Natural Selection 2 developer Unknown Worlds is adding a female marine to its asymmetrical sci-fi shooter/strategy hybrid, due in late August/early September.
Why wasn't this included earlier, you ask? Apparently its a rather spendy process, which the indie developer simply couldn't afford prior to launch. "The creation of finely detailed, high quality 3D models is expensive," wrote Unknown Worlds' Hugh Jeremy on the studio's development blog. "They require extensive research time, concept art, texturing, modelling, and animation. After launch, we knew there were many features we wished to add to the game. We also knew that if NS2 didn't sell, adding them would be impossible."
Thankfully, the game sold quite well, so the female marine can be added.
Furthermore, Unknown Worlds is adamant that it wants her to be anatomically correct and wearing practical armour, unlike most women in video games. "The game industry has a history of depicting female characters inappropriately," wrote the developer. "Often, they are stylised to such a degree that they become sexual objects: While their male comrades are clothed, armed and armoured to fight, the female character is notable for the lack of any clothing at all. When female characters are granted equal protection, that protection often ignores basic laws of physics in favour of offering titillating form."
"This is not good enough, and it's not a trope Unknown Worlds will entertain. Games are legitimate cultural influences, and game developers are responsible for the message they choose to convey to players. The Natural Selection 2 female marine is first and foremost, like her male colleague, a soldier. Her armour puts function before form, while adopting the science fiction, melee combat aligned design ques that have made the male marine so uniquely recognisable."
Unknown Worlds is creating three different version of the female marine. The Black Armour is reserved to those who purchased the Special Edition of Natural Selection 2 in the days of yore before the beta, the Deluxe Armour will be available to those who bought the game's Deluxe Edition, and the standard green marine armour is available to all. Each type comes with its own first-person view model to boot.