next major Minecraft update comes out, which is… when again?

During Minecraft Live 2020 last October, the devs offered a sneak peak of the next major Minecraft Bedrock Edition update, version 1.17. This update, named “Caves & Cliffs,” will add a slew of new features and changes that emphasize, what else, caves and cliffs. It stands to be a pretty substantial update that could completely change how certain aspects of the game work. So when’s it coming out?

When Does Minecraft 1.17 Come Out?

Well, we don’t know yet. During the Minecraft Live presentation, the team didn’t have any concrete release dates for us beyond “mid 2021.” So, if I were to make an educated guess, probably sometime around this summer. Hey, better to have a major content update during summer vacation, right?

1.17 will definitely be worth waiting for, though. The update is intended to overhaul the generation of caves and cliff faces in the world. Caves, for instance, will be able to host their very own biomes, including lush, vine-covered walls, maze-like meshes, and deep, dark depths. Cliff faces can now receive a dusting of falling snow, and you can even encounter goats perched in high places.

Interestingly, the deep dark cave biomes will also play host to a new mechanic: echolocation. A new mob known as a Sculk Sensor will appear exclusively in these biomes, sort of like echolocating seaweed. When it detects movement nearby, even through walls, it vibrates, and it can even be used as a wireless redstone relay. Alongside the Sculk Sensor comes a new hostile mob known simply as the Warden. A massive monster, taller than an Iron Golem, the Warden compensates for its blind eyes by hunting with the same echolocation used by the Sculk Sensor. When it hears you, it’ll come running, and you do not want to be around when it shows up. 

A beta version of 1.17 is currently available to play, though it only includes some of the simpler features like powdered snow and goats. For everything else, you’ll just have to cross your fingers and keep waiting.