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ALIEN: ISOLATION Pits You Against The Terrifying Xenomorph

Last year, we were cursed with the fake promise of a proper Alien franchise game.We were teased with a delicious preview and incredibly misleading game demo. We believed. Then suddenly we all shrieked “GAME OVER, MAN,” and the controversy over Gearbox’s toxic Aliens: Colonial Marines faked quality and subsequent shittiness nuked any expectations of any Alien-related games for a while.

The announcement of Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation is a delightful surprise. An unexpected treat in the post-holiday high of releases. Creative Assembly, of the Total War series, has decided to take the franchise back to where it began: Ridley Scott’s skincrawling 1979 masterpiece, Alien. They’re promising a claustrophibic, survival horror experience where you aren’t a hulking space marine armed to the teeth, but instead a lone astronaut desperate to discover what really happened aboard the Nostromo.

Check out the announcement trailer below:

 

 

You’re put in the space boots of Amanda Ripley, the adult daughter of Warrant Officer and Lt. First Class Ellen Louise Ripley, sometime during the 57-year interim period between Alien and Aliens. The player is sent to a derelic space station, always a good sign, to find the black box of the legendary space vessel lost and presumed destroyed, all hands lost. You’re constantly being tracked by a single, solitary Xenomorph, which Creative Assembly boasts a complex and sophisticated AI, avoiding the easy patterns of other stealth games.

Weirdly enough, Alien: Isolation looks to take the Alien franchise forward by returning to its “haunted house in space” roots. The trailer shows Creative Assembly heavily borrowing the stark industrial design of Michael Seymour’s and H.R. Giger’s fantastic low-fi yet high-tech look for blue collar space travel. I also admire and understand how they cover their ass by prominently displaying all footage is in-game engine and a work in progress.

alien isolation
The guest of honor.
alien isolation
Your gracious host.

 

Having the main character be the briefly glimpsed daughter of Ellen Ripley is a strange choice that could potentially backfire. Going directly to the kid of a beloved main character is often seen as a lazy dramatic choice, the James Bond Jr. approach. It’s often done by a marketing committee hoping to extend the life of a franchise with a “new” character but still maintaining the built-in audience fanbase of the original character by name recognition. Amanda Ripley is only seen pictured as a sweet old lady in the director’s cut of Aliens, so Creative Assembly has to do some ret-con ninjitsu to make this work in a satisfying narrative. She needs to be unique and distinct from her famous mother. (And there’s the subtle suspicion that this trailer and its accompanying CES demo could be another flim-flam operation hosted by SEGA. Unlikely, but still.) Fingers crossed.

Alien: Isolation plans to release in “late 2014” for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC.

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The Author

Carl Wilhoyte

Carl Wilhoyte

Carl Wilhoyte is the Video Games Editor of ScreenInvasion.com: a class warrior poet who writes about all things video games. He's sure everything is not under control and is not going to be okay. For a good time, follow his angry rants and smart thoughts on Twitter: @carlwilhoyte.