Unknown Worlds Entertainment

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Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Industry Computer and video games
Founded 2001
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Key people
Charlie Cleveland, founder and director
Products Natural Selection
Zen of Sudoku
Natural Selection 2
Future Perfect
Number of employees
Website www.unknownworlds.com

Unknown Worlds Entertainment is an independently owned American game development company whose goal is to "unite the world through play". Based in San Francisco, California, the studio is best known for the Natural Selection series and Subnautica.


Unknown Worlds was formed in May 2001 by Charlie Cleveland and began life as a group of developers responsible for the development of the high-profile free mod Natural Selection. The success of Natural Selection convinced Cleveland to start work on a commercial sequel to the game: Natural Selection 2. Soon after Cleveland founded Unknown Worlds Entertainment as a commercial computer games studio. To help fund the development of Natural Selection 2, the studio created and released Zen of Sudoku in November 2006, a casual puzzle computer game based on the popular logic puzzle Sudoku. This game was a departure from Natural Selection both in terms of genre and audience.

In October 2006, Max McGuire became the studio's co-founder, having previously worked at Iron Lore Entertainment as Lead Engine Programmer. McGuire became the Technical Director of UWE and development of Natural Selection 2 began in earnest. Max and Charlie then attracted a group of angel investors including Richard Kain, Matthew Le Merle, Ira Rothken and Colin Wiel to back the company after a meeting at GDC in San Francisco. A year later, Unknown Worlds released Decoda as a commercial debugger for the Lua programming language. This application was created to aid with development of Natural Selection 2, whose game code was largely being written in Lua.[1]

Later on in development of Natural Selection 2, the studio announced it had changed engine from the Source engine to their own proprietary engine developed in-house. After consulting their fanbase on a possible name for their new engine, it was finally named the Evolution engine. Later, it transpired that the name Evolution was already taken and Spark was chosen as the name for the engine.[2]

In June 2008, Cory Strader was hired as art director.[3] Strader had been a previous key member of the development team for Natural Selection. In May 2009, Unknown Worlds began taking pre-orders for standard and special edition versions of Natural Selection 2. Natural Selection 2 was released on 31 October 2012.[4]

In February 2013, Unknown Worlds released the source code for Decoda onto GitHub.



Natural Selection

  • 2002 : Best Newcomer - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[6]
  • 2002 : Mod of the Year - 'Game of the Year' Awards, Gamespy
  • 2003 : Most Improved Mods - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[7]
  • 2003 : Mods You Should Never Leave Home Without - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[7]
  • 2003 : Best Overall Mods - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[7]
  • 2004 : Best Level Design - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[8]
  • 2005 : Players' Choice #10 - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[9]
  • 2006 : Honourable Mention - 'Mod of the Year' Awards, Mod Database[10]

Natural Selection 2

  • 2012 : Best Indie Game - PC Gamer’s Best of E3 Awards[11]
  • 2012 : Best Indie Game - Gamespy's Best of E3 Awards[12]
  • 2012 : Best PC Multiplayer Game (People's Choice) - IGN Best of 2012 Awards[13]


  1. ^ "Decoda Lua IDE now Open Source". UnknownWorlds. 
  2. ^ "Natural Selection 2 on Twitter". Twitter. 
  3. ^ "About - UnknownWorlds". UnknownWorlds. 
  4. ^ "Natural Selection 2 on Steam". Steam Store. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Rev up your engines". Computer Graphics World. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Mods of 2002 feature". Mod DB. 
  7. ^ a b c "Mods of 2003 feature". Mod DB. 
  8. ^ "Mods of 2004 feature". Mod DB. 
  9. ^ "Mods of 2005 feature". Mod DB. 
  10. ^ "Mods of 2006 - Player's Choice feature". Mod DB. 
  11. ^ "PC Gamer's Best of E3 Awards". PC Gamer. 
  12. ^ "GameSpy: GameSpy's Best of E3 2012 Awards - Page 1". gamespy.com. 
  13. ^ "Best PC Multiplayer Game". IGN. 

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