It’s still early, but we’d wager few games have shifted from ‘underwhelming sequel’ to ‘intriguing reboot’ faster than Alien: Isolation. Just hours after the first rumors concerning the trademarked title hit the Internet, more information has surfaced on the story, developer, and what gamers can expect.
At this point much of the Alien brand may be tarnished in both film and video games, but with a reliable studio behind it, and inspiration taken from some of gaming’s recent successes, Sega seems determined to right the course. Starting with the game’s rumored lead character: Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda.
The additional details come courtesy of Kotaku, after a source informed them months ago of Alien: Isolation being in development at Creative Assembly (the British studio responsible for the Total War franchise). The rumors were unable to be confirmed at the time, but the title trademark has led the site to release the entire batch of details provided.
For starters, the title using the term ‘Alien’ not ‘Aliens’ is no coincidence; as a first-person shooter, Isolation will be taking its cues from Ridley Scott’s original film, emphasizing stealth, tension and elements of survival horror throughout (with both Dishonored and BioShock mentioned as specific inspirations). Players will be required to survive against “clones and soldiers,” but only a single Xenomorph will be present (as was the case with the original movie).
What is easily the most intriguing element of the rumored story is that it will star Amanda Ripley-McLaren, the daughter of Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), only seen in a single photograph in later versions of Aliens (1986). Next to nothing is known of Amanda, but with the game seemingly set in the years following the events of Alien (1979), fans are about to find out plenty.
We can only assume that Amanda possesses the same ferocity and fighting spirit of her mother (presumably cryogenically frozen during the events of the game), as the scant story details put Amanda on a single space station for a majority of the game, utilizing more than just bullets to survive.
These details are months old at this point, so it’s entirely possible they are no longer applicable to the finished game. Even so, the inspiration and studio behind it are sure to get plenty of gamers interested. And although shooters aren’t exactly what Creative Assembly is known for, they’re emulating the right ones.
The best thing that can be said about Alien: Isolation is that at this point, it seems to have little in common with Aliens: Colonial Marines – one of the most offensive cash grabs in recent years, and a game described as “passionless” and enough of a critical failure to shut down its developer. In that context, it makes sense that Alien: Isolation was not announced at E3 2013 – a move the source claims Sega was poised to make, despite plans to release the game next year on both current and next-gen consoles.
The same source claims that Sega took the backlash to Colonial Marines seriously, apparently conducting a post-mortem on exactly why fans and gamers found little to like about the game. Whether that feedback is used properly remains to be seen, but there’s no question that the rumors surrounding Isolation‘s story and style are something fans of the series would appreciate.
Unfortunately, at this point, Sega may have burned every bridge they had with Alien fans, already selling them one game that was broken all the way through (read our review). We’d be disappointed to see the weight of that decision sit on Creative Assembly’s shoulders, but it may be unavoidable.
What do you think of the reports so far? Is a shooter emphasizing stealth, and idolizing some iconic franchises in a tribute to the original film – not the action-heavy sequel – a direction you’d like to see the franchise take? Or has Colonial Marines left you with zero desire for a return to the series? Sound off in the comments.
We’ll keep you up to date with any details on Alien: Isolation as they arrive.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.