Aliens vs. Predator Q&A

Rebellion's Tim Jones talks about what makes the Aliens tick in the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator.

Aliens and Predators have been fighting for a long time now--across several films, countless comic books, and multiple video games. With the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC from Sega and developer Rebellion, the battle will continue into the current generation of consoles and PCs. To find out how the AVP approach has changed since Rebellion's earlier work on such games as 1999's Aliens Versus Predator for the PC and 1994's Alien vs. Predator on the Atari Jaguar, we spoke with AVP project lead, Tim Jones.

GameSpot: How did you settle on the Aliens gameplay?

Tim Jones: We asked ourselves what would drive an Alien--what is an Alien trying to achieve? The answer is pretty simple: It's about survival. In our game that means escaping captivity, eliminating threats, and serving your queen. The other key element is the way the Aliens have been portrayed in the movies: They are scary and lethal; they hide in the dark, can move fast, and pounce on their prey from any angle. We hope we've successfully captured a flavor of what it might be like to be an Alien in the game!

GS: Did you follow the lead of any of the previous games that featured the Aliens?

TJ: There have been numerous Aliens games over the years, and myself and the team have probably played them all and, we take inspiration from wherever we find it!

Of course, we developed the original Aliens vs. Predator game on PC in 1999, which is still very fondly remembered to this day. So it's giving us a buzz to take that classic experience and bring it up to date for not only fans of the game and film franchises, but also a whole new potential AVP audience as well. A significant number of our team [members] on the game actually worked on our original 1999 AVP game, including myself. So it's been really cool to have the chance to come back and work on the franchise again.

GS: What mechanics did you feel you had to have in for them?

TJ: There was no way we were going to make Aliens vs. Predator without giving the Alien player the ability to walk on any surface (walls and ceilings included!) and to allow them to replenish their health by taking a bite out of their victims' heads…

GS: Has fan feedback influenced what's wound up in the game?

TJ: Yes, of course. We are fans ourselves, and our instincts for what should be part of the game often coincide with the wishes of the fans on the forums.

GS: Can you run us through what players can do as an Alien? Will they be able to lay eggs as in the Jaguar game?

TJ: Alien players are fully empowered to be the master of any environment they inhabit: dashing into ducts, leaping from surface to surface, seeing through the darkness. Combine that with the razor sharp teeth, tail, and claws, and there's a real force to be reckoned with! While you won't be laying eggs yourself, they certainly make an appearance. And you will have the opportunity to introduce the gruesome facehugger to some of your unfortunate victims…

GS: Has it been challenging to balance their abilities to make them competitive without being too overpowered?

TJ: Balancing in this game is extremely important, especially when you're working with three species that all provide their own unique gameplay experience. We are investing lots of time to ensure that we get the balance right in both single-player and multiplayer, and it's shaping up really well. Each of the three species, the Marine, Predator, and Alien, is capable of taking out all of the others--if players have their wits about them! We're constantly playing the multiplayer in the office and having lots of fun.

This isn't going to end well.

GS: So, from the trailer, it looks like you are sticking to the standard warrior aliens we've seen before. Are those the only ones being included or are there more (such as queens, predalien, etc.)?

TJ: I can confirm that the Predalien will feature in the game, and there will be other alien types too, including a couple of things that have never been seen before in the Aliens or Predator universe. Other than that, I can't reveal anymore. You'll just have to wait and see!

GS: Where will the game fit into the whole Alien/Predator movie timeline?

TJ: Our game story takes place about 30 years after the events of the movie Alien 3, so technology has moved on a little further in that time. Fans can expect to see some interesting twists to the iconic weaponry from the movies. It's a completely new story to the Aliens and Predator universes but obviously very much inspired and in keeping with the different stories in the movies and Dark Horse comic books. There is a huge volume of material for the Aliens and Predator universe out there, and we have strived to make sure that our story remains consistent with the established lore.

We're all huge fans of the Aliens and Predator universe, and while we're steering clear of obvious direct quotes from the movies, the game features a number of references that fans should delight in spotting. Though they certainly won't distract from the experience for the uninitiated.

GS: Will there be any ties with the Aliens: Colonial Marines game?

TJ: No, our game won't be tied with Aliens: Colonial Marines. We are developing the game that we want to make, ensuring that it's consistent with the previous AVP titles whilst also evolving the franchise. As a lifelong Aliens fan, I think it's great that SEGA is publishing more than one Aliens game in the near future. We're all really excited in the studio to see what the talented team at Gearbox delivers.

GS: Thanks for your time, Tim.

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295 comments
albiokay
albiokay

i gotta be honest, i wasnt too excited about this game at first. i wasnt expecting much more than a generic, mediocre game. however, i just got done playing the multiplayer demo, and i am pretty blown away :] i didnt have much expectations, and this game has so far thouroughly exceeded them. the demo is an absolute blast to play once you get the hang of the three different classes. flying down a rounded halway in a mad spiral as an alien, going from floor to wall to cieling to floor again is quite a thrill. the alien's maneuverability makes it my favorite class so far. the marine isn't very different from any other fps, but its not bad by any means. and the predator is just a tad hard to get used to. you have to be really pro to play good as the predator, or else you'll get pwnt. the alien's all about precision and stealth, crawling on a cieling and pouncing on unsuspecting players. execution kills are pretty spectacular to, on both the giving and the recieving end. overall, this is a pretty fantastic demo, and im very excited for the full game :)

gamehog5
gamehog5

The trade off is that the aliens are weaker and easily staggered and are forced to engage in hit and run melee tactics I'v had no problem pwning aliens I encounter as a marine, it's simple never turn and run, watch your back and the classic, block - melee and let'er rip it works 90% of the time besides most mouth breathers out there are having a hard enough time dealing with full surface maneuverability (i kill countless aliens that saunter up on the floor not wall running like they should) never mind some confusing visual scheme not saying it's a terrible idea just that they want most people to be able to play and enjoy the game.

chaosbrigade
chaosbrigade

@ RAGSNSTITCHES That's what the three factions are here for. If you are playing as an alien race, you should expect to experience a perspective that is very unfamiliar and of course, alien, to you. Aliens are agile, ferocious and downright lethal, if players wish to control such a powerful monster then there must be a trade off. If you can't get used to the echo vision, go play Marines. That's why there is a human race in "Aliens vs. Predator" in the first place, to provide a sense of familiarity to the audience.

RAGSNSTITCHES
RAGSNSTITCHES

@chaosbrigade Your really don't know how games work do you... 1st off, they didn't give them eyes... but they couldn't make players endure a couple of hours seeing everything in "ECHOE VISION" (and besides aliens hunt by pheromones in AVP lore distinct from Alien lore, with hearing providing awareness), don't forget it's normal people playing this game and they use their EYES. ...and secondly, don't go into game development, your knowledge of "user friendly" systems is severely lacking.

chaosbrigade
chaosbrigade

I'm very disappointed that they didn't stay true to the biological aspects of Aliens in AVP. Aliens do NOT have eyes, it was explicitly stated by Ridley Scot, the creator of the original Alien franchise. Aliens rely solely on sounds to find their preys. AVP should have created something similar to the Daredevil's echo vision for the aliens.

six_six_808
six_six_808

I hope they're will be aliens that take animal forums like: dogs, tigers, bears, lions, and anything at all actually...

BoaMo121
BoaMo121

they mentioned aliens:colonial marines if you think about your getting a game pretty similar to it plus 2 other campaigns also.... HEAD BITING HEALTH REGENERATION FTFW!!!

autiger92
autiger92

ahhhh! the predalien will be in it :)

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

I was wating for long time this.Hope they do it right

Taxta
Taxta

Good to see that a publisher has picked up a great franchise again. My worry though, is that did the developers (Rebellion) get the job done right? Since their most recent released game, Rogue Warrior did not get even a reasonable review, my thoughts at the moment is "Is this game developed by the same team/staff as Rogue Warrior?" If so, I am afraid my expectations for the game won't be too high. In the past two AvP games, my main motivation of play was the atmosphere it provided. As Dschadir has pointed out below, the "Bleep...Bleep..." from the Motion Sensor alone provided an authentic tension that the movie successfully provides. Please God, let the Single Player Campaign be good, and I promise not to say "I like to keep this handy for close encounters." every time I bust out my 12 gauge SG in multiplayer.

GreaseyJuggler
GreaseyJuggler

Game looks great, spread it on! Dschadir & Rye: you guys are absolutly right, they took a lot of inspiration from the Aliens franchise, but also warhammer 40k. The Movie Starship troopers (originally a book) took a lot of the aesthetic qualities from Warhammer 40k as well, hense why all the humans armor closely resembles that of the Cadian Shock troops

Dschadir
Dschadir

@Rye: Now where do you think Blizzard got their inspiration for the first Starcraft game? :) Yes, indeed, Aliens (1986). There are a lot a references to this movie in Starcraft. Space marines, drop ship pilots (the line "in the pipe, five by five" comes straight out of this movie, it even sounds the same), Zerg (Aliens). Btw the first AvP was awesome, bleep ...... bleep ...... bleep ..... bleep .... bleep ... bleep .. bleep bleep bleep bleep. Just these simple bleeps got my heart going like crazy on more than one occasion. Very tense game.

_Rye_
_Rye_

This will probably be much like if there was a starcraft first person shooter predator=protoss alien=zerg marine=terran have alot in common if you think about it as far as looks and weaponary, but anyway game looks awesome muiliplayer!

kingsi7e
kingsi7e

Now it's only a question of how all that beauty will be executed: alike the first AvP (which was ok, but not too great), or like AvP2 which was plain amazing due to the story driven gameplay.

Kingvar
Kingvar

Wahaha, looks coolh! >:3

Nekromenos
Nekromenos

Movement looked a bit weird in the video. I suppose the final product will be more polished though... can't wait to get this one!

roxcabaz
roxcabaz

I expect superb AI and all the original movie derived sounds optimized.

Ravonna
Ravonna

Looking forward to this, but I hope the finished game will have much better graphics. Trailer looks at least 2-3 years old.

jakybuddy
jakybuddy

Game looks awesome - If it lives up to the standards of AvP 2, then it will be a great game.

emkplayboy6
emkplayboy6

I'm getting this game for sure! Have all the old avp's and they all rocked!

LarsLingon
LarsLingon

Cheers for an awesome game series! Looking forward to this one! :D

Hizakii
Hizakii

A blitzkrieg crazed alien in a dark dingy corridor, damn spooky.

raptisth
raptisth

Nice and Spooky graphics... but I remember a few years back the same game (with some older game graphics). Anyway an alien featured game never fails ;)

NoAssKicker47
NoAssKicker47

Those two games are going to be really awesome, but I truly wish to see what Gearbox does more.

iCEE_Taffer
iCEE_Taffer

yay! An old game with new technology. That always works well, especially if the old game is good. And AVP (2) is more then that!

mabbb
mabbb

I thought the suspense in the first AvP was very good . I like to play as predator because of the movie representations . I saw both Alien and predator at the movies . There would be more of a challenge for predator if not all it's weapons can be used against Aliens on account of the acid blood . I am looking forward to this also because it will be for consoles as well .

geokes76
geokes76

Avp 2 was my childhood :p, I hope it has a similar start to the alien campain (facehugger, chestburster, alien)

lecter38
lecter38

AvP1 missed the competitive multiplayer, AvP2 missed the online coop survival, a game combining both sounds very promising. just hope they dont ruin the delicate balance of the game. Cant wait to try it out.

kiro_swan
kiro_swan

I am going to love this game. Brutal alien gameplay ftw

sofusjunk
sofusjunk

Still waiting for a real "Aliens the Movie" game, playing as Ripley would be awesome. Never understood why they had to mix aliens and predators, in movies or games. I like both Aliens and Predator movies, but together it just doesn't interest me. Been waiting for that game since the mid-eighties, guess it will never happen.

InfinitiLvr
InfinitiLvr

OMG I can't wait for this game. The one from 1999 was amazing.

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

I still have discs for the origional PC versions. Fun times. The video gives me a bit of a "Natural Selection" feeling. (Free HL1 Mod). A very diferant setting and universe of course. Still, I do love that gritty early 80's space marine stuff. Hope it's done well.

paradamed
paradamed

I just hope it will be as good as the avp series for pc

AIRWALKTDK666
AIRWALKTDK666

also does anyone know if u can play as a facehugger?

flesh19no
flesh19no

I missed some questions like: "will the game be heavy skripted?" In AvP 2 everything was skripted. If you stood still nothing happened. You had to walk somewhere to trigger enemies to arrive. In AvP1 enemies walked around freely searching for you, I liked that more. You never knew where they would come if you played the same level twice. And would be cool if you could barricade doors or seal them with blow torch and set up turrets. Like a big sandbox map where aliens tries to find you and you have to defend a position for a given time.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Looks creepy. Imagine yourself as one of those marines being attacked by the alien or the predator.

chechak7
chechak7

This game looks promising

Poldek87
Poldek87

Please !!!!!! DONT RUIN THIS !!!!!!!

kent6650
kent6650

I rememer playing Aliens vs. Predator 2. It was awesome. You get to play the 3 races - Humans, Aliens, Predators. This game looks promising. I just hope it won't be a disappointment.

stagga99
stagga99

@JoshBGosh Since the Aliens don't actually have 'eyes' like we do and apparently see using some other kind of sense, like bats use sonar, then bright lights shouldn't have the same effect as they would on a human. Welcome to pedant's corner :)

JoshBGosh
JoshBGosh

As we can see in the dark better as an Alien , it would be good if the Predator could only seen good if his mask is on. Or if an Alien could temporarily 'lose his night-vision' if he is blinded by a flood light. The darkness is what could make this game deliver more shivers than both Stevens.

reklawxero
reklawxero

The '99 version was the best to date (I also bought a jaguar when it first came out for the AVP title) and after reading this interview I will Definately purchase this ASAP , cause I straight up agree with "HeavyMetalBard" .....oh and I do also hope they have dedicated servers not this new "Matchmaking" Trend crap that is going on (that stuff is buggy as hell)