Is Alien: Isolation the Survival Horror Alien Game We've All Been Waiting For?
It's no secret amongst gamers that Aliens: Colonial Marines was a huge disappointment, with some actually claiming Gearbox and Sega outright misled them. I have long believed that the only way to truly make a "great" Alien game is to make it survival horror – and it seems I may finally get my wish.
According to two separate reports, Alien: Isolation, the new game in development at Creative Assembly, is being billed as survival horror. The first came from a listing in the Xbox Games Store, calling it "a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and immortal danger." That listing has since been removed, but of course you can never hide anything on the Internet. The second report comes from a first-hand account by IGN's Daniel Krupa, who apparently played a demo of the game. It's a lengthy article, but worth the read if you're an Alien fan.
One of the key points that Krupa makes is that Isolation has more in common with Ridley Scott's Alien than James Cameron's more action-oriented sequel. Anyone who remembers the original Alien can surely attest to the fact that as much as it was a sci-fi movie, it was just as much a horror flick. In Isolation, the player takes control of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley. You are in search of the Nostromo's Black Box, hoping to discover what happened to your missing mother. Interestingly, Krupa was told that "there's only one alien in the game, and it can't be killed." That alien (a Xenomorph, of course) is not on any predefined course, but rather programmed to track you down via sight, smell, and sound. Because of the latter, running won't help you. As Krupa points out, this isn't a "fight or flight" game – both things will get you killed. This is a try-to-keep-your-composure and creep-ever-so-slowly type of game.
While those that were "fooled" by Aliens: Colonial Marines may be hesitant to get excited about Isolation, it's important to remember that the latter is being developed by an entirely different developer, Creative Assembly. Yes, the same Creative Assembly famous for the Total War series. An odd choice indeed, but you certainly cannot blame Sega for going a different route. I for one am cautiously optimistic about Isolation.