Natural Selection 2 Combat is a first-person team-oriented multiplayer shooter developed by Faultline Games and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. Players fight for either the Trans-System Federations (TSF) Space Marines or the Alien species known as the “Kharaa”, with both sides having a completely different set of lifeforms and abilities. The marines rely heavily on an array of high-tech ranged weaponry and mechanised armor, while the aliens rely on stealth, speed and strength. Additionally, aliens can evolve from a small but nimble and dangerous creature into one of five life-forms with unique abilities. NS2: Combat features intense two asymmetric teams in a fast-paced fight for survival, implemented using the beautiful Spark engine.
So what’s unique about it?
NS2: Combat plays like a half twitch-shooter, half stealth-crawler as the Space Marines and Aliens vie for control in a variety of otherworldly locations. The two sides being so different leads to a wide range of diverse experiences and affords us plenty of scope for unique weapons and gameplay depth. NS2: Combat offers fast-paced, skill-oriented gameplay with an easy-to-grasp but difficult to master set of play styles and abilities.
The gameplay is complex enough to retain a sense of achievement at mastering the learning curve, but at the same time retaining an appeal for more casual FPS players by designing skill-based matchmaking and catch-up game mechanics into the game from the from the very outset.
One of our design aims is that the game is particularly suited to public play, such that you can get a full gaming experience from a round of NS2: Combat in a spare 15 minutes. But because of the wide range of gameplay choices you can keep coming back to it as your skills grow, with a persistent stats system keeping you on your toes with players of a similar skill level.
So who are Faultline Games and how did you come to be?
Faultline Games are a small, globally diverse indie studio that formed from the Natural Selection 2 modding scene in mid-2012. We began life as a small mod team, making new gameplay modes and content for our favourite game, Natural Selection 2. Over time our team grew in size and we realised that we had enough skills to get started with creating our own games.
Soon thereafter, we formed our official identity and company as Faultline Games, and produced a prototype of our first standalone game – a top-down shooter codenamed ‘Xenoswarm’ – in our spare time. It was built on Unity and included space pirates, destructible scenery, headcrabs, rum and keycards.
In January 2014 Charlie “Flayra” Cleveland, the CEO and Director of Unknown Worlds Entertainment, contacted us about starting a partnership that would see NS2: Combat released as an official standalone game on the Steam platform. Naturally we accepted the offer and Faultline Games has since grown from strength to strength, increasing the size of our team and community.
What is the ludic history of Combat and Natural Selection 2?
“Combat” was a gameplay mode for the original Natural Selection mod, released on the PC for the Half-Life engine by Unknown Worlds Entertainment (UWE) in 2002. The purpose of Combat was to introduce new players to Natural Selection, lowering the barrier to entry by simplifying strategic complexity but preserving the action gameplay that made the original so compelling.
When Unknown Worlds began working on Natural Selection 2, they decided to make their game extremely moddable. In June 2012, a dedicated group that were to become Faultline Games took up the challenge and set up a small mod team to recreate Combat mode, delivering a first version within a month and adding new content to this up until late 2013. The reception and support from the community was fantastic.
So what’s cool about it?
NS2: Combat has an extremely unique style of play, allowing players to choose how they want to experience Combat matches. Players begin each round by earning experience and experience points from killing their opponents, or helping their team with welding, healing, and other objectives. Players use these experience points earned to purchase upgrades to their equipment, their overall utility and even their lifeforms. As the game progresses, players will need to read their opponents’ strategies and build choices to defend their base from attacks. The longer the game goes on, the less room there is for mistakes. Combat intrigues players with a risk and reward system. The most riskful strategies can be what decides the fate of an entire team, making Combat truly immersive.
How many maps will come with NS2: Combat?
Natural Selection 2: Combat will include 5 official maps on release with plans to create and include additional maps post-release.
Our current map list is P33, Core, Pulse, Sava and Kestrel. These are maps have varied themes that stretch from a mothership in space to laboratory setting and underground abandoned mining facility.
How many game modes are there?
Currently, Natural Selection 2: Combat will ship with its original core game mode which has the simple objective of destroying the other team’s main structure called the Command Station for the Marines, and the Hive for the Aliens.
Combat will ship with one additional game mode, Capture The Point, where teams will fight over control of three locations on the map, earning points until one team reaches the point limit and wins the game. We have other gameplay types that we’d like to include with Combat , but our focus remains on Combat’s core gameplay and Capture The Point mode.
Where are you expecting to take the game after release?
We promise to keep adding new post-release content after launch and already have ideas and some concept art for more weapons and game modes that we’d like to add. We’d also like to involve the community in our ongoing development and decision-making processes. Steam Workshop support will be available for the game after launch, and as we formed from a mod studio ourselves we’re keen to support the community as best we can to give them the tools to create new skins, abilities and other content.
We’ll also constantly work on our game’s balance and work with mappers to add additional maps on a regular basis.
What will happen to the ‘mod’ version of NS2: Combat?
The mod will remain available but be aware that the new NS2: Combat has been a complete code rewrite and there are many new features that it would simply not be possible to implement on the existing mod’s codebase.
Ongoing development on the old mod codebase has been led by the NS2 community since late 2013 and updates are occasionally published to the mod when fixes are submitted to our github repository.
Tell me more about Faultline Games the company?
Faultline Games Ltd is a registered company with offices located in the United Kingdom. Our team consists of eight core members, as well as contributors from the community. The entire company works remotely and
internationally, covering at least 6 time zones. You can find individual biographies of our team members on our website.