Unknown Worlds is an independent game company in San Francisco, CA (team and office videos). Our goal is simple, but not easy – to unite the world through play.
Previously, we worked on titles such as Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne (1M sold), Empire Earth (2M sold), Lair, Zero Gear, The Getaway and Secret of Monkey Island – Special Edition.
The Unknown Worlds story began with the release of Natural Selection on Halloween 2002. NS exploded onto the Half-Life modding scene: It equalled the original Team Fortress for player numbers and was critically acclaimed. Combining strategy an shooter genres, the game offered players a unique team-based multiplayer experience. Recognising the potential of the Natural Selection concept, and wishing to take it further, Charlie formally founded Unknown Worlds with Max McGuire in 2006.
May 2001 – Started full-time on Natural Selection
October 2002 – Released Natural Selection
October 2006 – Max and Charlie found Unknown Worlds, start on Natural Selection 2 (NS2)
November 2006 – Released Zen of Sudoku
October 2007 – Released Decoda
April 2008 – Investment received, first office
July 2008 – Announced custom engine for NS2 (Spark)
October 2008 – First Spark engine footage shown
May 2009 – NS2 site and teaser video released
November 2009 – NS2 pre-alpha released
April 2010 – NS2 Engine Test released
July 2010 – NS2 alpha released to ~15,000 players
November 2010 – Fade movie released, enters closed beta.
August 2012 – Exosuit revealed.
September 2012 – NS2 available for pre-order on Steam.
October 2012 – NS2 launches on Steam!
February 2013 – NS2 ‘Gorgeous’ Update
September 2013 – Prototyping of a new underwater game (“Subnautica“) begins
October 2013 – NS2 ‘Reinforced’ Update
February 2014 – NS2 ‘Kodiak’ Update
February 2014 – Subnautica is teased, development team begins to form
October 2014 – NS2: Combat (Standalone game developed by former NS2 modding team) released
October 2014 – NS2 ‘Reaper’ Update
October 2014 – Subnautica Special Edition (Access to development builds) released
Charlie – Navigator, co-founder, game director
Hugh – General Press / Business enquiries
“NS2 the Best Indie Game of E3: GameSpy” –June 2012
“NS2 Nominated for best of PC, best of indie E3: Destructoid” –June 2012
“A Team Of Seven Is Making A Game That ‘Shouldn’t Be Possible’”– Jason Schreier, Kotaku
“NS2 is a genius mash of Counter Strike and Starcraft”– Tina Amini, Kotaku
“This is getting close to my idea of the ultimate game”– Mr Sark, Machinima
Charlie attended Case Western Reserve University and received a B.S. in Computer Engineering. He worked as a software engineer at IBM, Papyrus, CogniToy and Stainless Steel Studios, on Grand Prix Legends, MindRover and Empire Earth. In May of 2001, he left Stainless Steel to start writing Natural Selection.
Charlie has contributed writings to Game Developer Magazine and Game Design Perspectives and spoke at Casuality (2006). He also spoke at the Game Developer’s Conference in 2011 (The 1 Hour Video Game MBA) and 2013 (The Velveteen Marine).
While still in high school Max worked as the assistant to Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot at IBM Research. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 with a B.S. in Mathematics and a double major in Computer Science, Max joined Iron Lore Entertainment (Game Developer Choice Best New Studio) as the first employee.
While at Iron Lore Entertainment, Max served as the Lead Engine Programmer and held a key role in developing the technology and tools behind their first two titles, Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.
Cory attended the Massachusetts College of Art, majoring in Illustration. He worked at Stainless Steel Studios as a digital artist for over five years doing 3D modeling, texturing and concept work on Empire Earth, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World and Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War. He then worked as Senior Texture Artist and Concept Art on Lair and several unannounced titles at Factor Five.
He and Charlie started working on Natural Selection together in August of 2000 and his artwork has been featured several times in Spectrum and Expose.
Brian (Alpha) joined the team in late 2009 after graduating from the Art Institute of California San Francisco. Before moving here, he worked as a contract 3D Artist on two published PC titles in Birmingham, Alabama.
Initially hired to help with managing the art pipeline, Brian now fills the gap between artists and engine. He has also worked as the editor for several Natural Selection 2 cinematics including the Fade Reveal, Lerk Reveal and Gorge Belly Slide video.
Hugh is Australian, but we try not to hold it against him. He invaded our San Francisco office and we have worked to teach him to speak English ever since. He is our Producer, PR representative (provided you like your ‘PR’ shot from the hip), and the bloke we tap when someoneneeds their face painted.
Hugh holds a BCom in Finance and Accounting, thinks only in spreadsheets, and likes making movies all day.
Lilly hails from Nihilistic software in Novato, where she was the first point of contact for the studio and handled administrative and managerial aspects for the company. She loves to handle payroll, HR functions, organize wrap parties and generally help to make our office an amazing place to work.
Lilly hates sunshine so we’ve found the darkest place of our office to keep a smile on her face. She is the new Keeper of the Onos.
Game programming (Austria)
Michael was originally a Natural Selection 1 map contributor. In 2007 he graduated from Glasgow University, and worked as a functionality tester before joining the off-site team in 2010.
He was hired as a level designer and has contributed towards several Natural Selection 2 maps. Currently he is developing environments for Subnautica.
Oli joined the offsite team in June 2009 as a mapper for Natural
Selection 2. He spends his time complaining, being cynical and drinking
Andrew attended Oxford Brookes University and received a BA in Architecture. He contributed to NS1 back in the day, and joined the UWE team in 2009, initially to help maintain the website. He soon moved on to art and level design, and nobody had the heart to tell him to pack it in.
When not making or playing games, Andrew’s many hobbies include brick-spotting, desperation and breathing. He lives in London.
He is a nerdy farm kid who turned into an animator / tech. He has
worked on Mass Effect 1 cinematics, Bioshock Infinite in-game sequences, most of the Natural Selection 2 rigging and currently animation lead on Subnautica. He enjoys walks in the park and long-shot FPS melee kills.
Simon is our sound and music guy. After flying bombers in WWII (not really) Simon decided to be a hippy (really). It soon became apparent that being a hippy was not nearly as lucrative as described in the brochure, so he made the tactical decision to fail high school and drop out of university in an attempt to gain our attention.
It worked! and we decided to hire him as sound designer on Natural Selection 2 as we felt our company would benefit from some fail on the team for a change.
Simon soon began to take over the music production on NS2 from David John… and is now eyeing Cory’s jobs as well.
Fox3D Entertainment was founded in 1999 year with the immediate focus on computer and video games art production. Studio worked on over 70 AAA titles including best selling “Natural Selection2”, “Halo 4”, “Dragon Age” series and «Killzone» Series and “Batman: Arkham Origins”, among others. Fox3D CEO and creative director – Den Fox (Denis Lis) started to work with Unknown Worlds Entertainment back to 2008 helping to bring character
work of NS2 on to next level. Now working on highly anticipated Subnautica game project from Unknown Worlds Entertainment being responsible for art production.
Fox3D has offices in Russia and Lithuania while Headquartering in Tallinn, Estonia.
Lukas is another employee with his roots in the community. Since he joined us in October 2012 he works on all kinds of web applications and websites that improve workflow in UWE or serve our players. He spends most of his free time learning new stuff, playing too many games or reading books. He also enjoys his journey to find the perfect craft beer.
Scott hails originally from Carlisle UK, close to the Scottish border. Having worked in Film & TV, he now works in Games remotely from the South Wales, UK. He can be often found frequenting shops late at night in his daily pursuit of yet more coffee, to fuel his typical animator caffeine habit.
Sylvain joined Ubisoft Paris as a 3d environment artist on GRAW 2
before enjoying particles and visual effects on Redsteel 2, Raving
Rabbids TV Party and Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Looking for new
experiences with indie studios he started to work on Natural Selection 2 late 2011.
Jake is an artist with an associates degree in Computer Animation, and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Utah. He began working on a custom map for NS2, which caught the attention of Charlie and Cory, and eventually led to a position working to further develop this level, and to work on future level design projects. He continues to work in level design for NS2 and future projects.
Brandt graduated from Madison College, with an associates degree
in Animation and Concept development. He joined the offsite team in the summer of 2012 working on animations for Natural Selection 2.
After almost dropping out of university twice to make computer games instead of learning about skolemization and formal verification, Jonas now holds a master’s degree in Computer Science and makes computer games. Hah!
Unbeknownst to Charlie Jonas’ career at Unknown Worlds started as a mapper for Natural Selection 1 where he managed to finish one single room. Encouraged by this huge success he ran the fastest NS1 servers in Europe on launch day and still remembers sneaking into the university’s data center to pull this off like it was yesterday.
Jonas fixes the bugs, optimizes performance, causes a mess, and wears the “I broke the build” T-shirt with great pride. He enjoys traveling and sometimes does a decent Count von Count impersonation including bats and lightning.
As soon as he graduated from Engineering school, Louis decided to go down a more artistic path. He started by learning character modelling on his first job, but realized that animation was his true calling soon enough. He attended Animation Mentor, and since graduating has worked as an animator on movies, tv series and commercials, in countries including Singapore, Russia, Lebanon and Bahrain. He is currently an animator and rigger on Subnautica.
Prior: Indie developer (Unity Engine),
Technical Artist at Unigine,
Alien Shooter / Zombie Shooter game series developer at Sigma Team.