Natural Selection 2: Unknown Worlds Explain All

an unknown man! on an unknown world!

Well, not all, but a healthy “some”. Mostly regarding that recent teaser trailer for the long delayed standalone sequel to the classic Half-Life mod, which delighted and confused in equal measure. I had a quick chat with Unknown World’s Game Director Charlie Cleveland about the most salient points raised by the trailer. Does the game really look that good? Is it really coming out this year? Which is best, daddy or chips?

Clearly the recent footage has sent gamers’ pulses a-racing – but how representative is it of what we’ll see in game? Will it really look that good?

Thanks! Yes, it really does look that good. We’re still optimizing and tweaking of course, but there’s no trickery there. There are a couple scripted bits in there that may not be part of the in-game experience like the Onos ducking through a door, the Onos moving slowly (he’s a playable character and no one wants to move that slowly!) and the metal flaps fluttering when the door is smashed, but I would say it’s very representative of the game.

Are we going to see redesigns for most of the aliens, as with the Onos in this video, or do you plan to stick closely to the familiar?

Some of the aliens changed more than others for sure but we did change the look in the other aliens as well. The old look and new ideas must be balanced, and we nixed some of our more far-out changes, but the aliens look like fresh versions of the old ones. Both sides have evolved since NS1 and for the aliens that means some new squareish elements and armor where they used to get shot. They borrowed these elements from the marines. The marines have some interesting vaguealy animal design characters to their armor, structures and weaponry as well. We wanted all aspects of the game to be dynamic.

Which of the following would you be prepared to bet on NS2 meeting its planned Fall release date:
1) $1000 2) the life of a friend’s cat 2) your own little finger 3) the life of a close blood relative?

Ouch! I think I’ll have to say “#1 for $1000, Alec”.

What does NS2 have to offer NS1 players aside from incredi-graphics?

We are mixing real-time strategy elements and first-person elements unlike any game before us. Like NS1, there’s a full tech tree, buildable structures, upgrades, 5 alien player classes and Commanders on both sides. We also are focusing on dynamic game elements, including dynamic infestation, weldable bulkheads and doors, a “power grid” that can shut down areas of the map and disable structures temporarily and the proverbial much more.

Any concern that all these delays mean you’ve lost support from some former fans?

Judging from the response we got yesterday, no. The pre-orders have been much stronger that we anticipated as well, with about 98% of fans opting for the $39.95 Special Edition instead of the Standard Edition at half the price. If we lost fans, we can’t tell at the moment.

Has the success of Killing Floor, another mod-gone-pro, had any effect on Unknown Worlds?

These guys have done well with Red Orchestra and served as a bit of a business case for us. They seem to be cranking now and it’s great to watch. We’ve also found the Overgrowth guys inspirational, especially with their pre-sales ideas and “open” development style. It’s a great time to be an Indie.

Thanks, Charlie. There’s more information about Natural Selection 2 (including a sudden flurry of site updates yesterday) and a magic pre-order button at the official site. Finally, here’s that video again:


  1. Moonracer says:

    So outside of the scripted sequences listed I saw walking down a hallway with headbobbing, smoke and lighting effects. Not sure what is so impressive about the video. Still, the original was a blast and I’m excited to see how this turns out.

  2. Crispy says:

    “So outside of the scripted sequences listed I saw walking down a hallway with headbobbing, smoke and lighting effects. Not sure what is so impressive about the video. Still, the original was a blast and I’m excited to see how this turns out.” It’s not, really. Apart from how they decided they didn’t have enough control with the Source engine so they made their own engine from scratch, with two programmers, one of which was mostly working on game code, design and project management.

    It’s not impressive at all.

    (No, but I know what you mean. On the face of it it wouldn’t seem that awesome, but when you look at the details and if you’ve been waiting for this game for over 2 years and a release teaser comes out, you get a little excited. Just a little.)

    P.S. I was so excited I misspelt “Just” ‘Lust’!

  3. Rico Suave says:

    Yeah, on the surface you might think, “not so impressive”, but when you look that this is built from scratch by mostly 2 guys, it looks damn good. I mean, the door breakdown, the marine blackout time, the knock back, that wasn’t scripted, that’s all in-game, even the marine at the start (the dude that planted that flag), that guy was a marine with a flag model replacement over the knife (I’m not sure if I believe it, but says it’s so, so I’ll run with it). It looks pretty impressive, and does a good job of immersing you in an impressively built world. It’s all the little things that catch your eye and make a game now-a-days, and I think this game has it.

  4. Erlam says:

    What’s with all the Killing Floor hate? Is it the same game as NS? No, of course not – neither is Red Orchestra.

    I am really, really psyched for NS2. I play with a certain Dude, who may or may not be a Marine, and the fun times on that server are rare. Rare enough that the only thing I get close to that much fun is TF2 on the PoE server.

  5. Heliocentric says:

    PoE? Wuzat?

  6. Ghostunit says:

    Wow thanks a million Crispy! Can now pre-order with confidence!

  7. Jan says:

    Well, I don’t play ns that much anymore. Just got tired of waiting for Ns:2, so I moved on to other games.. So yeah, they lost me.