Natural Selection 2: Unnaturally Close?

By Alec Meer on May 27th, 2009 at 9:29 pm.

O slimy serendipity! The saga of the troubled sequel to one of the finest-ever Half-Life mods may finally be coming to an end. According to the official website, modders-gone-pro Uknown Worlds’ man v beast FPS-RTS is on track for release via Steam this Autumn/Fall. And to help back up this dubious claim, Kotaku have rounded up some exclusive footage of this hitherto super-mysterious standalone sequel, the jammy b’stards. Reportedly the below is entirely in-engine – in which case crikey.

That’s all their own engine, too. While I wouldn’t put money on the game itself looking quite as shiny as this presumably ultra-textured and hand-lit scripted snippet, it gives us a general sense of the look and tone they’re going for with NS2.

That there’s still so very little in the way of screenshots and the like after all these years is a bit of a worry, but Unknown Worlds are so confident the release is finally on-track (thanks to some outside investment) that you can pre-order NS2, in normal or special edition flavours, right now. While it’s obviously a bit of a gamble to do so, it will get you early access to the upcoming beta.

We’ll be seeing a lot more of this one over the next few months, I don’t doubt.

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106 Comments »

  1. Petethegoat says:

    That trailer looks amazing, I can’t believe that’s entirely in engine. Hype has shot from zero to hero very high indeed in very little time at all!

  2. jsutcliffe says:

    Oh boy – the Onos sure looks meaner.

    I was majorly into NS back in the day, playing it pretty much daily from its bugtacular initial release. I had been checking in with the Unknown Worlds site every few months for updates, but was giving up on NS2. I’ll be looking forward to getting more info — it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll compete now the online FPS market is more sophisticated. After all, NS1 only had arena shooters and Counter Strike clones to stand out against.

  3. cyrenic says:

    brb, need to go change pants.

  4. Blather Blob says:

    That’s an interesting take on a collector’s edition, in the form of digital distribution. Earlier access to an alpha, and special, black armor; and still less than most standard edition, boxed games.

  5. Rich_P says:

    Must. Stop. Hyperventilating.

    NS2 could be complete shit, but I’m still buying it at release as a sort of thank you for NS1, which is one of my favorite games.

    How many old-timey NS players actually ended up liking Combat more than Classic? *timidly raises hand*

    Also: $20 for the game is a steal. Wow.

  6. dartt says:

    Classic all the way Rich_P!

    Man! It’s been so long, it’s going to feel fresh all over again :D

  7. Meatloaf says:

    Considering that the original NS was one of my favorite HL1 mods, and is still one of my most revered games to date, I am all manner of excited.

    I like the redesigned Onos, too.

  8. Zyrxil says:

    Too…much…headbob.

  9. Serondal says:

    Zounds! I was just asking about this the other day. I couldn’t be happier that this game is finally coming out! It looks freaking awesome. I wonder what the specs will be.

  10. jsutcliffe says:

    @Rich_P:

    “Combat” came in just before when I considered the community to have gone to piss. The community going to piss caused me to quit NS.

    Coincidence?

  11. Skittles the Pirate says:

    Holy goddamned rocketships filled with yogurt.

    I only played a little bit of NS, but I loved the hell out of it — totally stoked for this.

  12. diebroken says:

    Yehaw! Finally, after all this time waiting the end is near, and it will be very well worth the wait indeed! :D It would be nice to pre-order it on Steam now though…

    Edit: couldn’t wait, just preordered the special edition! :P mmm special black armor…

  13. Kurgol says:

    @Rich_P: Totally agree, have already pre-paid for the $40 edition. I don’t care if NS2 sucks, it’s worth paying that in thanks for NS.

  14. Poltergeist says:

    Never played the mod, but I’ve heard so much praise for it that I’m interested in this.

  15. Theory says:

    I think Natural Selection was the first game I ever played online. It has a special place in my heart. :-)

  16. Erlam says:

    40 dollars… but it’s NS2… but 40 dollars… argh!

    Question, though: Black armour for the Marines – will there be black, erm, scales for the Kharaa?

  17. Tom says:

    I don’t know much about all this animatery-trickery, but isn’t this pre-rendered rather than in game…? Because the environment is shaking and it breaks, which would be extremely difficult to actually implement in game (in this way)… but mainly because the Onos ducks its head under the door, which just wouldn’t happen in a real engine…

  18. suibhne says:

    No gameplay videos and not even a single screenshot, despite a release date in less than 6 months.

    You guys sure have a lot of faith.

    The, er, concept art looks awful pretty, tho.

  19. Serondal says:

    There is no reason the Onos couldn’t duck its head under the door if it is being controlled by a player, maybe he just hit Crouch at the right time ever time of that ? :P

    Man NS was one of the scarest games I’ve played online. Hearing the little aliens scritting along in the darkness and being alone in a hall way knowing that if they attack you from behind you’re screwed so you keep spinning around waiting for death to come is intense :P also being gobbled up by a freaking Onos only to have your mates blow it apart so you can escape is priceless.

    Still it may be pre-rendered ect and still be in-engine just not in game itself. Ya never know though. they have been working on it a long time, maybe they spent all that time figuring out a way to make the onus lower its head when it goes through doors ;)

  20. Tei says:

    I wisth Tremulous continue “evolving”, but seems is stuck, that is a pseudo-good thing for a game. Natural Selection feels WRONG to me, is the erroneous interpretation of Gloom, this, and the use of the HL1 engine. Is a bad engine for a Gloom type of game.

  21. Serondal says:

    I think the worst thing about NS wasn’t the engine or the graphics ect, it was how easy it was to screw up the entire match if the commander was horrible or one person worked against the rest of the team. I wonder if they’ve found a way to counter this at all? Vote kicks are always nice but sometimes people just don’t care enough to type in the command to vote kick someone :P

  22. Serondal says:

    O.o Delete this pleez

  23. koam says:

    oh my! this makes me ridiculously happy.
    i haven’t thought about Natural Selection in a incredibly long time. probably not since i turned in the final build for arguably the worst NS map ever (ns_caged)…

    pre-order imminent.

  24. SlappyBag says:

    All those saying its pre-rendered….. ever heard of an scripted sequences? Obviously its not supposed to be gameplay footage but can still easily be rendered in-engine.

    Meet The Spy for example, thats in-engine but you guys ever see those animations play in-game. Theres a difference.

  25. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Collector’s edition preordered. $40 is worth it for the first Natural Selection; getting NS2 is just a bonus.

  26. negativedge says:

    I remember when this trailer was originally for Doom 3

  27. Tworak says:

    “I remember when this trailer was originally for Doom 3″

    Yeah it does look like Doom 3 doesn’t it.

  28. Digit says:

    Oooooooooooooooh.

    That is all.

  29. negativedge says:

    not only does it look like Doom 3, but the whole “monster banging through a metal blast door” was the first trailer for that game as well, if I recall

  30. Tom says:

    There are a lot of effects applied at any rate! I’d really like to see some proper in game footage before I make any judgement, but I can only hope for the best!

  31. A Dead Eldar Farseer says:

    I wonder who helped them stay afloat…I’d say VALVe but that seems incredibly unlikely, maybe if NS2 was still on Source.

  32. Okami says:

    Doom 3: Revenge of the Rhino?

  33. Sunjammer says:

    It’s not terribly difficult to make an AI duck under something. It happens all the time, FEAR for instance. Hell, even i can set up IK animation blending for that kind of environment response in Unity3d without too much sweat. The kicker of course is to make it look natural.

    That said. In-engine != gameplay. Definitely a cutscene :-P

    NS was one of those games i wanted desperately to be excited about but the gameplay learning curve was just utterly vertical, and the games tended to revolve heavily around the skill of the commanding player. I won’t hold my breath, but i’m glad it’s happening. Wonder if they’ve got Jeremy Soule helping out this time too.

  34. Stabby says:

    The lighting is actually typical of what they’ve been doing so far, if you follow the NS blog. They’ve been making some crazy stuff for their game engine

  35. Stupoider says:

    Don’t forget that even the Infected in Left 4 Dead manage to navigate different terrain, such as ducking and climbing!

  36. Serondal says:

    and bursting through doors

  37. eq2 plat says:

    I must say that the trailer captured me, I’ve tried Half-Life 1 mod before I eventually played Everquest. It seems like they’ve done a lot of innovation here and the atmosphere is fantastic. Will the alien players vs human players remain intact? If it will, I’ll definitely pre-order now! :P

  38. Wedge says:

    The fact it’s actually seeing the proper price for a primarily online game makes me somewhat interested…

  39. Scott says:

    I would imagine that it’s in-engine the same way that Meet The Spy is in-engine; clearly the game isn’t going to behave anywhere near as realistically, but everything is animated using the in-game skeletons and textures.

  40. Theoban says:

    Am I horribly wrong to have to following thought process:

    1) Oh, the corridors from Aliens
    2) Oh, the music from the Diablo 3 Announcement Trailer
    3) Oh, a Triceratops

    Maybe I’m horribly old and jaded, but, erm. I’m probably old and jaded.

  41. unique_identifier says:

    ONNNNOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    i hope they can still climb ladders with their horn.

    i have the fondest memories of playing lan NS1 with friends when none of us knew how to play.

  42. Heliocentric says:

    Hmm.. See, I need 2 copies of this because the other half is addicted to NS1, but do I drop $80 or $40.

    I guess I’ll think about that one, black armour is one thing, but can I get a black Gorge.

  43. Pygmy Shrew says:

    Those saying there are no screenshots etc haven’t (and can’t, right now as of time of posting this comment) seen the extensive insights the team have posted on their unknown worlds site. The demos of their engine, the lighting, the maps, the models…it’s beyond impressive how they’ve gone about trying to make this dream a reality.

    I stumped up the $40, same reason most others have, because even if the game sucks NS was amazing and even the paltry amount given for constellation isn’t enough to reward these guys.

  44. Persus-9 says:

    @ Theoban: No that seems a pretty reasonable train of thoughts to me. Now was thought number 4 something along the lines of “A Triceratops in space! Awesome!” if not that might indicate you’re becoming a little jaded and need to work on seeing how combinations of otherwise generic things can be potentially awesome.

  45. GibbZ says:

    Amazing game. Best FPS I’ve ever played. No jokes. I spent 6 years playing this game constantly and competetively. Very fun and incredibly original.

    http://digg.com/pc_games/Natural_Selection_2_Promo_Site

  46. caramelcarrot says:

    NS1 being the best multiplayer FPS ever made, I don’t feel bad about paying for this. Also, shame on those who say combat is better – the point of NS is the epic games and tactics, such as the one game where we moved the marine base from the start of ns_nothing to the top of the silo hive. In the air. And then when we were finally getting beat, we did a recall beacon to get around alien defences and rushed another hive. Not to mention the comebacks aliens made from a single skulk hiding in a vent.

    @Theoban – It probably means more to people who played the original game, admittedly there isn’t much in there for everyone else.

  47. omni says:

    there are some old videos of their engine for all who doubt:

  48. omni says:

    actually there are others on their youtube as well

  49. PewPew says:

    Special Edition pre-ordered. I hope they enjoy my contribution to one of the most amazing FPS games I have ever had the privilege of playing.

  50. Scythe says:

    Wooooo! Been waiting a long time for this one. The NS forum community has been simmering for a few years now, it’s starting to pick up. Y’all should hop on over to visit: http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns2/forums/index.php