First-Person Pooper: Swallowed Alive In NS2 Combat

By Alice O'Connor on June 24th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. Oh no, I'm gonna do it.

I do enjoy visiting horrible guts. I’ve leapt between the grinding teeth of The Many in System Shock 2, chainsawed a city-devouring worm’s heart(s) in Gears of War 2, and admired a meatwizard’s DIY skills in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Now I’m keen to play Natural Selection 2: Combat, as developers Faultline Games have showed off its horrors of being devoured alive.

Being swallowed by a space-rhino will leave us trapped in its guts, desperately calling for help and pounding on meat as it closes around us and as acids fizz at our flesh before we reach, er, the finale of the digestion process. All from an appalling first-person view. What great guts!

NS2: Combat is a spin-off from Unknown Worlds’ Natural Selection 2, a standalone multiplayer murderfest doing away with the RTS side of the FPS-RTS to focus on deathmatching. The alien lineup includes a giant space-rhino, the Onos, which has the ability to devour a space marine. And unless someone kills the beast to free them or the marine beats it to death from the inside (which they actually can do), the Onos passes them.

After watching the new trailer, I immediately e-mailed Faultline to learn more about their guts.

“We want players to feel not only horrified at the idea of being eaten alive but that even after being devoured, there’s still a chance to destroy the beast and stay alive!” director and sound designer Thomas Loupe told me.

“The player can actually hear what’s happening outside in a muffled tone and inside extremely well. You’ll hear the actual heartbeat of the Onos as you punch your way back out! We’re also working on additional sound-effects to further that immersion of being acid-coated, whether it be glugging as you choke, or screaming at the intensity of the acid bath you’re receiving.”

I am so glad to see guts as a plain old recurring experience of play, not just a special level or extravagant death animation. “Welp,” you’ll groan, “It’s guts for me! Better start punching.”

I’m also very excited imagining players screaming over voice comms for someone to rescue them as they punch and slap at that meaty sphincter. It’s not only removing a marine from the team, it’s turning them into a weapon for the aliens. A coordinated attack collapses because someone wandered off alone and now they really want everyone to understand that they do not want to be in those guts. I remember that happening in the original Natural Selection, and only sometimes in a performative “Oh no, this is gross, save me from turning into poo and falling out a bottom” sort of way. But perhaps I’m too down on Internet players, and too enthusiastic about guts.

“We want to make sure the Devour isn’t just some overly-hyped ability that makes players rage when it happens,” Loupe explained. “That being said, we’ve made sure that devouring another player is a double-edged sword. There’s an equal chance you’ll live just as you’ll die.”

Faultline show a little more in a recent developer video Q&A.

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49 Comments »

  1. Big Murray says:

    I can see this being a novelty and maybe even slightly horrific the first time it happens. By the 200th time, the novelty will have worn off.

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      It’s not novelty, this is a gameplay mechanic that existed in the first and should have been in the second all along. Luckily now it is.

  2. thebigJ_A says:

    I’m not sure I get it. They decided to make a new game stripping out what made the old game interesting and different, so they can make yet another deathmatch game?

    • Skrying says:

      Here’s the thing… the RTS elements in NS2 don’t add much to the experience. In fact, I’d say the real meat of what makes NS2 interesting is how the marines give a traditional FPS experience and the aliens give a real departure from the marines. As well, the game gives you a real choice between run-and-gun and lurking in the shadows. The base building can be replaced by some kind of unlock mechanic/system.

      We could also talk about how in a unfortunately large percentage of NS2 pub games are unbearable experiences because either your commander has no clue, or the other commander has no clue and therefore your team just rolls over the opponent. It’s no fun either way and all too common.

      • tangoliber says:

        The combat in NS2 doesn’t mean very much to be by itself. For me, the greatness of the game was all about having a base…that creepy feeling of going into alien territory with a squad, finding an expansion, and situations that the RTS element creates dynamically.

    • Quasar says:

      Combat was actually a mod for the original NS, simplifying the game down to focus more on, well, the combat. It’s not for everyone – I personally prefer the full experience – but it does provide a quick burst of fun. I suppose this is just the evolution of that.

  3. applecup says:

    one for the vorephiles in the audience, one assumes.

  4. rcguitarist says:

    This looks to be a good game to be playing when my wife walks by to get me a “what the hell are you playing?” reaction.

  5. Skiv says:

    Poop Simulator 2014 GOTY Edition

  6. LennyLeonardo says:

    How is it so bright in there?

    • Behrditz says:

      shoulder lamp.

    • Nurdell says:

      One would think that you’d bring knife to a err guts-to-fists fight but no. Maybe as an upgrade?

      • LordMidas says:

        Don’t most Marines have zippo lighters. A little application of the petroleum based flame around that ringpiece would loosen it up in no time.

      • acid_rain says:

        We’d love to hear your suggestions on our forum.

  7. NailBombed says:

    YOU ARE HUGE! THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS! RIPANDTEARRIPANDTEARRIPANDTEARRIPANDTEARRIPANDTEAR………..

  8. ukpanik says:

    Right click to Goatse.

  9. Nevard says:

    I’m not going to lie, that sounds like an absolutely terrible mechanic.
    Instead of dying cleanly and respawning you have to sit in some pink coloured hell for at least 30 seconds, probably closer to a minute, punching uselessly at it? Useless to my team, unable to perform any actions of worth? I’d rather be playing as the “you’re dead forever, fly around as an observer” ghost than that! Why would anyone think that was a good idea?

    • odkken says:

      Dev here:

      Just to clarify, it takes ~6 seconds max to devour a full hp/armor marine. During that time, if the marine is constantly punching, they can deal ~50% of an onos HP in damage. These numbers may change, but probably not by much.

      • BillyIII says:

        Great, now there are QTEs in NS2.

        • Premium User Badge Cinek says:

          +1. Nothing worse than a random QTE.
          I thought that the recent trend is to get rid of that shit from games, but obviously no – there are still developers that believe it’s a good thing to have *facepalm*.

        • TheRealHankHill says:

          That’s such a specific mechanic for you guys to complain about, if it works why is everyone so butthurt? Pun intended.

        • acid_rain says:

          This ability will not be a QTE. Originally, we thought that having some type of rhythm-based QTE would be fun, but it seemed too comedic and it really didn’t fit with the theme of Combat, so we decided not to do it.

          • anon459 says:

            The game stops you and forces you to do some mindless button input for no reason than because the game tells you to. Sounds like a QTE. Why not just have the character punch automatically?

      • xavdeman says:

        Hey Dev, customer here,

        It sounds like you are adding a cringe worthy and repetitive gimmick for cheap publicity. Would you like to make it plausible within the confines of the story and gamplay you’ve written for NS2? The Onos is a creature that KILLS by stomping and biting, this going by the gameplay of NS2. Its mouth isn’t even big enough to swallow a Marine, armor and all. Let alone that in the past game it hasn’t shown any reason to believe it finds Marines tasty, at all. That Marine would have to be chewed on for a good while first. Thus rendering any scenario of that chewed Marine punching from the inside comical at best.

        Is this “feature” meant as comic relief?

      • EOT says:

        So, what incentive is there for the Onos player to use this ability? Especially if it could lead to their death?

        • pipman3000 says:

          titilation

        • Leb says:

          That is what I am having a hard time understanding. It takes one player out of the fight.. but only for an extra 6 seconds or so from the regular respawn. And if your goal is to take out a good player well.. I imagine said player would be an expert of tearing his way out of you alive.

          Seems like something I’d do to friends on the other team for teh lulz and thats about it…

          • HadToLogin says:

            From what they say, you can’t escape alone from Orbie with same health as you. So, it’s good way to slow down enemy attack or weaken their defense, as team will have to wait for that last player to respawn those few seconds more.

            Also, it’s few seconds when Marine team loses one member, even if he’s not dead. So it’s like special infected attack in L4D2 during horde rush – yes, he can lie there for few seconds, but you need to either get damaged from normal infected to help him, or let him suffer before you’ll be able to help him when you deal with small pests. And when he’s attacked, he can’t use his heavy weapons on rest of enemies.

  10. valrus says:

    Just what I’ve always wanted, a graphical update of the 1987 DOS edutainment game Think Quick!

    http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/think-quick/screenshots/gameShotId,383686/

    Also, slime worm digestive systems appear to have multiple possible routes through them. Who knew?!

  11. morbiusnl says:

    so no borderlands (film) reference?

  12. Tei says:

    This is weird, perhaps gross.

    They could have tried to have something like Alien paintball, with one team painting the walls with alien goo, and other other clearing it with fire.

    I have always found the NS2 design weird, but balanced.

    Has a veteran Tremulous player, I am more acustomed to awesome aliens vs awesome marines vs awesome alien/marine bases. In NS2 everything feels weak to me… but only me, its balanced and ok for the expectations of NS players.

  13. mickygor says:

    Any chance we can disable the heartbeat thing? Hearing a pulse is more likely to make me void my own stomach than the Onos’

  14. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    Doesn’t the guy have a knife or something?

  15. Bahlof says:

    “meaty sphincter”

  16. Reefpirate says:

    So… How come the R6 article is closed for comments? Or are we not allowed to talk about that?

  17. Tei says:

    oh shit, this don’t go here.. *deleted*

  18. drew2319 says:

    Perhaps changing it so it’s not just a boring “keep clicking so something happens” affair? Maybe add glowy bits to punch somewhere in the stomach for more damage?