Ever since the early days of Space Invaders, it’s been a widely accepted fact that aliens in video games exist primarily to be shot at. Even narrative-driven RPGs like Mass Effect adhere to this rule. In Creative Assembly’s upcoming sci-fi horror title Alien: Isolation, however, the smartest way to complete the game is by playing things quiet and not angering the alien that stalks the corridors of the space station Sevastopol.
That’s easier said than done, however, since the alien isn’t the only entity sharing Sevastopol with protagonist Amanda Ripley. While exploring the space station, players will also come across hostile human characters and deadly androids who are more than happy to start a fight. It’s worth resisting this call to arms, because any gunshots are likely to attract unwanted attention.
Speaking in an interview with GamesTM, Alien: Isolation‘s lead designer Gary Napper explained that the stealth-oriented aspects of the game mean that it can be played all the way through non-lethally (though it’s not clear whether that means the alien won’t be killed either).
“You can get through the entire game without killing someone. It’s something that was, not so much a challenge, but something I felt was what the character would do. We’re talking about a member of the Ripley family — they’re not like characters in games that gun down civilians because they’re in the way to get to the switch.”
The primary tool in Alien: Isolation is a clunky 2D tracker that is absolutely essential for survival. Players can switch their focus between what’s ahead of them and what’s on the screen of the tracker using the right trigger. The tracker can show where enemies are in relation to Amanda on a 2D plane, but not whether they’re above or below her.
A gameplay preview of Alien: Isolation published by NowGamer warns that while it’s possible to obtain weapons and get into firefights with the human residents of Sevastopol, doing so is a very, very, very bad idea. Combat is tough, ammo and health are limited, and since the sound of gunfire draws the alien’s attention, using bullets up on humans will mean having no defenses left when the more dangerous enemy shows up.
Napper describes Alien: Isolation‘s gameplay style as being similar to Metroidvania, with the possibility of going back and exploring areas that have already been visited in order to potentially open up more areas. The average game lasts about 15 hours, but it can be completed faster if the player uses maximum stealth and avoids aggravating the alien as much as possible.
That might be the smart way to play it, but it’s not an approach that will suit everyone. Tell us in the comments if you intend to sneak you way through the space station, or charge in wielding a flamethrower and blasting everything that gets in your way.
Alien: Isolation releases October 7, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.