Alien: Isolation. Metroidvania, crafting, challenge mode.

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#1 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

I know it's early, but I intend to keep up the pace! (woot, post number 6666!)

I think this game might not not make up for the Colonial-Marines-induced torpor but also do the justice to the ALIEN as a creature as opposed to gimped James Cameron's anorexic whimps ("You know, we can't all look like those anorexic aliens in the James Cameron movies, Francine."), and steer away from so obvious Aliens-bro fixation so omnipresent in AAA game industry which still uses Aliens references to no end, from Halo through Call of Duty to Crysis 2 to Shadows of the Damned and everything in-between. Not to mention Alien licence in the video game form. What is more, it has a chance to demonstrate how ALIEN influenced an entire generation of indie horror games, from Amnesia to Slender, and how they in turn influence a new ALIEN game to push the boundaries of video game medium. Isn't it exciting?

By the way: NO MULTIPLAYER CONFIRMED!

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 12, 2014:

  • The game's AI and Alien encounters (apart from key setpieces) are all non-scripted and a result of an emergent gameplay
  • The game, apart from the campaign, will also feature a separate time-based challenge mode, which also has a set of bonus requirements, such as not using the motion tracker, or collecting certain amount of objects of a given type or simply completing some sort of a secondary objective.
  • The game will feature encounters with androids, who, like Ash in the first movie, are extremely sturdy and will require several different tactics that could be improvised on the fly in order to get rid of them.
  • Not all androids or humans will be hostile, some of them will be helpful, some of them neutral, but some of them will be aggressive towards the player as well, player has to adapt to the situation accordingly, not everything will be told to him/her in advance
  • The game features some primitive weaponry, mainly a revolver and flamethrower, but it's completely ineffective against the Alien, not to mention any firearms are extremely loud and will instantly draw Xenomorph's attention; any revolvers you come across in the game hold like 2 or 3 bullets at most, a fully filled flamethrower allows you for like 3 controlled blasts of fire only to repel the creature for a short time in order to allow yourself to find a way out
  • It is possible to NOT KILL any humans throughout the entire game
  • The game will support Occulus Rift and this version has already been demo'd at E3
  • The game puts a heavy emphasis on gathering and utilizing various types of resources for crafting as well as puzzle solving and adventure-centric exploration.
  • The game will have Metroidvania-like structure that will allow you to backtrack anywhere you want in order to reach previously unavailable sections.
  • The game's level design is devoid of typical dead ends in FPS games - you will be able to improvise your escape routes on the fly
  • You won't ever feel safe in this game, because of the additional breathing mechanic that will alow Alien to spot you in any enclosed locker if you don't keep your breath down
  • The game features at least 15+ hour campaign

VIDEOS:

E3 2014 FOOTAGE:

Stage Demo with Gamespot:

IGN video preview & interview in 1080p:

Occulus Rift demo:

Gametrailers video preview:

Link for HD version of video above:

http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/4uwpp5/alien--isolation-e3-2014--all-access-developer-walkthrough

Downloadable link for HD version of video above:

http://www66.zippyshare.com/v/89559935/file.html

The rest of video previews - links:

KOTAKU

POLYGON

ESCAPIST MAGAZINE

BBC

OUTSIDE XBOX

VIDEOGAMER

ShopTo

IbTimes

GamerHub

PlayStation Live Coverage

Cam Footage - Brazilian source (in Portuguese)

SCREENSHOTS:

Text-based previews:

IGN

GAMESPOT

EUROGAMER

JOYSTIQ

PC GAMER

ROCK PAPER SHOTGUN

THE GUARDIAN

DIGITAL SPY

COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES

GAME INFORMER

GAMEFRONT

GAMEREACTOR

LOS ANGELES TIMES

TOTAL XBOX

DEALSPWN

USGAMER

SHACKNEWS

VENTUREBEAT

DIGITAL TRENDS

THE SIXTH AXIS

XBOX ACHIEVEMENTS COM

METRO.CO.UK

NERD REACTOR

FOOTAGE PRIOR TO E3:

Trailers:

"Transmission" trailer

Behind the scenes videos / developer diaries:

"Origins" video w/ developer interview dated January 8, 2014

Developer diary "Creating the Alien" dated March 13, 2014:

Featurette: "The Sound of Alien: Isolation" dated April 3, 2014:

Featurette: "The Lo-fi Sci-fi of Alien: Isolation" dated April 16, 2014:

Featurette: "Creating the Cast" dated 8 May, 2014

Gameplay previews:

Eurogamer, dated January 7, 2014:

Written previews:

Eurogamer's feature with hands-on preview:

By Stace Harman Published Tuesday, 7 January 2014

There's something lurking in the corner of the room; something big, ugly and grotesque. It's stalking the shadows, sizing up its prey, and everybody's in fear of the havoc it's wreaked - yet no-one's willing to look it in the eye. Instead, during the first chance to play Alien: Isolation, The Creative Assembly's not-so-secret horror spin on the licence that Sega picked up in 2006 and has been fumbling with ever since, the focus is on the single xenomorph that stalks the game's corridors. And understandably so - it's quite the creation.

15 years after being abandoned by her mother, Amanda Ripley's quest for some sort of closure has sent her in pursuit of a black box recorder reportedly jettisoned from the Nostromo. Arrive, collect and leave were the orders of her employers, Weyland-Yutani, yet it's all become a little more complex than that.

Cowering in a locker in the corner of this trading post at the edge of space, Ripley sits tensely still as a nine-foot nightmare stalks the dark corridors beyond, the rising frequency of beeps from her motion tracker indicating that it's getting ever closer. A quick clamp down on the left trigger silences Ripley's ragged breathing, the edges of the screen tinged red as she becomes dizzy with the effort of it all. And just as it seems she must surely gasp out a noisy breath that would then become her last, the beast moves away out of earshot. I exhale in unison, relieved to have survived for a few more minutes at least.

It's a tense introduction to Alien: Isolation, and after the muddy mediocrity of Sega's last use of the licence it's thrilling to see the source material studied so well. Even better, it's the right source material: too many games have trodden in the noisy tracks of James Cameron's thundering tank of a movie, but too few have taken the template of Ridley Scott's 1979 original - a template that itself has its roots in schlocky horror, and one that, when appetites for interactive scares have been proven and provoked by the likes of Outlast and Slender, seems timelier than ever before.

But even as I appreciate the well-orchestrated drama that's playing out against a moodily lit backdrop, there are some prickly questions rising in the back of my mind. Why don't the rapid beeps and flashes emitted by the motion tracker belie Ripley's hiding place in spite of her best efforts to keep quiet? Why does the map screen so rudely pause the action, breaking the tension? And there's the age-old oddity that demands that game world lockers should stand ever empty and ready to serve as a safe haven, instead of being more believably stuffed to bursting with miscellaneous junk.

"We're kind of exposing ourselves in this regard because you're seeing stuff that's really early in implementation," acknowledges Al Hope, creative lead of Alien: Isolation. "We actually had a conversation about whether to take out the whole 'hiding-in-lockers thing' for this event but we decided to keep them it because it helps show our overall intent."

With a 30-minute slice of gameplay plucked from several hours into the game on offer, it's this intent that I'm left to draw impressions from. A subsequent studio tour provides a look at several key design elements that highlight the myriad references to Ridley Scott's original motion picture and the deference with which the IP is being handled. By the end of the day it's apparent to me that while I don't know what the correct unit of measurement for "intent" is, Creative Assembly has it by the bucket-load.

Alien: Isolation nails Dan O'Bannon, Chris Foss and Rob Cobb's aesthetic of a faded future that emitted such a brilliantly dull shine in 1979, and coming up to 35 years on from the original vision its charm has only blossomed. Creaking hardware and dark steel corridors take place of holographic projections and laser beams. Elsewhere, there's a dot-matrix-style hacking system, a distorted VHS quality to video displays and, of course, the familiar rudimentary nature of that motion tracker. They're encouraging nods to the original film's reliance on hand-made props rather than CGI and green screens, and it comes as a result of Creative Assembly trawling through three terabytes of source material provided by Fox Studios, which includes set designs, costume decals and unseen concept art.

Another crucial element of Alien's Haunted-House-In-Space feel is its sound design, and it's here that Al Hope and his team are doing some serious work to ensure the integrity of the atmosphere is maintained. Hope explains that, having secured the licence to use Jerry Goldsmith's original score, The Creative Assembly's sound designers then set about analysing and expanding upon it in order to create a 120-minute soundtrack to grace the finished article.

"As was the case with a lot of the first steps on this project, it was about taking this stuff that we love and expanding on it in a way that is in-keeping with the film," Hope explains. "There was this whole phase of deconstruction in terms of both visuals and audio and really trying to understand what makes this an Alien sound; to establish the DNA and motifs that make it what it is and that any fan would recognise."

This has involved creating a soundtrack that can be dynamically pitched against the on-screen action, and calling upon the services of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (the very same that lent its talent to the original Alien theme) to record the additional tracks. It's shaping up as a suitably evocative score, and just as encouraging is the attention being paid to the use of vocals and sound effects. Both Ripley's strained radio communications with her distant team and the xenomorph's chilling clicks, hisses and snarls help convey a tense feeling of helplessness and, fittingly, of isolation.

"The Alien itself has different vocals depending on what it's doing," explains sound designer Byron Bullock. "There are lots of different vocal sounds for if it thinks it's heard something, if it's actively stalking you or if it has lost your scent. If you're well enough attuned to it then you might actually start to learn these vocals and use them to your advantage towards the end of the game."

Amanda Ripley herself. You'll play solo - despite some earlier reports, Isolation is a single-player only experience.

Given the focus on survival rather than domination, you're certainly going to have time enough to study the xenomorph while you're crouching behind furniture and hiding in lockers. You're also likely to be spending more time than usual with the antagonist AI.

While the individual enemy AI of a standard shooter typically exists to provide just a few seconds of resistance with the goal of moving you forward, in Alien: Isolation The Creative Assembly is looking to slow the pace right down. You'll be forced to negotiate objectives, collect items and solve puzzles while sharing claustrophobic locales with your extra-terrestrial stalker for periods of up to 20-30 minutes.

It's a fascinating proposition, but one that comes with steep challenges for the developers; the team is looking to implement an AI entity that responds both to its environment and adapts to your survival tactics. With the inventory and crafting systems missing right now there's little opportunity to test these claims, but you'll be expected to scavenge materials for use in creating makeshift survival tools. Eventually you'll be able to play a more proactive part in your own survival than cowering in the corner. However, head-on encounters will still be tantamount to suicide and the Alien will learn from your tactics - you'll have to mix it up, which will hopefully prevent repetition from dulling the persistent terror that The Creative Assembly is aiming for.

"We wanted to build something that was about instinct and unpredictability so that it's less about analysing his logic patterns and more about him as a living creature that will fight to survive," explains lead game designer, Clive Lindop.

"It's one of our biggest challenges, because this isn't just 'an alien' - it's the Alien. We're effectively going against the grain of 15 years of games where in every other iteration you've got a pulse rifle, there's loads of them and you're mowing them down. One of our primary aims is to effectively communicate to the player that this is not one of those guys. This is the original aggressive hunter."

The Creative Assembly has nailed this initial message. Watching through Ripley's eyes as the Alien unfurls from a ceiling duct and hearing her quietly terrified reaction quite simply makes me want to run and hide. But still a big question mark hangs over whether the tension of this brief slice of gameplay can be maintained throughout an entire experience - and then there's the admission that they're battling against years of conditioning that has taught us to shoot from the hip and not run for cover. You don't have to look too far back to see an example of that mentality, of course, and of how easily it can go wrong.

It's the xenomorph-shaped elephant in the room. Speaking to Hope after the demo, I ask about those who got burned by Colonial Marines' positive early showings and subsequent failure to deliver.

"We've been making this game for a long time and right from the outset we've had a really clear vision of what we're trying to achieve," Hope answers. "I think in a way, because of that, we've been naively or even arrogantly kind of blinkered because we're so focused on what we're trying to achieve.

"I do understand that there's a wider context and we've actually been talking about it recently. One of the interesting things from [Colonial Marines'] release was seeing the response on forums where people were saying, 'I want a game that's like Alien, I want that survival horror experience,' and us knowing that we have that.

"All we can do in that regard is keep going the way we're going and deliver on the promise."

The promise is there, as is the intent, and I want to believe that Creative Assembly is up to the task, and that it can improve on its patchy history of console development. As a proof of concept, Isolation undoubtedly delivers. If measured on potential alone, perhaps the developer's already done enough to slay the beasts that haunt the franchise, and to have earned a new and exciting start for the Alien series.

#2 Posted by Fizzman (9869 posts) -

The preview looks absolutely amazing. It looks like it has managed to successfully capture the atmosphere the movie created. A survival horror game based on Alien has been something i have always wanted to play, and the developers know how make a great game...after a few patches.

#3 Posted by speedfog (3047 posts) -

I feel that games like Amnesia and Penumbra are going to be the next trend in games.

#4 Posted by CrownKingArthur (4432 posts) -

looks really awesome.

#5 Posted by kuu2 (6971 posts) -

Please, please , please, make this a good game.

#6 Edited by FoxbatAlpha (6169 posts) -

Didn't read a lot of that but, saw the gameplay trailer. I am so hype for this game. The survival part has me very interested. Notice in the trailer they don't show any guns? Survival is gonna be tough.

#7 Posted by WallofTruth (1550 posts) -

It looks quite promising, can't wait to get it on Steam.

#8 Edited by PyratRum (561 posts) -

Excited for the game but your hype thread sucks.

#9 Posted by kalipekona (2296 posts) -

It looks quite promising, can't wait to get it on Steam.

Yeah, me too. This one really does look promising. I hope they can pull it off.

#10 Posted by blangenakker (2236 posts) -

Out of all the games that are coming out this year, this takes the cake. So many sequels and games just to show graphics coming but this toys with the fanboy inside me. Besides, the detail and lighting looks spot on with the movie. I do however worry about the scare factor disappearing and quickly turning into frustration, a thing that happens in these no weapons-survival-horror games.

Welp, here's hoping it's decent.

#12 Posted by blangenakker (2236 posts) -

Some videos to build your hype or dampen it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8INdqG29ZA 5 Things You Need to Know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I7OGlL6gU8&feature=c4-overview&list=UU6yzV_xgKn8r77FkcmZyMSg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_mToxWxWL4 Announcement Trailer

#13 Posted by Telekill (4405 posts) -

I think I'm done with "scary" games. Suspenseful? Sure, but not horror games. I'm more into action adventure story driven games. Not to mention I've not enjoyed an Aliens game since Alien vs Predator (the first) on PC.

#14 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

I updated the OP.

#15 Posted by Heil68 (43503 posts) -

Didn't you HYPE the last Aliens CM game? I remember seeing your name in their forums after they launched while I was trolling that game and Gearbox.

#16 Edited by turtlethetaffer (16678 posts) -

I doubt it'll be scary simply because aliens on a space ship is not scary. That and everyone knows what a Xenomorph looks like, so there's no real mystery to what's hunting you.

although if it does well, maybe it'll be a return to form for mainstream horror games. this and Evil Within could bring the industry back to what's really scary.

#17 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

I updated the OP.

@Heil68 said:

Didn't you HYPE the last Aliens CM game? I remember seeing your name in their forums after they launched while I was trolling that game and Gearbox.

Yes, I did, but I also tore it mercilessly to shreds to no end, so that's not an omen of anything. This oozes quality and it already shows, and there are only good principles governing it right from the start. Even if it'd be a failed experiment, the convention and the premise is so tempting to give it a chance regardless.

#18 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -
@turtlethetaffer said:

I doubt it'll be scary simply because aliens on a space ship is not scary. That and everyone knows what a Xenomorph looks like, so there's no real mystery to what's hunting you.

although if it does well, maybe it'll be a return to form for mainstream horror games. this and Evil Within could bring the industry back to what's really scary.

I beg to differ, Alien in the first movie is shown like a minute and a half IN TOTAL throughout the whole movie! The audiences were more scared by not seeing it than seeing it (vide Dallas scene in the air shafts), and the movie made a very intelligent usage of silence (which is a lot more disturbing than sounds actually) so that's not a good point. There also will be JUST ONE ALIEN within the whole game and by making it the first proper ALIEN in the video game form that does the justice to the original film, it is a huge step forward, because in all hitherto released games, these creatures were nothing more than cannon fodder, sometimes intelligent, cunning and very dangerous like in AVP 1999 but they got nothing on the original Xenomorph from the film.

#19 Posted by Heil68 (43503 posts) -

@Salt_The_Fries:

Well remember what Gearbox initially showed and what ended up with. :P

#20 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16678 posts) -

@Salt_The_Fries: I get why the first movie was considered so great. I'm saying that now, in the present, with all the sequels and spin offs and video games, just about anyone who cares knows full well what the Xenomorphs look like. Unless they introduce a new alien in this game, we all know what the monster in this game will be. That, to me, takes away more than three quarters of the scare factor.

#21 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

But if it's going to be intelligent, cunning, methodic, determined, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality, like a proper ALIEN should be, we'd be afraid of it. Very afraid. All the previous ALIEN-related games never fully capitalized on their intelligence. On the contrary, they downplayed it, because they followed hurrah-bro way of the Aliens, which wasn't that heavily bro-oriented, but they focused on Hudson's wank-speech from director's cut and centered games around such machismo.

#23 Posted by megaspiderweb09 (3686 posts) -

Outlast?

#24 Edited by ominous_titan (596 posts) -

if this scores higher then a 7 here ill be surprised, ill be less surprised when its released as a buggy pos like the last one. nice pre rendered screens aka the same crap pulled with cm

#25 Posted by blangenakker (2236 posts) -

From past experience, don't take dev's or PR guy's words for granted when they talk ai. From recent memory I have not seen any "good" ai in quite a while.

#26 Posted by hoola (6422 posts) -

They need to fix the washed-out looking colors. Hopefully this is a current gen game because those graphics are ugly. It looks good though. The success of Amnesia has really pushed some other developers to reconsider what "horror" means.

#27 Posted by lazerface216 (7495 posts) -

dude, how can anyone be hyped for this!?!? it's an aliens game!! i SOOOOOOOOO want this to be good, bit i absolutely WILL NOT get my hopes up!

...at least i'll try.

lol

#28 Edited by s0ldier69 (2079 posts) -

Seriously, haven't people learned not to hype Alien games anymore? This has a 6 written all over it.

#29 Posted by Kiro0 (1173 posts) -

One look at the people involved in this and I have no hopes or expectations of a good game, and neither should anyone else. This is going to be yet another much-hyped but ultimately mediocre game that disappoints everyone in the end. It'll be nice to be wrong but I'm not holding my breath.

#30 Posted by Consternated (493 posts) -

I'll laugh at any prat who preorders this.

#31 Posted by ReadingRainbow4 (13465 posts) -

expecting this to be shit.

#32 Posted by StrongBlackVine (8418 posts) -

Looks promising, but sneaking around for 15-20 hours might get boring.

#33 Posted by M8ingSeezun (1979 posts) -

No thanks. The story alone completely ruined it for me.

Amanda Ripley, really? How on earth can she possibly retrieve the Nostromo flight recorder when the damn ship self destructed in the Alien film? How did Weyland retrieve it?

Even after Ripley sent out a transmission (she describes the deaths of her crew and signs off) after ejecting the Xenomorph at the end of Alien, it still JUST a transmission, not the actual physical flight recorder.

#34 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

You're full of shit. There's a briefing with Weyland-Yutani executives in ALIENS and they explicitly refer to a flight recorder, although it's most likely it's the one from Narcissus, its emergency shuttle and the people writing articles about this game didn't bother to make the distinction, coz they're casuals in Alien lore, unlike me, a maniac since 1993.

#36 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

New developer diary:

Moreover, the game will be playable at Eurogamer Rezzed expo which is due between March 28 and March 30.

#37 Posted by Ballroompirate (22555 posts) -

@pyratrum said:

Excited for the game but your hype thread sucks.

Have to agree

#38 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

I've never had the time to do it properly.

#39 Posted by Boddicker (2530 posts) -

I'd be down with this if it didn't blatantly use retcons and use Ripley's daughter.

All Alien games sadly end up being trash. I'm hoping this one breaks that cycle.

#40 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (10316 posts) -

Needs Co-op.

#41 Posted by lamprey263 (23202 posts) -

it's waaaay to early for a hype thread

#42 Posted by PyratRum (561 posts) -

I've never had the time to do it properly.

So then don't do it.

#43 Edited by PAL360 (26733 posts) -

It looks awesome. I would say/hope 8/10.

#44 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

Some quotes from the dev diary via Eurogamer:

"We wanted to make the alien scary again," explained creative director Al Hope in the video.

"Depending on how cautious players are, we've seen encounters in Alien: Isolation last over 30 minutes in some cases," added designer Gary Napper.

That kind of gameplay can't be scripted, he explained, because players will spot patterns and the alien "stops being scary". The alien will react to your presence, and the choices you make, dynamically instead.

"The alien really is hunting you, is using active senses, moment-to-moment decision making, to hunt you down and kill you," warned another designer, Clive Lindop.

"This is an enemy that you need to avoid at all costs," instructed Al Hope, "an alien that is stalking you, that is intelligent, that's unpredictable, extremely dangerous. Even if you find a gun, your first thought is going to be, 'If I fire this, will the alien hear it?'"

The hope is to create an atmosphere that makes you, even when the alien isn't on screen, "terrified of what's around the corner".

"This is a game where you'll never feel safe," said Hope (what a name!).

--

By the way, the game looks gorgeous!!!

#45 Posted by silversix_ (14083 posts) -

This game won't disappoint

#46 Edited by kinectthedots (1629 posts) -

@Salt_The_Fries said:

New developer diary:

Moreover, the game will be playable at Eurogamer Rezzed expo which is due between March 28 and March 30.

Salt, first time I could agree with your evaluation.

This game looks fantastic, and finally another game worthy of being called current gen, you should know the other

Can't wait.

#47 Edited by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

Eurogamer's gaming event - EGX Rezzed is due to kick-off tomorrow and Alien Isolation is going to be featured there in its playable build on Saturday, 3pm UK time. Al Hope, Gary Napper and Jon McKellan from Creative Assembly are going to be there. There is going to be exclusive footage from that event. I can't wait! Ready your motion trackers!!!

#48 Posted by sts106mat (19044 posts) -

100% day one. Alien is definitely the best movie in the franchise and this game looks like it will be awesome.

When is it coming out?

#49 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8376 posts) -

100% day one. Alien is definitely the best movie in the franchise and this game looks like it will be awesome.

When is it coming out?

Q4 2014, hopefully it won't be delayed any further!

#50 Posted by MirkoS77 (7177 posts) -

I don't believe a word of what CA says after the mess Rome II was, much less the fact that this is their first foray into the FPS genre. I'll believe it when I see it. That said, if they are able to nail this it has the potential to be something special. They just had better deliver on the AI, as that's the one element that will make or break such a game.

I hope Sony realizes the opportunity Isolation presents for their Morpheus headset. Such an experience done right in VR would sell systems like crazy.