In the countdown to Halloween, we're taking a look at some of the best horror games of all time and celebrating the long history of the genre. One that many consider to be up there in horror games is Alien: Isolation, a single-player survival-horror based on the popular film series that put players in a game of cat and mouse with a Xenomorph, one of the most terrifying horror villains to ever exist.
Alien: Isolation released in October 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and was recently announced for Nintendo Switch during this year's E3. When Sega released Alien: Isolation, it was met with positive reviews and praised for the atmosphere, faithfulness to the source material, and tense gameplay. So why hasn't there been a sequel? Where is Alien: Isolation 2?
Alien: Isolation was developed by Creative Assembly, best known for the Total War series and Halo Wars 2, and envisioned as a tense, atmospheric survival-horror, following the negative response to Aliens: Colonial Marines from Gearbox the year before.
Creative Assembly looked at the original film for inspiration over James Cameron’s more action-focused sequel, Aliens, leading to a beautifully tense and claustrophobic first-person survival-horror game. Minimal resources, an emphasis on stealth, and the constant threat of an unstoppable foe are not unlike the remake of Resident Evil 2 which also received critical acclaim.
With a score of 81 on Metacritic for the PC version and fans screaming out for a sequel, it’s hard to believe Alien: Isolation 2 never entered development. So, what’s the problem? In short: At the time of release, Sega wasn’t happy with sales numbers. Back in 2015, it was reported that Alien: Isolation had sold roughly 2.11 million copies, an impressive number for a horror game, but a number that Sega called “weak” despite a 41% increase in packaged software sales for the company that financial year.
Creative Assembly studio director Tim Heaton spoke about the transition thereafter in September 2015 stating Microsoft had approached Sega about the possibility of the studio working on what would eventually become Halo Wars 2, something Heaton and Sega both saw as a “natural fit.” Creative Assembly had been growing in size to almost 400 employees and split the studio into two teams. A modified version of the Alien: Isolation team went to work on Halo Wars 2 - between a third to half of the studio - with the remainder of the studio developing various iterations of Total War.
Between lower than expected sales numbers and creative opportunities from Microsoft that would benefit the studio and Sega, it’s easy to see how even if Sega wanted to develop Alien: Isolation 2, the company would have needed to delay the development of a sequel for a while.
A new set of rumors sparked up in April 2017 claimed that development may be starting on a sequel to Alien: Isolation 2 now that Halo Wars 2 was complete and Creative Assembly had acquired Crytek Black Sea. The rumor was quickly debunked, though, which was coupled with the fact that based on credits for Alien: Isolation and Halo Wars 2, the majority of the original team seemed to no longer work for the studio. When asked to comment, Sega responded: “the studio is fully focused on the development of Total War: Warhammer 2 and other yet unannounced Alien projects.”
Flash forward to 2019 and Alien: Isolation related projects were everywhere. In January 2019, Fox did announce and release a sequel to Alien: Isolation, but not the kind fans were asking for. The first sequel came in the form of a mobile game called Alien: Blackout. The Five Nights at Freddy’s clone was set after the events of Alien: Isolation with the player controlling protagonist Amanda Ripley as she attempts to lead four crew members through the space station, away from a Xenomorph
The second was a four-issue comic sequel called Aliens: Resistance which again followed Amanda Ripley’s journey after the events of Alien: Isolation. FoxNext also recently reconfirmed that, while the company was looking to explore new elements of Amanda Ripley's saga, there was no other Alien game or film in production. Even the Alien: Isolation website had been taken down the year prior with no comment from Creative Assembly, Sega, or Fox.
These days, while Sega published Alien: Isolation, the video game rights for the Alien franchise appear to be under the control of FoxNext, which puts the possibility of Alien: Isolation 2 in a whole new bind. FoxNext was opened in 2017 to handle video games, virtual reality, and theme parks for 20th Century Fox. FoxNext was also included as part of Disney's acquisition earlier this year - and Disney has indicated plans to sell off the business as recently as September 2019.
Following the release of Alien: Isolation, there's a clear timeline of events that have occurred to prevent development on a sequel. Creative Assembly was open to the idea of a sequel, but low sales pushed the sequel’s potential lower on the priority list. Since then, large changes in the development team, as well as new opportunities with other companies, meant Alien was no longer the focus.
So where is Alien: Isolation 2? Sadly, the truth is that the game is likely not in any form of active development. FoxNext has only published four games since 2017, all for mobile phones, and we only know of one other Alien project currently in development, an Alien shooter game from Cold Iron Studios. Unless Creative Assembly has placed the second smaller team on the project or FoxNext has another secret studio working behind closed doors - Alien: Isolation 2 might never see the light of day.
Alien: Isolation is available for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. A Nintendo Switch version is in development.