Selected For October 31st: Natural Selection 2

Trick or treat.
Unknown Worlds have sent word that their hybird FPS/RTS Natural Selection 2 will finally be released on October 31st. Natural Selection 2 is a sequel to the famed and enormously popular Half-Life mod, which was one of the most ambitious attempts to shake up the “Fortress” formula, introducing a top-down commander to bring a tactical-oversight aspect to the usual team-based combat. It was also, brilliantly, asymmetrical, with space marine types fighting a varied team of aliens. Natural Selection 2 is a complete rebuild of that concept, and frankly it looks astonishing. I can’t wait to get stuck in to the finished game. Trailer belooooow.

We’ll chat with the Unknown Worlds team and find out more about both the finished project, and what they’ve had to do to get there.


  1. Grey Ganado says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that one of those aliens has eyes in their mouth.
    I’ll probably buy it anyway.

    • Ansob says:

      It’s a well-known fact that becoming a soldier involves having a gun grafted to your cheek, too.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Except the skulks actually *do* have eyes in their mouths.

    • Scoops says:

      They are on the side of their head…. if low enough, can become the inside of the mouth from their eyes perspective. I guess. Also, a needed balancing mechanic. It makes for a tiny moment of blindness when you bite.

    • phoenixbbs says:

      Grey, don’t let the skulk “eye” position worry you – you need to see where you’re attacking, and it works well in practise.

      Think of it this way, marines see their weapons onscreen all the time pointing to the middle of the screen – but since a skulk’s primary attack is to bite, this is how they see their weapon :-)

  2. Asurmen says:

    Yeah, anyone who didn’t figure this out a month ago is a bit silly :P The 31st of October being the 10th anniversary of the release of NS. Which is scary when I think I was a teenager still when I started following it :(

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I’m not sure that not knowing the release date for the original NS counts as being “a bit silly”. I’d guess that the majority of people who played and loved NS didn’t know that either.

      • Asurmen says:

        I’d say most people who have been following this and knew the release was going to be in October where those who have followed NS for years and most likely played at 1.0 release. Plus the comment was somewhat tongue in cheek.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      If you watch the developer Q&A you’ll see that they didn’t figure out the ideal date for release until Friday, and that many other factors were taken into account. They determined that Oct 31st was a good choice regardless of the anniversary, but I think everyone is happy that it worked out that way. I know I was crossing my fingers.

  3. Zanchito says:

    It’s a very well made game and the community is pretty cool. I recommend it, and I’m bad at FPSs!

  4. Createx says:

    I’m not sure on this, but isn’t this the first mod-turned-full-game the respective communities like?

  5. airtekh says:

    Well, that’s my multiplayer gaming for November sorted!

    Can’t wait to finally get stuck into NS2.

  6. Artist says:

    Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! 31. October! Finally! It was way to long since the good old times with NS! Its way overdue that a decent FPS/RTS hybrid was released.

  7. StevoIRL says:

    Never played the original map but from what I have seen from the official videos it’s seems like a very competitive game almost comparable to dota? What exactly is the objective of the game?

    • Faxanadu says:

      Securing resources, researching upgrades, attaining map control, annihilating the opponents base.

      It’s like StarCraft II Terran vs. Zerg, but marines and zerglings are controlled by people. :)

      • StevoIRL says:

        Okay so what do you gain from killing enemies? XP or income? It’s seems pretty cool kinda digging the competitiveness of it.

        How many maps are there?

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Points, temporarily fewer enemies and reducing the enemies resources.

          Resources come from fixed resource points – you have to destroy your enemies resource collectors and build your own. Resources are used to research and build upgrades and spawn.

        • Stochastic says:

          Also, the satisfaction of besting your opponent. To me, that is worth more than any persistent reward such as XP, or hats, or a silly costume. There is a beautiful simplicity in traditional competitive games. Intrinsic rewards > extrinsic rewards.

          EDIT: Nevermind, I realize you were asking about what you get from within individual games. Please excuse my silliness.

        • phoenixbbs says:

          There will be six official maps on release, but there are already more in the pipeline pending completion.

          There are also unofficial fan-created maps remember, so just because Unknown Worlds didn’t create them, doesn’t mean you can’t play them.

          So far, there’s Docking, Mineshaft, Summit, Tram, Veil, and Refinery (which is getting the final touching up now).

  8. Faxanadu says:

    To clarify: that’s the release date trailer, a trailer trailer will follow.

    October 31st 2002 NS1. October 31st 2012 NS2. Freaky…

  9. Keymonk says:

    Surely you meant ‘Trick or Eat’, Jim?

  10. Randomer says:

    Still a bit of a shame that they cut Combat mode. It was the only real way to learn how to play the various alien life forms. The learning curve on the traditional mode was extremely high in the original, and not knowing what you are doing there is almost as bad (for you and your team) as not knowing what you are doing in a MOBA.

    Aside: Does NS2 have any sort of single player/tutorial mode to learn how to use the commander?

    • cmc5788 says:

      Just as phoenixbbs says, Combat mode (and all other “modes” one might think of) are taken care of by the robust modding system they have put in place. Being a small dev team, their resources are best spent polishing/balancing the core game. The rest is up to the community, and it’s already quite impressive to see the things being modded before the game’s even released.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      Yes, there’s an explore mode that gives you access to all the toys. There’s tutorial videos that they’re improving. They’re finishing up better tool tips. They also have new players show up green (optional) for the first four hours of play, so others can help them. They know it can be challenging to learn, and it seems a big priority to make that easier. I wouldn’t be surprised if they added more after release.

    • Lucid says:

      Combat Mode killed NS1 for me personally.

      Every server ended up using it.

  11. phoenixbbs says:

    Combat mode is already available as a mod, it’s already very (very!) playable, even though they’re still tweaking it.

  12. phoenixbbs says:

    And yes, there’s a tutorial mode, called “Explore” – it lets you build the structures as normal, and see the different upgrade paths each offer.

  13. phoenixbbs says:

    If you want to check out some of the forthcoming user content – maps, gameplay mods, i.e. combat, a virtual remake of the original NS (called NS2c) – head over here:

    link to

    • cmc5788 says:

      Just FYI, you have to be logged into Steam with the game installed for NS2’s steam workshop link to work. It’s not released yet, so that public-facing URL won’t function.

  14. Cytrom says:

    I always prefered Tremulous’ take on the aliens VS humans fps / rts game. (Both NS and Trem were inspired by a quake mod originally, one is not a ripoff of the other)

    Having a dedicated builder class that builds the base and structures in first person mode like the engineer in tf2 is much more immersive than a floating ghost commander doing it. (And less gamebreaking than a bad commander, since there can be more than one builders per team).

    Tremulous also had a much better and more consistent alien design. NS just has a bunch of random looking aliens that doesn’t seem to correlate much to each other in design.. they could all be from a different planet.

    Too bad trem died a long time ago, and never really got big to begin with.

    • cmc5788 says:

      First of all, what you describe as the “TF2 engineer-like alien” is exactly the Gorge in NS1. NS2 has shifted towards Gorge being more support-based, while the alien comm does more building. Also, the alien designs are very consistent and not random at all. If you take a look at the models, you can see that the aliens share certain similar characteristics that have “evolved” in different ways visually reflecting the role of that specific type of alien. The theme is “evolution,” which shouldn’t be surprising given the name of the title. Also, it is worth noting that NS1 was in development long before Tremulous was even conceived, and as far as I know NS2 has always been based on the look/feel of Alien (the Ridley Scott movie) and the RTS gameplay of Starcraft merged with a team-based FPS, not on any other specific game.

      It’s of course perfectly fine for you to prefer Tremulous to the original NS1, but your comments seem to indicate that don’t even entirely understand Natural Selection (maybe you didn’t play it much)? Also, it’s a bit silly to make any final decisions about the quality of NS2 based on a shoddy impression of the original Half-Life mod that was released aeons ago and built by Tony Stark in a cave with a box of scraps or whatever.

    • tremulant says:

      Tremulous is only mostly dead, it still twitches enough for the corpse to provide occasional entertainment to those of us who haven’t yet moved on. Sadly gpp doesn’t have a large playerbase, and those god awful unlimited build point servers manage to absorb the vast majority of it, i suppose your actions, as a new player, having practically no effect on the outcome of the game is quite appealing, you just get to play with guns and build stuff for the four hours that the match lasts…
      Thankfully, there are efforts to resurrect tremulous with a complete overhaul of engine and assets, and it’s already looking much improved, take a look at
      link to

  15. zaphod42 says:

    Damnit, I just knew that “Coming sometime October” meant October 31st. I just knew it. And yet I was hoping…

    Ah well, this is gonna be awesome. Already pre-ordered. Just sad that I didn’t get a beta key for preordering :(

    • phoenixbbs says:

      I believe the tournament at the weekend will be giving out some instant access keys…

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        When’s the tournament? Been watching tons of NS2HD in eager anticipation of the launch, and I love watching great teams go at each other. :] It’s nice to recognize so many of the names, from NS1 and Source mods too!

  16. Slinkyboy says:

    NS2c is the only reason to buy this. Vanilla is junk.

  17. oasisisthewin says:

    I prebought this ages ago and and I’m really looking forward to it, but I feel its really unfair to praise it as such an originator when it was a pretty much borrowed 80% of Quake 2’s Gloom mod.

    link to

    • cmc5788 says:

      You have a funny definition of 80% in that you are wrong. Furthermore, noone here or anyone else is arguing that NS2 is great because it’s an “originator.” The devs would be the first to admit that they freely borrow great ideas where they are to be found. I would be heavily suspicious of any dev who claimed to be a “sole originator” — they would either be lying or just finished creating a terrible game in a vacuum devoid of positive outside influence.