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