Yes: Natural Selection 2 Beta Game Footage

Ooh, we’ve got the first official game footage trailer from the Natural Selection 2 beta! The hybrid RTS-FPS multiplayer sequel is in pre-order-based beta at the moment, where it is being tweaked and honed and squeezed into shape by the testers and developers alike. For those of us who haven’t dared dip in, however, it’s not been clear quite how this thing plays. Unknown Worlds have addressed that with a brand-spanking new video, which you can check out below. It shows the RTS mode, as well as lashings of combat. There’s also perspectives from both alien and marine side, giving you an idea of how the game should play out.

And it looks good.


  1. Richard Beer says:

    Hybrid RTS/FPS games should henceforth be known as RPS games.

  2. Rich says:

    Very nice. The commander view looks great. Makes me think of Alien Swarm with actual people playing the little men.

  3. Daave says:


  4. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Hopefully this sequel will do Natural Selection 1 the justice it so deserves!! Here’s hoping!

  5. Richard Beer says:

    Also, why are the marines of the future never anywhere near the sea?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Space is the new sea.

    • Rich says:

      I think it’s pretty much the consensus within sci-fi that space and interplanetary combat will be done by navy-like branches of the military, which includes marines. To be honest, something more akin to an air-force, with airmen as foot soldiers, is more likely.

    • Shockwave says:

      The mapping tools are available if you’ve ordered. Create an underwater themed map, and we can see drowning added to the already huge number of ways a TSA Marine can join the respawn queue.

      Well, that and probably giving the UWE guys a whole new raft of things to worry about, coding wise.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @ Rich: I think spacecraft, whether manned by a small crew or large crew, are going to be much more like submarines and aircraft carriers than they are F-16s and B-52s.

    • Sassenach says:

      Spacecraft the size of battleships are cooler then spaceships the size of fighter planes, see the likes of Gratuitous Space Battles. Thus the naval skew.

      I’ve played the alpha a bit, having pre-ordered the normal version a while back. While the engine and tools released are stunning I wasn’t having that much fun in the game, although I confess that is probably because I was being beaten horribly. There are some performance issues and still a fair bit left to go in in the way of features, but I trust both these points will diminish as development progresses I think if I figure out precisely what I’m doing wrong it might be a good deal of fun.

    • lurkalisk says:

      A marine is a member of a military in an infantry or amphibious force under the authority of a navy that is trained and equipped to fight across/between naval and land combat zones (potentially space and surface respectively).

      Therefore, if people designate space warfare as the territory of a navy, most infantry would be marines. If they don’t, we’ll have some really dumb names and even more subcategories for the various functions of space warfare that don’t fit someone’s odd definition of “air force”.

    • stuntaneous says:

      Corporations will be travelling the stars, not governments.

  6. starclaws says:

    Space is a vast sea. But they are coming along quite well on this game. There’s already atleast 15 user created maps before it has been released as well. There still a lot to do and a possible major implementation of the dynamic infestation soon.

  7. vash47 says:

    Looks very good. I was completely uninterest in this game before this.

  8. Pie21 says:

    This video makes it look much more fun that it was when I was running around in an empty server. Hopefully it’s picking up.

    • PaiSand says:

      Try to join a server with people in it. I always play with at least 4 players on each side.

  9. Vandelay says:

    I’ve been on the “beta” for a few weeks and it really is quite a mess at the moment. The very poor netcode has meant that I’ve not actually been able to play a real game so far. Even if I had, the servers only seem to be for very small numbers. A twelve player server was the highest I’ve seen, with six or eight being the norm. Could be a result of the netcode or the extremely cramped maps on offer.

    There is still a long way to go with this one.

    • PaiSand says:

      I have played on 8v8 with just a little lag due to the fact that I’m from Argentina and I was playing on an AU server. I have an almost perfect performance on USA servers. Of course, it all depends on the hardware where the server is running too.

    • Lilliput King says:

      It’s come on a long way, especially over the past two weeks. 6 v 6 is actually playable now!

      …You’re right, it’s got a long way to go.

    • Flayra says:

      Thanks everyone! Glad you’re digging the trailer, but I wanted to take a second to clarify something.

      We’re a small independent studio (7 desks right now), so we don’t do things like the big companies. Can’t and won’t. NS1 showed us how important feedback was so we wanted to give early access to our supporters and leverage them as a testing resource. So instead of having the beta as a secret internal process we just released it to the 16,000+ people that pre-ordered.

      Mainstream, heavily-funded companies would never release a beta publicly, and even the public “betas” you see are really more like demos than actual betas. We’ve learned tons about our game very quickly and taken loads of feedback.

      We’re still finding our way through this process, but with your help, we’re improving the game faster and making the game closer to something you actually want to play than we ever could’ve hoped if we tried to do it alone. We’re patching every week, sometimes twice a week. Finally, we’re really glad we didn’t have to bring in a publisher who would try to tell us all about “the market” and “the player”. Releasing the game in its early state has allowed us to retain our independence and stick to our vision.


    • Quasar says:

      A) ZOMG FLAYRA *bow* etc

      B) People really shouldn’t play beta if they’re expecting it to be as polished as a finished game. That’s not what beta means.

      C) That said, I’ve been playing NS2 since alpha, and it’s pretty damn impressive for a beta. Sure, there are some pretty severe lag issues at times, but it’s already a playable and enjoyable game.

    • Kevbo says:

      This is a true beta and not just a demo like most ‘betas’ these days. The team is making great progress so it will only get better :)

  10. Maykael says:

    I just love PC gaming! :D

  11. supdude says:

    LOOKS good, yes, but still buggy as shit. You can’t even have a semi-descent game.
    All these people in the beta and no one’s playing at all.

  12. supdudee says:

    LOOKS good, yes, but still buggy as shit. You can’t even have a semi-decent game.
    All these people in the beta and no one’s playing at all.

    • Scythe says:

      Recent patches have brought the game a long (long) way. I’ve had a few good games with build 157, my list of “must-fixes” now has more balance problems than bugs. Performance still ain’t too hot, though. The B157 blog post features two videos by NS2HD showing actual, unedited gameplay, check it out of you want a look at what’s now possible.

    • Lilliput King says:

      There’s more players around than I expected actually. You can pretty much always find a game.

    • mod the world says:

      Dunno what time-zone you are in, but as european i have more than decent games each and every day.

  13. Quintin Smith says:

    Ooh, it does look good, doesn’t it. Unknown Worlds are going to become a bit more Known.

    • Chalky says:

      They’re doing a really good job. It’s fascinating being part of the beta – the game has gone from basically unplayable to an extremely promising and fun experience, every patch they release seems like a step in the right direction. Their progress tracker is available here: link to for anyone who’s interested in seeing how development is going.

    • CJohnson03 says:

      It’s pretty cool to see the development of the game from patch to patch, they started out totally unplayable, but they’ve been fixing the biggest bugs pretty much weekly. It’s good that they can catch this stuff now, instead of when it’s finally released for reals..

  14. fearian says:

    Here’s a tip from a die hard fan who paid for the game about a year and a half ago – wait a few months. Unknown worlds entered beta way to early in my mind. The game is close to playable but results vary wildly from one person to the next.

    That said, if you know your going to be buying this down the line, buy it now. The Dev’s need all the support they can get and I have no doubt this will turn out to be a very polished piece of work when it crosses the finish line.

    • PaiSand says:

      You are used to the final releases called “beta” by the major companies.
      Those are not beta, are actually the final product. If you have the luck to get into a real beta testing (closed early beta) then you can tell the difference.

      Every time I play a so called open beta and then they release it, you see that is the finish product is same thing as the open beta. Perhaps minor bugs fixed, but is the same thing.

      In the old days a beta was exactly as NS2 is right now.
      What you get as open beta is a release candidate, still beta but a finished product that needs the stress test of managing thousands of players.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I’ve seen these discussions on the NS forums too. The semantics of the word ‘beta’. A lot of people don’t think the word actually matters but that’s untrue. If I sold you a toothbrush that turned out to be a wirebrush you might be able to follow why. I was sold a beta. Supposedly. By my own understanding of what a beta is, I was misled.

      The reason big or small companies will release open or closed betas is typically (as I understand it) to do with stress testing small values in multiplayer contexts to fine tune balance in a way that playtesters cannot. Playtesters and devs will learn tricks and become too used to the game in general. They will know too much and be too good, basically. With that in mind, the squealing masses are let loose to discover where real balance issues lie. In beta patches you want to see change lists like “Splash radius on grenade reduced from 300 to 270” and “Reload of flame thrower now up from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds”.

      The reason I have come to understand that ‘beta’ means this is because you don’t really get people clamouring for beta access to single player games. I’m sure there are examples of beta releases for Metro 2033 or “Other purely Single Player experience” but mainly beta is focused now around multiplayer and it is in the interests of fine tuning, balance and fairness.

      I have every faith that NS 2 will be a great game but I think the developers are getting ahead of themselves. Something that made NS very valuable was the fact that they kept the lid very tight on the game until it was good and ready. I am also aware of the incredible pace of change in NS 2, with updates sometimes coming through twice a day. Considering all this, I think it would be best to say NS2 is about ten months away from a really polished gaming experience.

      So just like Fearian says, consider a purchase now to be an investment in the games continued development.

  15. CreepingDeath says:

    Why do the aliens have eyes in their mouths? -.-

    • toaster says:

      Why do Alien mouths have alien mouths in their mouth?

      *Yo dawg, I hear you like eating marines, so we put an alien mouth in your alien mouth so you eat marines while you eat marines!*

    • Werthers says:

      because they are a cut above other aliens

    • poop says:

      so they can see, duh

    • Wulf says:

      You know, our own humble animal kingdom has entries that could explain this: What if it’s a kind of taste system to track prey, similar to what snakes use, as presented by a game to keep it playable? What if it’s a kind of sonar, similar to that which bats use, as presented by a game to keep it playable?

      And if you can’t get the above to work for you, then there’s the fallback: They’re aliens. They could be using a sensory network that’s alien to us. They could have some way of creating a three-dimensional visual map of the environment via some sensory equipment they keep in their mouth. The whole idea of the aliens being aliens is that they’re not going to be exactly the same as us.

      I’m sorry, but the Star Trek idea of aliens where everything is human, but some people just happen to have knobbly heads or somesuch never really worked for me. At all. That was unimaginative. I can’t help but wonder if some, upon encountering an alien life form, would try to explain to them why they absolutely cannot exist. It’s so much more fun to try to explain why something like this is, when it’s really alien and off the wall, isn’t it?

    • CMaster says:

      Because, as bizarre and illogical as it appears, it works better. Yes, the skulk model clearly shows the eyes on top of the head. But visual feedback as to when your bites go off help, and that moment of blindness changes the dynamics of the right a little (and has some support in that various terrestrial creatures close their eyes when making a kill.

  16. pimorte says:

    I still <3 Tremulous.

  17. Sunjammer says:


    I hope they’ve solved the most significant problem with the first one, the one where the game was utterly unplayable without a good team structure.

    This kind of game has a lot of faith in human beings to work together. I just remember NS being a really abusive experience filled with whining and endless dying.

    • Koozer says:

      Give humans points for doing something and humans will do anything.

    • Nethlem says:

      Really depends at which point you used to play the first one.
      During it’s most popular times this usually hasn’t been an issue as there had been many servers around filled with regulars to the brim that lead to balanced fun games.

      Nowadays? Not so much anymore, not enough full servers around anymore so the good knowledgable players stack the same team for an boring repetive and pointless round.

      But it’s in the nature of the game that it can only be exploited to the fullest by a coordinated team, that’s what made the first one so big. It had a huge competive scene and it’s really fun due to the RTS nature of the game this can lead to quite cool games in an competive enviorment.

  18. Selifator says:

    Any idea on what the requirements will be for this game?

  19. Tei says:

    I like the weapons deploy animation. But the design of the aliens are horrible bad, I guest is a design decision, since is the same as the old game. I suppose the new version mantain the old, inadecuate, pig-like, monsters because the nostalgia factor. This make NS2 looks like “Pigs versus Humans vs Gargoyles”.

  20. Supernorn says:

    got to say, I’m pretty pumped after watching that :D

  21. Koozer says:

    The tiniest of gripes: it really needs weapon/head bob to stop it look like they’re ice-skating everywhere.

  22. Wulf says:


    I want Onos.

    That is all.

  23. Y3k-Bug says:

    Looks lovely.

    Hope they manage to ease the learning curve some for dumber gamers like myself.

  24. Xercies says:

    Still don’t see how the strategy adds to the FPS combat to be honest.

    • CMaster says:

      Well, for a start it adds context. What are you fighting for? To secure that resource point, or to cripple the alien production, or to stop the marines getting entrenched in that position. It also means that everything you do matters in the story of that game. Whether you and your friend hold that point or not in the first few minutes of the game effects the frontline for the rest of the game. Also, strategy isn’t restricted to one player. Experienced non-commander players often have a substantial impact on strategy, Experience teaches you where to be, what tasks are important, beyond simply following orders.

  25. phertiker says:

    Oh I surely can’t wait…. Also why does every alien in an FPS have eyes in their throat?

  26. Bob Arctor says:

    By “high specs” what do people mean? What speed graphics and CPU?

    • mod the world says:

      With a Q6600 and a Geforce 8800 i can play on highest graphic settings.

    • Nethlem says:

      The future system specs of the game: “A 1.2 GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, a DirectX 9 level graphics card, Windows Vista/2000/XP, Steam, mouse, keyboard and of course, an internet connection. ”

      mod got lucky right now performance is dodgy, you can get lucky most people don’t.

      At 1920×1200 i get like 20-40 fps with medium details which i consider horrible for my hardware…

      Q6600 @3,4 ghz
      4 gb ram
      Radeon HD 5870

      The specs they are aiming for are lofty… but you have to keep in mind that they are using their own engine so nobody really knows how much more can be pushed out of that. It’s quite a feat considering that the basic engine got made by one lone guy over some years.

  27. Jambe says:

    Unknown Worlds are an interesting team, and this game is really progressing along nicely. I haven’t had much time for the beta but what I’ve seen has me believing this will live up to the original and then some.

  28. xrabohrok says:

    Am I the only person who was never any good at the basic alien/zergling type, because it was really difficult to figure out if you were scoring hits on the marines?

    • You rebel scum says:

      Every time you hit a marine, there’s audio feedback – a kinda *crunch* noise. It’s slight, but it’s there.

  29. mod the world says:

    Here is what the NS2 pre-order beta looks like atm:
    2 maps
    6 vs 6 players maximum for a lagfree game
    Fun and tense games
    bunch of dev tools to toy around
    weekly updates via Steam

    on the downside:
    lots of bugs
    imbalanced research
    you need a desktop PC 3 years old maximum
    2 maps get repetitive pretty fast
    lack of features like endgame tech, dynamic infestation, onos

    It IS worth buying right now IMHO, since progress on all fronts is incredibly fast.
    More gameplay videos here: link to

  30. green_genes says:

    Excited for this game! Lost too many hours playing the first one. Is the beta still open to people who pre-order now? I was broke when they first opened it up :(

    • Crumpled Stiltskin says:

      I just pre-ordered and received a key so you should be good to go if you want to jump on it now.

  31. DXN says:


    I would be perfectly happy with my pre-order even if this was just NS1 with a graphics upgrade – and with a lot of the videos thus far, it’s kind of given the impression that it was pretty close to being just that. But this one gives glimpses of what *else* it’s going to be as well, and that makes me happy. In my pants In my heart.

    • Deadzone says:

      Just remember you will be disappointed if you think this is NS1 with prettier graphics. It’s not. Enough changes have been made to the gameplay that you’ll be disappointed if all you wanted was another NS1.

      NS2HD on youtube has some unedited gameplay so you can see just how different some of the features are shaping up, though. Go take a peek :)

  32. geldonyetich says:

    Was that a Hive commander view I saw there at about the 1:10 point? That’s new.

    Not sure I approve, one of the most jarring differences between the two sides were that the Hive didn’t have a commander view.

    • Dominic White says:

      I recall reading that it’s not really a ‘commander’ view, but more of a local building interface. Any player can step up to use it at any point.

    • Nethlem says:

      Yes, the new NPC buildings units also change gamplay heavily compared to the original mod. Leaving some things to be desired, like a real role for the Alien Gorge…

      But the game is still very raw and i believe we will see quite a bite more interesting things in it like dynamic infestation for aliens. I hope we gonna see changes like theese posted on RPS as they will impact gameplay and atmosphere heavily.

  33. Zeth says:

    I just hope N2 isn’t a disappointing dumbed down sequel as Savage 2 was to Savage.

  34. Nogo says:

    Does anyone know of any games with appropriately angry sounding flamethrowers?

  35. Breaker Morant's Ghost says:

    Dear God, it’s beautiful. The first NS was incredibly atmospheric but this looks way beyond it. Really looking forward to this, I just wish I wasn’t so terrible at NS.

  36. Saul says:

    One question – can anyone actually die in this? The trailer is full of things being shot at and surviving.

    • wheeee says:

      yeah, things die. fades (the guys that blink around like nightcrawler) have a lot of hitpoints though. They’re very hard to kill by yourself. This definitely isn’t a CoD-type game where you get a headshot and it kills the opponent. You actually have to track your opponents and aim, so steady aim is slightly more important than twitch-aim.

  37. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Looks pretty interesting. I’m hopeful this title’s going to be a blast.. like a more popular and sci-fi Savage.

    • Nethlem says:

      “like a more popular and sci-fi Savage.”

      Yes something like that, the original mode had some pretty popular times.
      But i believe it’s a little bit smaller in scale right now compared to savage (only indoor maps), but it’s yet to see how the engine comes along and what the mod community is gonna do in the map department.

  38. pupsikaso says:

    Huh? It looks like aliens get some kind of commander mode and some sort of turrets? That’s something new!
    It looks like the gameplay will be balanced this time around!

    • Nethlem says:

      Aliens allways had “turrets” with their offense chambers and the alien commander mode is new compared to the original mod yes.

      So far don’t really know what to think of it as i haven’t really played it yet.
      And i disagree the original used to be a really well balanced game, it had a huge competive following especially because of that.

  39. Craig Stern says:

    Call me crazy, but isn’t this something Dungeon Keeper did a gazillion years ago with the Possess spell?

    • Nethlem says:

      No not really…

      You don’t jump into people from RTS view… but that could be (and probably will be) added in some kind of way. Like jumping into the NPC’s or camera/turret views..

      Every player plays the game from FPS view, there are Command Chairs on the map which a player can enter and once it’s closed he will have an RTS view. From there he can’t just take over the other people, he can control a few NPC workers, drop buildings, manage upgrades/resources, give medpacks/ammo/orders and some other things.

      Once he leaves this view he is just another soldier in FPS view again next to that Command Chair he entered.

  40. Guspaz says:

    The “beta” is definitely a pretty early look at the game, and there are a ton of improvements to be made. The poor netcode has been pointed out (there seems to be no prediction, even mouselook freezes with packetloss), the performance is still a huge issue, and bugs abound. But damn if the game isn’t playable, and starting to really shape up as a fun experience at that.

    I’d caution against newcomers jumping into the beta and expecting a smooth experience, as this is definitely a work in progress. One that shows a truckload of promise, but still a work in progress, albeit one evolving at a rapid pace.

  41. Comedy says:

    Suuuucks donkey dick! Slow and laggy as hell. STAY AWAY!

  42. Anonymous says:

    What an awful level design, sure pass for me.

    • BarerRudeROC says:

      These are only Beta levels so we who pre-ordered get something to play before the official maps come out.

      The official maps (like the NS1 maps) are gigantic and require a lot of tuning,
      not to mention the community is creating a lot of golden material.

      Judging this far in development is kind of crude

    • Nethlem says:

      The original mod has like houndreds of different maps made by dozens of people with sometimes completly different gameplay. So judging this game on the design of an trailer map that’s from an alpha is rather hasty…

  43. Simulacra says:

    This game is going to be epic. Haters gona hate.