Alien: Isolation is ‘The “Alien” Game We’ve Always Wanted to Play’

Sounding Alien

Equally important to the visuals in creating a feeling of authenticity to the film is sound, and Hope said The Creative Assembly also went to great lengths to match the auditory feel of Scott’s movie. Fox worked with The Creative Assembly to license music from the original Alien score for use in Alien: Isolation, but the developer had to create more music to fill out the length of the game.

To do that, it worked with composers to deconstruct the original soundtrack and identify the core sounds that made it distinctly Alien, in order to create more of it. The developer also worked with the London Philharmonic to record new music for the game.

Music is also used to echo and telegraph the actions of the alien, to a degree. The more thematically horrific music in Alien: Isolation reacts to the situation, Hope said, with the music rising and becoming more intense as the alien draws closer to Ripley, and then dropping and ending as she escapes danger. All of it is meant to add to the horror atmosphere of the game, as well as to the emotions that come with encountering the creature.

A Sense of Horror

Though the actual hands-on time with Alien: Isolation presented during the preview event was fairly limited, it must be said that The Creative Assembly’s attention to Alien details is, in a word, staggering. From sound creation to art direction, from alien animation to period props, the team has put an extremely high degree of focus on getting the little things about the game absolutely right. Cooperation with Fox seems like it has yielded little additions to the game that will take it to another level of authenticity — some things, like production data, sound effects reels and other elements, haven’t been seen or used in the 30 years since the film was made, the developers said.

That doesn’t necessarily translate into a great game, of course. Last year’s Aliens: Colonial Marines from Gearbox also seemed like it had a strong grip on the little details that would make it look, feel and play like James Cameron’s Aliens, and that game turned out to be a cautionary tale of sorts, instead. But nothing seen in Colonial Marines, either in the release or in preview demos and other materials, comes anywhere near what The Creative Assembly has tapped to make Alien: Isolation.

The game The Creative Assembly is making seems to be the game its staff wants to play, just as it also seems to be the Alien survival-horror game many fans of the franchise have been wishing existed. At this point, it’s important to maintain a healthy degree of skepticism about plans and promises. But at the very least, it’s clear that The Creative Assembly knows, loves, and most of all, “gets” Alien. And that could make Alien: Isolation something very special, if all the elements come together in the final product when it is released in late 2014.


Disclosure: Sega provided airfare and accommodations to attend this preview event.


Phil Hornshaw is deputy editor at Game Front. Read more of his work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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3 Comments on Alien: Isolation is ‘The “Alien” Game We’ve Always Wanted to Play’

Koobismo

On January 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Hell. Yeah. Creative Assembly, at this moment I could totally kiss you. Don’t you dare to squander my enthusiasm, I don’t get enthusiastic about games too often anymore. Just nail this game and I’ll be a happy boy.

An awesome report, Phil, thanks. Something I’ve been waiting for for a while.

As a side note, it’s something not often discussed, but I wonder how many games use 3-D face scans to create their characters. A trend that either seems to be popping more and more often or one that was happening for a while, of one I just wasn’t aware.

quicktooth

On January 8, 2014 at 5:14 am

I’m tentatively interested. Superb looking game at this stage, but we all know what’s happened with every single Aliens game ever (though often not the Aliens vs Predator games). The intensity and passion for detail by the team is super encouraging, and is well reflected in the video embeded in this article. For the first time I’ve seen a game to do with the Aliens that FEELS like ‘Alien’. Strange that it’s taken this long to get a game in even the right genre for the movies- they’re survival horror, not action. In fact ‘Aliens’ is also survival horror, a couple of cutscenes of gung-ho colonial marines dying like flies nonwithstanding. Funny that the central message of Aliens- that blood mad killers who are very impressed with themselves don’t have any actual answers for solving life’s problems- has been utterly lost in every game based on it. Ha. Ha. Baffling. Good thing this game exists; at least according to the currently released info on Gamefront. Here’s hoping they really get this right.

TheOneS2k

On January 18, 2014 at 6:16 am

Yeah just like that last Alien game, what was it called that one that failed miserably?

I am not going to get excited for a video game until I see reviews by majority of people
on metacritic and see gameplay on websites including Twitch.tv . Look at the last Alien game and Diablo 3
both have failed miserably, case closed.