Q&A: Sega on Aliens vs. Predator

We chat to Tim Jones, head of art and design at Rebellion about its upcoming science fiction first-person shooter.

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Something about human nature really loves seeing one badass take on another, whether it is in the boxing ring or in an intergalactic fight among three species. For our money, it's harder to find better entertainment value than with two of science fiction's scariest foes: aliens and predators. We caught up with the head of art and design at Rebellion, Tim Jones, to ask him about how balancing out the three factions works, details on multilayer, and to see what sort of hybrid foes the company will be bringing to the table in its upcoming game.

GameSpot AU : What challenges have you faced while balancing the three factions in the game? How have you addressed the issues?

Tim Jones: Balancing for this game is vital, especially when you’re working with three species that control in such completely different ways and provide their own unique gameplay experience. How do you balance an alien (who has no guns, but deadly melee attacks) against a Marine (who has heavy firepower, but is otherwise vulnerable) against a predator (stealthy and agile, but has no rapid-fire weapons)? The answer is to make the most of each character’s strengths and weaknesses, and play them off against each other.

We are spending a lot of time to ensure that we get the balance right in both our single and multiplayer gameplay, and the results so far are working out really well.

GS AU: We haven’t heard much about the multiplayer component of AVP. What can players expect from it?

TJ: Our multiplayer reveal will be happening later this year. Suffice to say that you will able to play as all three species, and there are some great game modes that make the most of each of their special abilities. It is sometimes hard to get the team to stop playing the multiplayer in the office and do some work!

GS AU: The class system in AVP2 multiplayer was criticised by the community as being overly complicated and imbalanced. How have you taken these concerns on board for this title?

TJ: We’ve looked very carefully at what has worked well and proven popular in previous games--and what has not--and we are focusing on making each species work as best as it can without complicating things further with class systems. There is a beautiful purity to the three-species combat we have!

GS AU: We’ve heard the game will feature some kind of trophy collection system when playing as a predator? Will the humans and aliens have a similar reward system?

TJ: We’re keeping some of the specific details of the game mechanics under wraps while they are still in development. What I can confirm, though, is that the alien player has its own spectacularly gruesome kill moves you can perform on your prey, which give the predator’s “trophy” kill moves a run for their money!

GS AU: One example we saw when playing as the predator was to cut the power to a marine base to let the xenomorphs in to deal with the Marines. Will you be able to do similar things with the other factions? And, how open ended will the puzzle-solving element be?

TJ: Each faction has its own way to interact with the environment. You can expect opportunities to cut the power and take out the lights as an alien. This definitely gives you the advantage in close encounters. The Marines will be the ones desperately trying to find ways to light up dark areas as they move through them!

GS AU: We’ve heard that the predalien will be making an appearance in the game. Will it always be the same enemy, or are there multiple types of predaliens that you'll have to deal with?

TJ: I can confirm that you’ll face a predalien in the game, and being the deadly mix of alien and predator that it is, you will not be in a hurry to meet another one!

GS AU: Given that it sounds like there'll be quite a few situations where all three factions will be fighting it out at the same time on the one map, what kind of scale are you able to achieve with the engine?

TJ: Rebellion’s Asura engine is the underlying technology behind AVP, and it is capable of both atmospherically claustrophobic spaces and much larger breathtaking scenes. We will be making use of all kinds of environments in the game, and there will be interspecies battles taking place in all of them.

GS AU: Will each of the three campaigns be of similar length? Is there a single overarching storyline? Does each have its own ending?

TJ: The three campaigns are all comparable in length and all portray different perspectives on the same series of events, though each species naturally gets parts of the overall story and events that the others don’t get to see. But I’d be spoiling it if I told you how it was going to end!

GS AU: Because the game isn’t based on the film franchise, are you giving any nods to the series?

TJ: The game has been very much inspired by the movies, particularly Alien, Aliens vs. Predator, and of course the Dark Horse comic books. 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 other fans should delight in spotting--though they certainly won’t distract from the experience for the uninitiated.

GS AU: Besides predaliens, do you have plans to create any other hybrids from the universe?

TJ: That would be telling! I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait and see what we’ve got planned. Fans can definitely expect to see some previously unseen aspects of both aliens and predators.

GS AU: Tim Jones, thanks for your time.

Discussion

105 comments
thorughfire
thorughfire

sounds like a great game but I would have liked to seen 3 seperate storylines,Instead of the same 1 just different versions of events.

thesovvolf
thesovvolf

This game will satisfy every thing you need in a game with all three classes, the Marine Campaign will probably be the scariest, in fact I can imagine it's going to be frightening as hell being the human having to face off against both the Xenomorphs and the Yutja's , the sound on the radar will probably be the worse thing as the creatures draw near. The Marine Campaign I think will probably handle more like your typical FPS compared to the other two species. As the Xenomorph you get the thrill of stalking and hunting down your prey, given that you don't have any ranged weaponry and those pulse rifles can put down those Xeno's pretty damb fast I imagine your going to have to rely on stealth, sneaking up on your enemy and quickly dispatching it. With the Yutja it will be more about guerilla warfare, ambushing and using hit and run tactics while using the two species's against one another, I imagine the Yutja will be the most balanced class, he can handle him self in CQC probably enough to be able to down a lone Xenomorph and he's packing some heavy weaponry for hunting down those humans. But lets not get my hopes too high just yet, it could fail harshly. Though from what I've seen so far AVP FTW!.

BlazeODU
BlazeODU

I can't wait! This is going a great sequel to AvP2! Naturally I'm going to get the PC version because you don't have to pay for multiplayer. (Yes, I'm looking at YOU Microsoft! XD)

_TheJoker_
_TheJoker_

It could be really interesting an AvP multiplayer game... ^^

Dragonsingh3000
Dragonsingh3000

form the guys who made the 1st AvP game on the PC, this looks and sounds very gooooooooooooooood...

q64silver
q64silver

cool, at least this one doesn't look like gow or ut3.

78thefly
78thefly

looks really good, will be a nice after Christmas present another excuse to sit in the dark , hope its just frightening

blowtrees
blowtrees

The AvP games on PC have generally been very, very good. That says a lot for a platform which is super saturated with FPS games. Even if this was a straight port, it would be GOTY. Very high expectations.

kartik24
kartik24

this better not be a hype.. cant wait

kuco31
kuco31

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

cash_chabuk
cash_chabuk

I never played this game before I'm curious now!

Mar28jw
Mar28jw

daikara and Mage25 think this is a remake of the jaguar title,what they have consoles on your homeplanet ho ho

unique_litani
unique_litani

ALIENS games always give me the creep, hope this will too... i bet it will..

kuco31
kuco31

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

---SnakePiston---
---SnakePiston---

all i wanna know is when its gonna come out ..... :) it been a long time now comon sega!

Darktzeratul
Darktzeratul

Does anyone knows what graphic engine Rebellion will use? uh? Does anyone knows if this game will use DX 10.1 or DX 11??

hoganms
hoganms

Could this game really be as sweet as it looks?

Twisted_Helix
Twisted_Helix

Can't wait. I know I'll be disappointed if the date gets pushed back, but I'd rather that than a rushed release with issues.

zouhou
zouhou

daikara u do not have any idea what ur talking about

banelor
banelor

all i can say is if they push the release date back i'll murder Death kill

kvan33
kvan33

Meh. What else can be done with this franchise?

BornForThis
BornForThis

YES!!! the predalien is in this game! can't wait to get this!

slapstik89
slapstik89

been waiting for this game for a while...glad to see my waiting is not in vain.

daikara
daikara

Yeah this game came out on the Jaguar oh so long ago. Sounds like the exact game with a graphics overhaul. No one remembers the Jaguar anyway so who will know right?

Mage25
Mage25

Am I the only one that knows that this is actually a remake? There is already an AVP 1,2, and an expansion. This looks exactly like it with updated graphics.

Grendeloak
Grendeloak

Looking forward to being scared of the dark again :)

lindallison
lindallison

Excellent AvP makes such an awesome video game concept....movies....not so much.

Ma6660t
Ma6660t

Finally, I can stop playing Concrete Jungle...

Mr_Silent_D
Mr_Silent_D

i cant wait to play as the alien and rip those marines to shreds!

shoelaces-4-all
shoelaces-4-all

anyone remember alien vs predator on SNES? it was kinda fun... for a couple days...

Siamesefighter
Siamesefighter

I re-watch Aliens every year. This game will make up for those rotting AVP and AVP2 movies.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

I can't wait! This is gonna be fricken awesome.

Excedra
Excedra

AVP next gen rules.....

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

AT LAAAAAAAAAAAAAST this game i mean its been ages since i wanted anyone to deliver a game like this ahh daaaaaaamn cmmon realease date nooooooooow :)

_Badman_
_Badman_

love films n dis jus looks siiiiiiiiik defo gettin it

MasteroChieftan
MasteroChieftan

i seriously cant wait for my first 3-way (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL) fight

brownman321
brownman321

im buying an awesome graphic card to keep up with this

sternh
sternh

OMG this is the best news in 2009 (imo). I really liked the previous titles, though none of them were state of the art, they were undoubtedly my fav. Hope this one score higher than 8.

geek99
geek99

I now officially need a new pair of pants. This better be good!

roboman34
roboman34

I remeber playing this ion my Jaguar machine ! great to play ! so pleased its comeing to PC ! YEA LOVE IT !

yeolderellik
yeolderellik

Any game with new graphic technology looks good..., even for remakes.

MrCha1nsaw
MrCha1nsaw

Not huge on the movies but this doesn't look bad.