As the second part in our alien "reveals", we give to you the Skulk!
Posted by TychoCelchuuu on Aug 6th, 2009
He's everyone's favorite wall-hugging murderer and he's looking more handsome than ever. As most of you know, the Skulk is the default character class and main element of the alien fighting force. He is fast, able to hide and ambush and has a powerful melee attack. But with no ranged attacks and without a lot of health (although he's a bit tougher than in NS1), being effective as a Skulk is all about knowing when and how to attack and being skilled enough to get close to the target. Pervasive vent and ducts systems help him choose when and where to fight and also provide a quick escape.
Here's some concept art showing how he started his new life:
Here's a video showing him in action:
The Skulk's abilities are pretty similar to those in NS1. He's such an important class that we're a little timid about giving him crazy new abilities (although new ones are always under consideration). Wall-running Skulks can drive their sharp leg spikes into crevices to walk on walls or ceilings as if they were the ground. It doesn't cost energy nor does it slow you down, so it can be used to dodge gunfire, confuse enemies or hide. You can get a glimpse of wall-running in action with the Skulk running up the wall behind the Onos at 0:41 in our teaser video.
Bite With his powerful multi-hinged jaws, he can deliver a lot of damage very quickly. As in NS1, the Skulk player's view is from inside his mouth (is this really that controversial or weird?). We're still not sure what his alt-fire for Bite is going to be. We've talked a lot about a grapple type of attack where he could clench down on a marine and do damage to him over time, but that seemed too annoying from the marine's perspective (and how would he shoot the skulk off of him?). Please give us some suggestions.
Leap The Skulk can leap short distances quickly, landing in a pounce and doing damage to its target. In NS1, leap appeared later in the game – now he always has it. Coupled with wall-running, leap allows good players to traverse the map without ever touching the ground.
What about 'site?! You'll notice that he no longer has Parasite. The reason we currently don't have it as one of his abilities is because we think it's better for the Alien Commander to be scouting (which is the main purpose of Parasite). I really like the secondary purpose of it though, which is to do a small amount of ranged damage to kind of goad a marine into (hopefully, very stupid) action. I would love a kind of provoking ability for him here and will probably put one in later if we come up with an appropriate one.
Finally, we wanted to show you a bit of the environments the Skulk will be spending his time in - vents. We have a shiny new engine now and also because players spend so much time as a skulk in vents, we wanted to make them look a lot cooler. Here's a concept piece Cory painted showing yours truly in a modeled vent (click the magnifying glass in the lower right to get an even higher-res version for your desktop).