Wednesday 15 January 2014

Loving the Alien: Isolation

When SEGA officially announced Alien: Isolation, and its survival horror ambitions, I was left cold! The Alien franchise hasn't had the most auspicious history in video games.

Alien³ on SEGA's Mega Drive and Aliens vs Predator on Mac and PC came closest to distilling the tension of James Cameron's Aliens. Whereas Aliens: Colonial Marines was met with derision by gamers and the gaming press.

However, reading this month's Edge magazine may have rekindled my enthusiasm! This is an excerpt from an interview with Creative Assembly (the studio tasked with putting the bite back).

After finishing Viking: Battle For Asgard, Creative Assembly’s Alistair Hope and Jude Bond worked together with a small team to develop a survival-horror prototype designed to sell Sega on the notion of letting them play with the Alien brand it had recently acquired. “Not that we were really prepared to make it,” Hope says. “We were in a position to make it, but we didn’t have the team or the tools.”

In six weeks, a “handful of guys” put together a proof of concept, which in its very earliest forms had a player-controlled xenomorph in place of the complex decision-making tree that would eventually dictate its behaviour. The decisions made by the alien player in those miniature games of hide and seek would later form the basis of the creature’s AI.

“In a way, that was just us being fanboys, just having a chance to build some alien environments,” Hope explains. “But that little tech demo went a bit viral within Sega, and suddenly it seemed like this pipe dream of making a game based on the original Alien [film] started to get some momentum.”

Alien: Isolation follows Amanda, Ellen Ripley's daughter, as she attempts to discover what happened to her mother and the crew of the Nostromo.

You can pre-order Alien: Isolation today.

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