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Interview: Unknown Worlds chats about first Natural Selection 2 screenshots

Developer Unknown Worlds has been working for some time on Natural Selection 2, their upcoming sci-fi shooter with RTS elements. For those not familiar with the game the first version (Natural Selection 1) began as a Half-Life 1 mod (it celebrates the seventh anniversary of its release on Halloween). Natural Selection 2 turned into a stand alone commercial game using the Source engine developed by Valve for Half-Life 2. Over a year ago the company announced it ditching the Source engine and creating their own in-house graphics engine for their game. After showing off some concept art, character art renders and animation movies over the past several months, today the developer has finally released the first two in-game screenshots from Natural Selection 2.

Big Download decided to chat with Unknown Worlds' founder Charlie Cleveland again for the occasion as he describes what the screenshots show off as well as other aspects of the game including world that they plan to release the game's level editor in November to folks who pre-order the game.
The Marine soldier screenshot shows off at least two of the game's enemies..can you comment about them and their abilities?

Sure. The creatures with the spiky legs are Skulks. They are the main fighting class on the alien side and as seen here, can as easily run on walls and ceilings as they can the floor. They are fast-moving and lightly-armored and can leap from surface to surface. The flying creature you see in the background is the Lerk. He can shoots deadly spikes as well as spore clouds that are good against groups of marines. A little touch we hope to add with the spikes is that if you kill a marine with them and he's near a flat surface, he will fly backwards and become impaled in the wall.

What is the weapon that we see the soldier carrying?

That's the standard assault rifle that all marines spawn with. Later in the game it can be upgraded to have a grenade launcher attachment. Note the ammo readout on the weapon - we're trying to keep the HUD as clean as possible. I think we'll end up with some HUD elements (especially health and armor) but right now it's completely free of them.

How will the marine soldier be a different character, gameplay wise, than the typical space marine we have seen in so many other first person shooters?

We've never wanted our marines to be the bulging, testosterone type. He's lean, lighter and faster than the steroid pigs you see in other games. He's also of mixed race which makes him look a bit exotic. Gameplay-wise, he's pretty familiar. He can run long distances by holding shift (weapon drops down so he can't fire while running). He carries a pistol and the 2.sec SwitchAx is which is a foldable axe. It's so-named because it takes less than 2 seconds to pull out and implant an enemy's hide.

The second screenshot shows the player as a skulk. What are we seeing in terms of the player's abilities in that screenshot?

That's our trademark "bite-cam" from Natural Selection. The Skulk sees the world through his mouth because he's built for biting. Love it or hate it, that' show it always worked in NS and we still think it's the best way to give feedback to players in NS2. The alternative of viewing down his snout is just boring.

What other items did you want to point out in the screenshots?

Those vent systems that the Skulks are in are for their use only. The marines and the bigger aliens access the map through all the main routes, but Skulks have a whole secondary set of routes they can use for hiding, ambushing and falling back.


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