Alien: Isolation Preview: Amanda Ripley’s ‘Parallel Story’

A Station in ‘Anarchy and Chaos’

Though the game is called Alien: Isolation, Amanda isn’t its only character. In fact, Sevastopol is not an abandoned station — but it is in the process of being decommissioned when Amanda and her crewmates arrive aboard it. But it’s inhabited, Court said, and in the throes of disaster at the start of the game as the alien marauds through its halls and vents.

“What I can say is that people in incredibly dangerous or extraordinary situations like the anarchy and chaos of the station do unpredictable things.”

Creative Assembly wouldn’t reveal much about the game’s story or those other characters, however. Lindop said it wants to preserve mystery for players entering the game — but revealed that people on the station would play a role in the game.

“What I can say is that people in incredibly dangerous or extraordinary situations like the anarchy and chaos of the station do unpredictable things,” he said. “And some people can be relied upon and some people can’t. And so part of our story is that journey of seeing other people dealing with this incredible creature aboard the station, and how badly or how bravely or how cowardly some people face that.

“The great thing about the film (Alien) is it took ordinary working guys — you know, ‘truckers in space’ — and put them in this incredible situation. You saw these different personality types clashing against each other as the story unfolded. That kind of storytelling is universal, especially against an enemy like that.”

Lindop and Court wouldn’t confirm it directly, but it seems as though players can expect conflicts with those other characters potentially to get violent. In the hands-on demo for the game, Amanda carried a hammer that she could swing as a weapon. It was completely ineffectual against the alien, but it seems likely the weapon has other uses.

Beware the Retcon

Not much else was revealed about the story of Alien: Isolation, although it’s clear that for The Creative Assembly, creating an “authentic Alien experience” is a major priority. Still, franchise fans have already expressed concern about the game retconning certain known elements of the film story, such as Amanda Ripley’s fate and humanity’s encounters with the aliens.

It’s true that without some degree of retconning, it would be impossible to make a new story in the Alien franchise. It’ll also be important to wait and see how The Creative Assembly deals with the overall tale it’s telling, and how that tale fits into the greater Alien universe. Though it’s not fare to judge CA on the sins of other developers, one can’t help but think back to 2012′s Aliens: Colonial Marines, and its liberal and somewhat weakly justified retcons of plot points between Aliens and Alien 3.

That’s reason enough for a little skepticism, although it’s far too early to make an outright judgment of Alien: Isolation. The Creative Assembly’s incredible attention to detail as relates to Alien, though, is extremely impressive, and is probably enough to earn the developer the benefit of the doubt.

Alien: Isolation is headed to PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 in late 2014.

Disclosure: Sega provided airfare and accommodations for our writer 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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