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Alien: Isolation devs discuss Colonial Marines backlash & why horror was the right way to go

Thursday, 6th February 2014 12:16 GMT By Dave Cook

Alien: Isolation developer The Creative Assembly has explained that while the furore over Aliens: Colonial Marines was particularly messy, it only reaffirmed the studio that there’s still a passionate series fan base out there. That bodes well for its horror project, the team had stressed.

We’ve got a raw Alien: Isolation gameplay video through the link if you want to see it in action.

Now, speaking with GI.biz, Alien: Isolation’s lead designer Gary Napper reflected on the backlash concerning Aliens: Colonial Marines.

“It did completely reaffirm to us that there was a massive Alien fanbase out there,” he began, “and they’re all after something very specific, and everyone has their own idea of what the alien should be

“But just to see such a vocal reaction to the game, everything that they’ve said they want is something that we’re building and we’re very excited about that.”

Senior producer Jonathan Court then discussed the reasons for going back to the series’ horror roots, and why there’s only one alien in the game. “That original movie was all about that one alien,” he explained, “and that’s what we decided we wanted to deliver.

“We thought the alien had been done effectively a disservice in a lot of games, it had been boiled down to fodder and we wanted to make a really meaningful experience with our alien and make it such an important part of the game.”

He added, “When we built this alien, when we first set out we said ‘we’re going to build the exact alien from the first film,’ but if you look at the alien from the first film the alien doesn’t really move much.

“It stands around, and they generally walk into him rather than him hunting and attacking them. So we found ourselves building people’s perception of what the alien was, rather than an exact copy from the first film.”

Are you happy with Alien: Isolation’s horror tangent so far? Let us know what you think below.

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4 Comments

  1. Luciferous

    They had me sold when i saw the Alien’s head case was semi-transparent with a deformed human skull underneath it, little details like that are what’s going to make this game great.

    I just hope the human characters are well done as well.

    #1 7 months ago
  2. karma

    Gearbox software said the exact same thing, “we’re making the game the fans want.” But the thing is the Aliens fanbase is one of the most divided fanbases in the world. Half of them adore Ridley Scott’s original slow burn horror and hate Camerons contribution and the other half prefer the second tension filled rollercoaster ride and find the originals pacing boring. Then you have minority of fans that prefer Alien 3′s bleak religion infused take on the subject matter and then after that there is the new breed of AvP fan weened on the comic books and movie spin-offs. Its a complete mess and they will never agree on anything. It doesnt matter which fan base you try to please, you’ll always end up upsetting the others.

    #2 7 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    I’m not such a fan of this.

    It really upends a lot of what the aliens are about. They’re not a Slendyman; as such, I’m not a fan of seeing them used as one. The human skull thing is silly, too, cheap schlock horror tricks in my opinion.

    Alien shares similarity with Predator (which might be why they share the same Universe a lot of the time) in that the xenomorphs aren’t ancient cthulhu horrors (which is the most boring thing they could be), they’re just hunters, at the top of their food chain for the ecology they exist within. That’s what made them so special and fascinating, it wasn’t that they were evil, but rather that they were…

    *deep breath*

    Alien.

    That’s why that Universe was nifty, and why I think that the similarly schlock elements of Prometheus made it all a bit crap and low-brow. It has to be some ancient horror out toe ruin the lives of the poor widdle humans. In Aliens, appreciably there was darkness on both sides as we were capturing and experimenting on their kind, and that’s why they were so pissed off.

    Alien was always about the dangers of the unknown, and how unfamiliar our own Universe can be. Frankly, the cthulhian horror scene is so formulaic and overdone by this point that I know exactly what to expect. Want to scare someone? Make it human but not quite — play on our baser instincts of xenophobia for entertainment value. Maybe it’s because of my self awareness, but I’m not a fan.

    Besides, I’m the sort who preferred playing as the xenomorphs in the original Alien vs. Predator — it provided a unique gameplay experience that I haven’t seen in many other places, since. I suppose it’s because most people are so attached to familiarity that they make this construct of fear and hatred out of anything different.

    And look at where that got us throughout history. Nope, I’m not one of those people. Proud of it, too. Hooray for self awareness.

    But yes, I’m just not a fan of this. I’m sorry. It’s very low-brow. It’s dumb horror. And it reduces the aliens to this unknown evil out to hunt us, specifically us. In the original Universe, we just happened across them, and they were doing what they’d been doing for millennia before we happened upon them. The schlock horror thing makes us special by insinuating that we’re special enough for every ancient evil in the Universe to want to wipe us out.

    We’re really not.

    It’s also arrogant to assume that we’ll always prevail, too, against all the odds. Which is another aspect of schlocky entertainment. That we’re so superior. 80 per cent of the rage at Mass Effect 3′s ending according to the polls I ran was down to the fact that holy qhiz, Shepard can die. NUH-UH.

    I’m tired of humans as paragons of virtue against cthulhian ancients horrors.

    It’s boring. It’s preschool stuff, honestly. It’s Red Riding Hood for big boys, with added gore and innuendo to make it mature.

    #3 7 months ago
  4. JB

    I`m hoping this will be great, but I can`t help feel that this should have been a DLC mode or a mini game in a “full” Aliens or AVP game.

    One alien was cool in Alien, but not so cool in Alien 3, viewers and gamers have moved on. We all know the alien by now. We know it`s strengths and weaknesses. If you don`t have a pulse rifle you`re toast, so you have to trap it somehow. I`m hoping they`re lying and there`s more than one alien in the game.

    I think it`s a really stoopid idea for a full game, but let`s hope I`m wrong.

    #4 7 months ago

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