The true scares of Halloween 2002 came not from monster movie marathons, haunted houses or college dorm parties but a multiplayer Half-Life FPS-RTS hybrid mod named Natural Selection, released that night by Unknown Worlds. Low-tech space marines and bestial aliens shrieked and spat out their trick-or-treated goodies in fright as inter-species war with terrifying tones of the movie Aliens raged across derelict complexes among distant stars.
A solid real-time strategy lay on top of the action, with both sides vying for control of key map points including the resource nodes which paid for structures and upgrades. While Frontiersmen served under a commander who essentially played a top-down RTS, the alien Kharaa were ruled by consensus and chose their own upgrades and classes.
The next step for Unknown Worlds will be Natural Selection 2, a commercial sequel announced in 2006. Shacknews recently caught up with studio founder and NS creator Charlie Cleveland to discuss progress since then, the path from mod to commercial release.