Retro GTA2-inspired shooter Geneshift becomes Gene Shift Auto, goes free-to-play

The game that was called Geneshift is now known as Gene Shift Auto. As Nik Nak Studios, which is to say solo developer Ben Johnson, explains, it's changed dramatically enough during development and early access to warrant a new name. 

When launched as Geneshift, "It didn't have cops, missions, the megamap, skill drafting, vendors or even the BR game mode!" Johnson writes. "We're playing a completely different game, more of a sequel really, and a new name will help communicate to all the old fans just how much has changed."

It'll also be free-to-play as of November 28, after previously being priced at $15/£11.40. "This move to F2P will bring far more players into our community", Johnson writes. "We will have fuller servers, more members in the discord, and you can invite your friends to play for free!"

We spoke to Johnson in 2017, when he'd just spent two years working on his game while staying in youth hostels overseas. The top-down shooter inspired by his love of Grand Theft Auto 2 and Soldat had a fluid name from the start, beginning as a demo called Subvein before going up for approval on Steam Greenlight under the name Mutant Factions. Along the way it transformed from a singleplayer/co-op game of arcade crime chaos to become a battle royale played in three ultra-quick five-minute rounds, with roguelike progression. Which is quite a shift.

The story campaign is still accessible to players who own the deluxe edition DLC, and that will remain true after the base version goes free-to-play. To access it you need to set up a custom server lobby as the host, and then select "campaign" before clicking on "create game". When Gene Shift Auto becomes free-to-play on November 28 the deluxe edition will still be on sale for the same price, and anyone who owns it already will still have access to everything in it.

Gene Shift Auto is available on Steam.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.