Along with Overgrowth and Cortex Command, Unknown Worlds’ FPS/RTS hybrid Natural Selection 2 is one of those indie mega-projects that seems to be in a perpetual state of development. Today marks a rather special day in the development of NS2, as the latest development build – codenamed ‘Gorilla’ – has been released to preordering players, and is accompanied by a genuinely impressive gameplay-footage trailer. Hit the break for some hot marine-on-alien action.
100% actual gameplay footage, and in addition to showing off the proprietary engine the game runs on, it sums up what the game is about pretty well. It’s an online competitive game; two teams – space marines and the Zerg-esque alien Kharaa – fight for control over a map. One player on each team plays a commander role, interacting with the game as if it were an RTS – building bases (via AI-controlled construction units), upgrading, distributing resources and giving orders – while all the other players take the role of the troops on the front lines, upgrading to new classes and species as new options are researched.
Each team has a unique control mechanic – the marines have to maintain the power grid of whatever region they’re trying to capture, and their facilities become inoperative if the aliens manage to knock out the power junction boxes in a given zone, conveniently plunging everything into darkness too. The aliens spread more organically, their squidgy green biomatter-field gradually spreading across the map, accelerated by the placement of certain structures. This mess can be burnt away by marines with flamethrowers, though, and alien-controlled outlying areas can literally be cut off from the hive through literally ‘surgical’ strikes.
It’s impressive stuff, and the game is looking very polished now. Full V1.0 release is set for sometime this summer, although players can get in on the action early. Interestingly, those who preordered Wolfire’s Overgrowth back in the earlier days of it’s development recieved Steam activation keys for NS2, effectively giving them the game as a free bonus. Nifty. Oh, and NS veterans from the HL1 mod days? The trailer above doesn’t lie – the feared alien superunit, the Onos is back, and downright terrifying.