End of an Era: Natural Selection 2 Concludes Active Development After Over a Decade

End of an Era: Natural Selection 2 Concludes Active Development After Over a Decade

After more than a decade of engaging gameplay and community-driven development, Natural Selection 2 is finally going to rest. Unknown Worlds Entertainment, the game’s developer, has announced the cessation of active development for this beloved asymmetrical sci-fi shooter, marking the end of an era that spanned impressive longevity and dedicated player involvement.

A Surprising Continuation

Initially released at the tail-end of 2012, Natural Selection 2 has continued to receive updates far longer than most games dream of. This was made possible by handing over the reins to the game's passionate community in 2014, who kept the game alive with fresh content and updates. This model of development showcases the dedication and creativity of its community, maintaining the game's relevance and playability through nearly a decade.

Transition to Community Hands

In 2014, Unknown Worlds made the significant decision to allow the game's community to take over development. Since then, most updates have been crafted by the players themselves, rather than the original developers. This handover highlights a unique trust and collaboration between a game studio and its community, a rare occurrence in the gaming industry.

“This was a remarkable experiment in community-driven game development, one that extended the life and relevancy of Natural Selection 2 far beyond traditional expectations.” - Game Industry Analyst

Official Announcement and Community Reaction

The official announcement from Unknown Worlds reads: "10 years since its official release and over 117 updates later, it's time to send Natural Selection 2 into retirement to focus attention on other projects." The studio is now prioritizing other titles like Subnautica and Moonbreaker, both of which require significant developmental focus.

Despite the bittersweet nature of the news, the community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Players have expressed gratitude for the extended support and the unique opportunity to contribute directly to the game’s development. The top-rated comment from the NS2 subreddit user totalnewbie states:

"The fact that they kept working on it for this long, and still support it... after all these years for what is a very small community, has been amazing."

Legacy of Natural Selection 2

Natural Selection 2 blends first-person combat with strategic real-time elements, allowing players to engage as frontline combatants or as commanders who shape the battlefield from a strategic viewpoint. This blend of gameplay has kept the title fresh and engaging over the years.

Lasting Support

While active development has ceased, Unknown Worlds has committed to continuing the hosting of match play servers. This ensures that the existing community can continue enjoying the game, engaging in battles with other players or AI bots. This ongoing support, although scaled back, is a testament to the company's dedication to its player base.

Reflections on the Game’s Impact

Natural Selection 2 was the commercial successor to a modification first released for Half-Life, an ambitious project that combined intense action with strategic gameplay. Over the years, it has cultivated a niche but dedicated following, setting a precedent for how community involvement can significantly extend a game's lifecycle.

The Future for Unknown Worlds

As Natural Selection 2 enters this new phase, Unknown Worlds Entertainment is not slowing down. Their focus shifts to newer and potentially larger projects, promising more innovative games in the future. The success of Subnautica and the promising development of Moonbreaker showcase a studio that continues to evolve and impact the gaming world.

A Model for Other Studios

The journey of Natural Selection 2 provides valuable insights into alternative development models, demonstrating the potential benefits of community-driven content creation. It serves as a case study for other studios considering similar collaborative approaches to game development and maintenance.


As we say goodbye to the active development of Natural Selection 2, we also celebrate its contributions to the gaming world. This game not only provided countless hours of entertainment but also broke new ground in how game communities can contribute to the development process. Unknown Worlds Entertainment’s bold experiment has proven successful, and the lessons learned from Natural Selection 2 will undoubtedly influence future projects for years to come.

Thank you, Natural Selection 2, for all the memories and for showing us a different path in the lifecycle of a game. Here's to the ongoing adventures in gaming that await both the players and the developers at Unknown Worlds.

Leave a comment