Aliens vs. Predator Impressions

We get an early look at two of the three campaigns that will feature in Rebellion's upcoming sci-fi shooter.

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Currently scheduled for release sometime in 2010, Aliens vs. Predator is a first-person shooter that will feature no fewer than three story-driven campaigns in addition to multiplayer features. Earlier today, during a behind-closed-doors meeting with developer Rebellion, we were afforded our first look at the colonial marines campaign and then, at Sega's show-floor booth, we checked out a great demo of the predator campaign.

The marines campaign, we're told, takes place some 30 years after the events of Alien 3, but it was immediately apparent that the game draws much of its inspiration from the previous movie, James Cameron's Aliens. The gist of the story is that "the company" has colonized another planet and, sometime after colonists are settled there, a pyramid is discovered in which predators used to breed alien xenomorphs to hunt for sport. It's not clear exactly what happened next, but the colony interior is more than a little reminiscent of the one in Aliens, complete with large holes where acid blood has burned right through, and motion-sensing gun turrets that the marines have deployed to establish relatively safe areas.

Your mission--on this, your first drop as a rookie marine--is to rescue any surviving colonists, but based on what we saw today, we're not sure that you're going to find many of them. Xenomorphs can seemingly attack at any moment, coming out of holes in the walls, lurking on ceilings, hiding in shadows, and often almost impossible to see without the aid of your flashlight or a flare. You have a motion sensor on your pulse rifle, of course, but if you've seen Aliens you'll know that the noise it makes (which is re-created perfectly here, along with other sounds from the movies) isn't necessarily one that you want to hear.

The demo room in which we saw the marines campaign demo was equipped with an impressive surround-sound setup, which in concert with the ambient noises and the yells from other marines established a near-constant state of tension. Hearing a squadmate shout that the aliens are testing the perimeter lets you know that trouble is on the way, and when that's followed by a cry of "They cut the power!" you know that trouble has arrived.

Aliens are a single-minded species, but they're not stupid. Sure, they'll charge at you occasionally, and you might even have to fight them off with melee attacks from time to time. But for the most part the xenomorphs that we saw in the demo were quite adept at hiding in dark corners, and at remaining motionless to render the marines' sensors useless until they were ready to pounce. The marines campaign will likely be the most traditional of the three, not only because of the weapons at your disposal, but also because you can expect to be facing overwhelming odds at almost every turn. It's perhaps not the most exciting campaign of the three, but if nothing else it looks to be a great counterpoint to the predator campaign that we checked out afterward.

Presumably set around the same time period, the predator campaign will afford you access to many of the cool abilities and weapons that made the deadly hunter a hit with moviegoers more than 20 years ago. We were told that the focus when designing the campaign was to let players experience "the thrill of the hunt" while playing as a creature that's both athletic and cunning. Many of the abilities in the predator's repertoire are exactly what you'd expect: camouflage, thermal vision, and a shoulder-mounted plasma caster with a cool three-dot laser sight that marines will notice on themselves if you don't kill them quickly enough.

You'll have some far more interesting and unusual tricks up your sleeve as the predator as well, such as a visual zoom that doubles as a directional mic, which lets you eavesdrop on marine conversations and even record them so that they can be played back later to provide distractions. You'll also be able to jump great distances with precision, though perhaps the most interesting and unusual thing about that is the way that the controls work. To jump between any two points, you simply target the spot where you want to land and, provided it's within range, tapping a single button is enough to get you there. If your targeting reticle has a ripple effect surrounding it, that means you're going to make some noise when you land, though, so the ability to jump around without any danger of falling doesn't mean that you don't still have to think about what you're doing. Stealth appears to be one of the most important weapons in the predator's arsenal, and we saw it put to great use as the E3 demo moved out of the jungle and toward a marine compound.

The compound was well defended, with enough regular patrols and sentry guns in and around it that even Solid Snake might think twice about attempting an infiltration. After successfully locating a guard whose patrol route took him far from his colleagues, the predator entered camouflage mode and moved in close for an especially indulgent kill that we later learned was a "trophy kill." Like all hunters, predators like to collect trophies, and when they're not skinning marines and hanging them from trees in the jungle, they apparently like to collect heads from their prey and, on this occasion, said cranium still had a length of spinal column hanging from it. Rebellion isn't ready to reveal what purpose these trophies will serve just yet, but the reps made it clear that there will definitely be some incentive for you to collect them.

Inside the compound, the predator had still more tricks up its sleeve. Before draining the power from a switch that would both unlock doors and replenish the energy used to power its weapons (though not its stealth ability), it tossed a trip mine into an area that any approaching enemy would almost certainly fall victim to. Then, stealthily moving through the open door, the predator made its way to a control room where, by interacting with (read: destroying) a couple of laptops, it was able to both switch off the gun turrets and cut the power to the electric fence surrounding the compound. That didn't go unnoticed by the xenomorphs in the surrounding jungle, and moments later the marines found themselves under attack from a number of them.

To trigger the end of the demo, all that the predator needed to do was escape from the compound back into the jungle, which wasn't too difficult given that the xenomorphs and the marines were keeping each other busy. There was the small matter of a locked blast door to get past though, which could be unlocked only by using the head of the marine commander to bypass a retinal scanner. You can probably figure out how that went down for yourself at this point, but we will say that the way that the predator caressed that commander's spinal column was pretty special.

It probably would've been possible for the predator to just leave the compound once the door was open, but the xenomorphs' senses render camouflage useless, so the predator stuck around to take care of them beforehand. The predator is a vicious melee fighter, but it's not so powerful that it can withstand too many attacks from multiple enemies, so it chose to pick off a couple of the aliens with its plasma caster before getting up close and personal with the last one.

Upon leaving the compound it became clear that the E3 demo wasn't quite over yet, at least not until the predator was confronted by a "predalien" hybrid. If you're not familiar with this particular abomination of nature, just imagine what happens when xenomorphs capture a predator hunting party and impregnate them. The result is a xenomorph that has not only some of the trademark visual traits of a predator, but also its abilities. It's a deadly adversary, and one that we're told will appear in multiple boss fights.

Even at this relatively early stage of development, Aliens vs. Predator shows a lot of promise, and we can't wait to see what Rebellion has in store for both the xenomorphs campaign and the game's multiplayer component. We look forward to bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

Discussion

160 comments
Mordraneth
Mordraneth

@BigHooze Yeh, the Xenomorph takes some getting used to. In this, the "bubble-eye" view is back, like AvP1 and I am certain alot of peeps will find it hard to get used to.

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

I've never played one of these games (of the aliens/predator), but am really looking forward to this one. I've been playing rpg's lately (medieval style- Oblivion goty and The Witcher: Enhanced Edition), after a while, I want to shoot something lol. Start itching for guns again. I am glad it's coming out this week, someone had told me either March or April, glad I double checked.

AscariBMW16
AscariBMW16

@Mordraneth Not bad I suppose, Can't wait to play as the Marines. Hope there is good few missions instead of 3 or 4 really long ones lol

BigHooze
BigHooze

i remember avp2. playing as an alien gave me a headache

Mordraneth
Mordraneth

@AscariBMW16 The campiagn will be 12 hours, give or take. Each species is approx. 4hrs long. However with the dynamic AI NPCs will react diffrently in each play through, so replayability is a definate.

AscariBMW16
AscariBMW16

I cannot Wait for this. i wonder how long the campaign will be?

Undead_Scorcher
Undead_Scorcher

Since I don't have a powerful enough PC, I wanna buy it for the Xbox 360 or PS3... Anyone having doubts on which version they're gonna buy? I guess 360 could be performing better... I dunno :P

kenkke
kenkke

Im gonna get Ps3, new tv and this at the same day!! 19th February! F*cking excited!

sharkman123
sharkman123

theres an old game like this on p.c called alien vs. preditor 2, my friend has it and you can play as all the races but the game is like 5 years old. I wonder if this game will be any good

montruo
montruo

hengq: of course you can play with all.

hengq
hengq

can we play al of the 3 RACEs? play as HUMAN, alien or the pred?

oldbluekid
oldbluekid

Please, please, please!, make an updated Alien Vs. Predator 1(1999)!

johnnystarr
johnnystarr

Im really looking forward to this i hope there is a spaceship level

vahnn0
vahnn0

AvP2 sucked terribly, but i only say that because i have the distinct fortune and pleasure of playing AvP1 in it's multiplayer heyday. And hey, it's single player was stellar as well. AvP1 had dark, spooky atmosphere, with flickering lights of varying colors (you could shoot out almost all sources of light, even in multiplayer), which could serve as a huge advantage for both alien races. The general feel of the game was much darker (AvP2 just came off as cartoony and goofy to me.) Also, the game was much faster paced. Aliens moved FAST, and the fish-eye lens made it disorienting at first, but after a while you could learn to see enemies to your sides! The Predator's cloak was graphically much better in AvP1. And the disc and pistol weren't such lame overpowered weapons. I hope Rebellion stays true to their roots and creates a game with an equally over the top, chilling, almost terrifying atmosphere, and fast paced game play with strategic twists like the original.

Dobblebanger
Dobblebanger

I cant wait!! I hope it's even better than avp2. :)

shenron43
shenron43

looks like it could turn out to be a solid game.

Boothy316
Boothy316

I played the original pc game Aliens vs Predator several years ago and it was a huge multi-player hit back then. I can only imagine what it's going to be like on next gen equipment. *drool

moscardino
moscardino

Can't wait! Hope the Alien is given some cool attack like the predators trophy kill

AvivScrewvalla
AvivScrewvalla

I can't help but wonder if the Predator Spear (Melee and throwable) and Discs (from Predators 2 and AVP 2) will be used in the game. This will truly make the Predator campaign surreal

xxDEUCExx
xxDEUCExx

Gotta say I'm pretty stoked about this one. I played the first two AvP Games on the PC and they were great! Bradley7777, did you ever play the first two games online? Kinda sounds like you are describing the jungle map to-the-letter.

paradamed
paradamed

I hope they create a game as good as the first avp

HellJumper
HellJumper

I hope this is a continuation of the story from the Alien vs Predator 2 PC game...and it better not be a prequel of it. Story aside, this looks awesome

ngnikolaos312
ngnikolaos312

Vivid description Bradley7777. You've won my thumbs up. This game too.

Bradley7777
Bradley7777

This will be awesome. I bet in the multiplayer you will get to choose either race and hve a 3-way battle in massive maps. That would be uber-cool. A Marine just shoots an Alien from a tree (a la Jungle Map) Then he sees the ominous 3 red dots pan up his chest onto his forehead. The Predator is about to take the shot while a Xenomorph slowly creeps up behind the Predator, savoring the meal to come

Trooperdx3117
Trooperdx3117

I really cannot wait for this Aliens versus predator 2 was absolutely brilliant and those Marine levels were genuinely pant-filling

Danagan
Danagan

I played the multi player aspect to number to and its so much fun! cant wait for this game!!!

Katz1233
Katz1233

The human character you play as is a dead man walking.I am guessing that there will only be 5-10 colonist alive.

Ice_man_1985
Ice_man_1985

i hoped for monolith would do it, like what they did on the second one, they are the best horror game developers, also rebellion is good they did the orginal, but i preferd the sequel, specially playing in marine, it was one of the best horror experience ever. can't wait.

icenotcube
icenotcube

By AVP2, Im pretty sure you're referring to the movie, then yes it did, some young guy comes along and tries to remake a whole franchise in one film with WAY too much gore, and WAY too much scenes where not even the strong stomached could watch. I even found that there were multiple scenes in the movie were my balls shrunk to prunes! OR If you're referring to the game, then It kinda did suck, though I havent played the first one, so I have nothing to compare it to. This new AVP looks awesome, Im a humongous fan of the Aliens film (and the series), And I was dissapointed to find out that I couldnt run the old Aliens DOS game! (Curse you Vista, and your dis-like for DOS!!!!!!!). Hopefully this one will be good enough for Vista's standards (jokingly)

AltairJohnson
AltairJohnson

Looks good.. I hope there will be a demo for this game (xbox 360 or PC). AVP2 sucked real bad.

Dark_Wolf92
Dark_Wolf92

I hope the multiplayer is as good as it was for AVP2, that game made me fall in love with online gaming

famguyfan2685
famguyfan2685

Looks sick! Can't wait to pop this in the PS# and never take it out!

Blobstone
Blobstone

This game is going to be amazing! And they're still working on it too! Can't wait till' 2010.

JunkyMcMuffin
JunkyMcMuffin

This game looks insane. First person view point from Aliens AND Predators?!?! Im there!

zimaking
zimaking

I'm more than pissed that Aliens:Colonial Marines was delayed for this game, so it better be really damn good. Now finish it and release A:CM!!

raza3
raza3

i want this game i like horror things XD

jonathan_el_san
jonathan_el_san

I mean, I have exclusive magazine based on this game, and let me tell you, the graphics look outstanding, and I saw those images, I was stunned, I'm definitely buying it. Game play wise, I must say I have to wait and see, a demo will tell a 110% that i will buy it or not :D but I doubt that will happen :D

RyGuy999
RyGuy999

I must have clocked hundreds of hours of online gameplay in AvP2. I hope the multiplayer is good in this one too.

infestedcyborg1
infestedcyborg1

Looking forward to this game, i just hope it plays well.

SpamU
SpamU

i need this now! predators rock! cant wait for the Predators movie either

Trathen
Trathen

if this is anything at all faithful to avp2 the game this will be awesome, especially if they combine newer shooting mechanisms with the same basic gameplay of the older avp games. im excited for this game AVP2 was one of the best games ever

TJP2010
TJP2010

I want to see a AVP game in 3rd person, i think that would just be superfreakingcalifragilisticexpialidocious!? Hell yes i just typed all that. =]

C-Dawg007
C-Dawg007

ive never really played avp games cuz they always got bad ratings. i gotta see tha review and ratings after a little while to see what this game has in store for players before i get it. looks promising on tha up side though, lol.