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The Sound of Alien Isolation

The sound design in Alien Isolation is one of my favourite aspects of the game. The sheer panic that hearing those footsteps would induce in me was astonishing. Amongst the multitide of awards that Creative Assembly’s Alien Isolation has been awarded have included some specifically for the sound – and quite rightly! PC Gamer has just published an article in which they discussed the sound design of Alien Isolation with Jeff van Dyck, audio director on the game:

“Initially it just didn’t sound right. It sounded like a big robot or something like that—real thuddy and mechanical almost. He’s got claws and we’ve got to get a sense of the claw but we want him to feel formidable and heavy so that he’s big and weighs a ton. We needed to get some sub-frequencies in there so that when he walked around you still felt the floor shake a little bit.”

It’s an interesting read! Make sure you head on over and check it out.

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Comments: 9
  1. Ulfer
    Maybe they didn't have the appropriate audio for that (in terms of quality for example, or to convey the fact that the scene in the DLC is heard from some distance) ?
  2. Jman
    In my opinion, on the Last Survivor DLC, the over the intercom death sounds of Parker and Lambert should have used the original audio from the 1979 film. The yelling and screams were much more creepy.
  3. Ulfer
    There is also the fact that when you've played the game long enough, you're more able to predict this kind of things.

    The soundscape of this game is gorgeous. It worked so well when I discovered the game ! Later though, through habits, I came to think that some details worked well. For example, the sound of the alien when he comes down from a ceiling airduct : in survivor mode, the alien has had many times the tendency to go to and fro from these airducts to the rooms, and in some occasions I could hear the sound being repeated ludicrously in a brief time, because Xeno wanted to dance, maybe ! ^^

    Maybe the sound itself should have had one or two variations, accorded to variations of the Xeno in this particular area : remember the time in San Christobal when he comes down from an airduct in such a magnificently creepy way - he should be able to do so, in this stealthy way, in other contexts, so that you may not be able to tell 100% of the time when he has finally come down from a celling conduct.

    The hissing sound, for example when the alien has sensed your presence (but is not entirely sure you're there or not) is priceless. So efficient and scary. I'm not sure about some other sounds (when he "doubts' or seeks you), which seem less "alien" to me and make me remember more games like Penumbra or of its kind.

    As for the footsteps, I remember being petrified when, the night after my first playing AI, I heard the footsteps from the apartment above mine.

    Thanks for the link Corporal Hicks ! Indeed they've done a tremendously good job. I'd love an Alien Isolation 2, and I'm absolutely sure they would surpass themselves and that the little "habits" of the first game would disapear in that context.
  4. imposible
    I had at least two times in the game where I just feel that the alien arrival was imminent. I had no objective reason to think that, but I just feel it, put myself on a safe place, and the alien came.

    One of those cases was this one, roughly around 9:50, after a long time without alien appearances. My skin bristled. I knew he was coming, so I turned to the stair, and exactly after I turned the motion detector beeped.
    It took a time for the alien to appear, but he came exactly to the place where I expected him to come, just when I was asking myself if I was just paranoid.

    I was surprised by the "intuition", so I suspected that the game gives subliminal cues. I confirmed that when looking at the files, and I found a lot of sound related files with the string "Subliminal_Cue", "Music_Subliminal", "Play_STING_LV426P1_Subliminal_C", "Stop_Subliminal_M04_ShutterDown", and others on that style. These appear many times on any of the files named SOUNDEVENTDATA.DAT
  5. Bio Mech Hunter
    Something that was sorely missing in previous Alien and *especially* AVP games was a sense of the Alien's sheer size, weight and strength. The audio did a fantastic job selling that angle, and consequently upped the fear factor. Major props to CA.

    That being said, I expected the Alien to become much more stealthy when it would actively hunt you.
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