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AvPG Previews Alien Isolation

In early February Creative Assembly invited AvPGalaxy down to their studios in Horsham, England to get a hands-on with Alien – Isolation, their upcoming first-person survival horror game. So Dachande and I packed our bags and went down to the studio to get our first look at Sega and Creative Assemble’s next Alien release:

“I barely made it far before I caused too much noise (try not to run!) and I heard the thudding of a massive creature running towards me. I barely had time to turn around and witness the first of several deaths on my playthrough of Alien Isolation. I watched myself fall the floor, my feet knocked out from underneath me as I was dragged to face the Alien. On one occasion I didn’t even get the chance to turn around and face my would-be extra-terrestrial killer, only hear him steamroll towards me from behind.”

As well as the hands-on, we were also given a guided tour around the studios and had the chance to sit down and conduct an interview with Al Hope (Creative Lead) and Jon McKellan (UI Lead). You can find our impressions in the preview we have just uploaded. We have also uploaded the interview we conducted. You can find it as both a written transcript or an audio interview.



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  1. Predatorium
    Do you see guys? Do you see what the sequels have done to it? It's a breathing, scimpering, easy-to-kill animal. Not so alien in its' characteristics at all. I hope Alien Isolation totally ignores all the sequels weakening changes to the once very definition of a truly perfect organism!
  2. Kimarhi
    It exploded when 10 mm explosive tipped light armor rounds hit it.  The standard 9mm certainly hurt the Alien, but if you look at small arms hits Gorman had on the creatures, there is no penetration. 

    .45 at point blank range took several shots before it went down as well.

    .45 and 10mm are much bigger rounds than 9mm.
  3. RagingDragon
    RobThom, I have to agree with you big time on the roaring monster crap. Every movie. Every game. Every sort of creature/monster/robot/villain. It's like they go to monsteranimation.com and download a template.

    So horrible and stale that I've actually turned off movies because of it lol, and use it to fuel my exhaustive rants about how cgi and art college anime emos are ruining everything, but I digress... the gameplay mechanics should illustrate a much better purpose for noises and footsteps, hopefully.

    Seems like CA is committed to trying to make an authentic experience (trying = key word) so hopefully it will be for the most part believable.


  4. Mus
    I don't think it makes noise when it's just walking around, only when it's chasing you. I thought it sounds a bit silly too, but I guess maybe it makes it more intense when you can hear it thumping behind you
  5. RobThom
    "The Alien’s footsteps boomed."

    Why are the Alien's footsteps booming?
    The Alien always seemed like a lithe sneaky, covert creature in the first first film.
    I believe it was Camerons Queen Alien who was the heavy footed clomper.

    "The Alien lets out a frightening roar "

    This also seems a kind of a standard issue monster attribute.
    Why would a stalking silent killer need to roar?
    Except to fit into the standard issue iconography of monster as dinosaur.

    (One thing that always irritates me in a videogame and that almost always signifies a general lack of creativity is a scene where a boss monster/character throws their hands down in the Wolverine pose and lets out a roar towards the screen.)

    The graphics look nice.
    As good as some of the best digital fan art, but interactive.
    Which has got to be worth something.

    Edit:
    Actually I can kind of see how audible footsteps might be necessary from a gameplay perspective.
    It probably wouldn't be fun to just be walking along and then get killed without any warning like the movie.
    There are concessions that you have to make for gameplays sake.



  6. mythology
    i did notice the digitigrade legs were wrong for 1979 movie accuracy, but i think the developers did it on purpose to make the alien seem taller, more intimidating, make it seem bigger.

    to me, it is because of the queen that maybe the first alien could of had legs like that.

    the 1st and 2nd movie didn't have digitigrade legs
    http://www.avpgalaxy.net/gallery/albums/movies/alien/behind/behind59.jpg
    http://www.avpgalaxy.net/gallery/albums/movies/aliens/behind/behind10.jpg
    the isolation game does.
    http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news-700/Alien-Isolation-Is-Already-Playable-Dev-Will-Polish-and-Balance-It-until-Launch.jpg?1390231737

    but when we first meet the queen
    http://www.avpgalaxy.net/gallery/albums/movies/aliens/behind/dennislowe06.jpg
    she goes from looking like shes got human legs to bending into digitigrade legs. i thought that was a neat trick if you watch it. it just seems so alien to me compared to earth life as she switches between the 2 so naturally.

    so if the queen could do that, why not the 1979 alien?
  7. Clemens2781
    Hello everyone, this is my first ever blog/community post,ever, so be gentle with me,alright?The changing of the leg structure in A:Isolation?......the purist in me is very unhappy,but at the same time any story/narrative has to move forward,after 35 years ,and if that's what's required- a little up grade here and there...so be it. While the later films and the EU have their merits here and there the original still scares the s**t out of me, even now. Proper brown trousers time. And it seems gaming is trying to catch up,because it's finally got the tools.Shooting things over and over again bring back the memories,for sure, but A:I looks like it'll s*** me up in the comfort of my own home. The cross-overs, EU, are all well and good but my(respect for the creature....I admire it's purity....the memory of the organism is that it'll do you.... on sight.No questions asked. And that's where my fear still comes from. One of them will bloody have you, before you know it.(at the risk of kicking something off, Grid does kill two on his own,just saying)...That's the crux of it.Alien isn't a horror film to me, it's not sci-fi film,...it's terror, pure and simple. I look over my shoulder now when i watch it....but an immersive game hiding in the shadows.....?...an echo of my nightmares?I can't bloody wait!!!!!
  8. Birth_Machine
    But who knows, it's an alien, it could potentially survive in the vacuum of space despite the need to breath. We don't know all of the mechanisms of its biology. But tardigrades can survive for a time in the vacuum of space! They don't breath like we do, but they still need oxygen nonetheless.

    You're definitely onto something. The alien might breathe only when it's exerting and may not require respiration otherwise. Whatever the original intentions were, the biological properties of the Alien have drifted a bit through interpretation by a number of directors and screenwriters. We all love the films enough to rationalize these disparities, but the Alien does whatever a screenplay requires of it.

    Regarding the endo-vs-exo question, maybe its support structure is outside of our conventional categories. Perhaps it's a series of tubes, like the internet :P. The external spine and ribcage indicate an exoskeleton, but the arms and legs show the opposite. The Alien form defies our attempts to neatly categorize it, and not knowing definitively lends to its mystery. Biomechanoids, as augmented and engineered beings, live in spite of nature.
  9. Engineer
    The Resurrection creatures are doing something like breathing - whether it's actual breathing like humans need to do is unknown.

    They can scream underwater without exhaling.
    Yea... And the queen can scream in the vacuum of space too! Lol

    Anyway... Breathing or not, the point I was trying to make was that the alien would be truly motionless and not Dallas, hence why the alien dropped off the motion tracker.

    But who knows, it's an alien, it could potentially survive in the vacuum of space despite the need to breath. We don't know all of the mechanisms of its biology. But tardigrades can survive for a time in the vacuum of space! They don't breath like we do, but they still need oxygen nonetheless.
  10. SM
    The Resurrection creatures are doing something like breathing - whether it's actual breathing like humans need to do is unknown.

    They can scream underwater without exhaling.
  11. RagingDragon
    So how can Aliens survive in vacuum if they breathe? Has Resurrection ever counted with its wack cloned hybrid aliens? The 'breathing' could've easily been attributed to leftover Ripley juice. The Queen breathing is another story, but I still think it was probably just for dramatic effect.

    I think people adopted 'exoskeleton' easily from all the bug bullshit, and the obvious biomechanical nature of the creature. Really no evidence to support this, but some to support the argument against it.
  12. Engineer
    1. Zero evidence the Alien uses digestion or respiration, and quite a large stock of circumstantial evidence pointing towards the opposite.

    2. Aliens, Res and AvP clearly display endoskeletal as well as exoskeletal structuring.


    Uhmm... Where did digestion come from? Lol

    Respiration was shown in aliens, and resurrection both... The queen's heavy breathing, and the fact you could see the alien's breath every time it exhaled in resurrection. I would say the fact that the alien could hiss/scream demonstrates breathing/respiration as well, but that really only shows that they have vocal cords. Lol.
  13. Xhan
    1. Zero evidence the Alien uses digestion or respiration, and quite a large stock of circumstantial evidence pointing towards the opposite.

    2. Aliens, Res and AvP clearly display endoskeletal as well as exoskeletal structuring.
  14. Engineer
    Ok, so I did some research on the exoskeleton issue, and I found some contradictory information...

    I did find several sources which state "exoskeleton" or "carapace" which is the dorsal side of an exoskeleton. However, those sources were primarily fan-speculation, and unreliable sources. Ultimately, I think it depends on what 'you' consider to be cannon (aliens colonial marines, anyone?).

     I'm not the type to suddenly change my mind about what I consider to be cannon just because it coincides with my perceptions in a debate, and unfortunately I don't consider one of the primary "exoskeleton" sources to be cannon (A:CM, anyone?). With that being said, I'm going to swallow my pride a little bit and admit that the alien was not originally intended to have an exoskeleton. I found interviews from Ridley Scott and H. R. Giger which do specifically say that they wanted the Alien's skin to be translucent to the point that you could see its skeletal structure, circulatory system and organs. However, due to the limitations in special effects at the time, Ridley decided to go with the rubber suit instead which happens to appear more exoskeletal. Other contributors to the franchise probably just assumed it was an exoskeleton also and ran with it (A:CM, anyone?).

    But going back to the point I was originally trying to make, the alien's skeletal structure, whether endo- or Exo-, is still very rigid and covers a greater portion of its torso than ours (stomach and kidney areas) which would make it less flexible than ours. So I still don't think the alien's rib cage would expand/contract as it is breathing. But perhaps that's just a visual artifact of the rubber suit too. But again, it's all just speculation and a possible explanation as to why the alien dropped off the motion tracker when it stopped moving but not Dallas. Another possibility, just as likely but also speculatory, is that Dallas had some sort of locator chip in his pocket or something that the motion tracker was also reading in order to see his location while at a stand still...

    As for the PC version of the game... It's probably just an update and we'll see it back up soon. We've seen that sort of thing with many games in the past (A:CM, anyone?).
  15. Engineer
    That thought crossed my mind... And well, if the aliens back is turned towards the morion tracker, it's body could have shielded any breath or dribbling. Or maybe it only dribbles when it's mouth is open, and it happened to have its mouth closed. Who knows. It's a possible explanation though.

    And I think it's obvious the alien has an exoskeleton. Why wouldn't you think so?
  16. SM
    Assuming it really does have an exoskeleton - it's constantly dribbling - wouldn't that get picked up, if little things like Dallas moving his head get picked up?
  17. Engineer
    Yeah I know - the "micro changes in air density" are what it senses when you set the tracker to find a moving object.

    It's a motion tracker - that can also pick up certain objects that are motionless.

    Dallas wasn't exactly motionless... He was breathing heavy and whipping his head back and forth looking for signs of the alien. Plus his flame thrower had a flickering flame. Not to mention, the air density would change as the air near the tip of the flame thrower warmed up over time. There's plenty of explanations as to why Dallas still had a signal on the motion tracker even though he stopped moving.

    The alien on the other hand, has an exoskeleton which is rigid and it's chest/rib cage would not expand/contract as it was breathing. So it could have dropped off the motion tracker if it stopped moving, and if its body was shielding the tracker from picking up its breath as it exhaled...

    ... Those are my thoughts anyway...
  18. SM
    Yeah I know - the "micro changes in air density" are what it senses when you set the tracker to find a moving object.

    It's a motion tracker - that can also pick up certain objects that are motionless.
  19. SM
    Lambert tells Dallas to hold his position as she loses the Alien's signal.

    Quote
    Bad wording on my part - Ash's tracker certainly tracks motion too, but that isn't what it keys on, as you know.

    I don't know what you're saying here.
  20. Mr. Clemens
    Bad wording on my part - Ash's tracker certainly tracks motion too, but that isn't what it keys on, as you know.

    That said, are you certain it stopped tracking the alien when it stopped moving? All I've got is that Lambert tracked it when it came on the scene, and then we see Dallas's blip by itself for a minute (but are we seeing the whole screen?), and then, "oh god, it's moving right towards you!". I'm gonna have to go look again...
  21. SM
    i wonder if the developers will take note of this scene and have their AI alien stop moving sometimes vs the tracker to raise the hairs on the back of the players neck or make them panic like lambert does.

    Yep! They've said their tracker tracks motion specifically (unlike Ash's version). So if the Alien is being still... the blip disappears.  :o

    Ash's version tracked Dallas moving and standing still, as well as only tracking the Alien when it was moving.
  22. RagingDragon
    Quote
    Okay, given that the Hadley's aliens could've gotten to Newt at any point, hypothetically, why didn't they?

    Evasion.

    Agreed.

    This would be the ideal scenario for the game, for me, anyway. There is no real 'hiding' from the Alien, making evasion and delay the key concepts. You most likely can't stop it getting somewhere it really wants to get, and in any space environment (ship or station) you probably don't want to kill it unless you have a very good plan with an EVA suit preferably involved.

    The Sulaco in Colonial Marines would've produced a gaping hole the size of a gas station after the first engagement anyway. ;) Such accuracy, so canon.

    But to make my post the required RD minimum of 3 semi-paragraphs, I think using the evade/delay/distract theme would allow for some truly interesting and terrifying fun to be had with the Alien's behavior. I'm sure CA won't have the thing mindlessly charge you, so putting in some eerie curiosity, stalking, etc... reminiscent of Jonesy the cat's famous slap down scene in Alien would be so welcome.
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