Unknown Worlds have released a free expansion for their pus-filled strategy shooter Natural Selection 2 . The Reinforced update bolsters the online FPS with, among other things, new weapons, traps, items and tutorials. It also adds DirectX 11, linux support and the long-awaited female marine model . While it will cost you zero pence to play the new content, that wasn't the case for those making it. In fact, the developers estimate that the expansion's creation cost them $550,000. As such, they're currently accepting crowdfunding donations to help them decide if future free content is feasible.
"Six months of game development is not cheap, and we have often discussed how we might continue to pay for keeping the studio focused on Natural Selection 2 full time," explains the announcement post . "Various options were discussed – Including making Reinforced a separate Steam DLC, or introducing in-game micro-transactions. But these monetisation methods do not fit with our culture. Knowing we must pay the bills to keep the lights on, we decided to introduce the Reinforcement Program ."
It's refreshing to see a studio discuss the costs involved in creating an update, and admirable that they're attempting to release them for free despite that. For those who do want to help reimburse them for the effort, a variety of rewards are available for backers.
If you haven't played Natural Selection 2, the game can be trialled for free on Steam . The free weekend will run until this Sunday, 1st September, and a 75% discount will be in effect until the day after.
You can see the full patchlist for the Reinforced update here .