Story & Gameplay
Set in the iconic Alien universe, Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a cooperative third-person survival shooter that drops your fireteam of hardened marines into a desperate fight to contain the evolving Xenomorph threat.
Face off against waves of terrifying Xenomorph and Weyland-Yutani Synthetic foes alongside two players or AI teammates, as you and your fireteam desperately fight your way through four unique campaigns that introduce new storylines to the Alien universe. Create and customize your own Colonial Marine, choosing from an extensive variety of classes, weapons, gear and perks, battling overwhelming odds in this heart-pounding survival shooter experience.
Play a pivotal role in the epic events that occur 23 years after the original Alien trilogy as a Colonial Marine stationed aboard the UAS Endeavor, battling terrifying Xenomorph threats. Stunning visuals, iconic enemies, realistic environments, powerful weapons, futuristic equipment, and an eerie soundscape, combined with new storylines in a series of replayable campaigns, expand upon the story from the blockbuster films.
Face overwhelming odds against over 20 enemy types, including 11 different Xenomorphs along the evolutionary scale from Facehuggers to Praetorians, each designed with their own intelligence to ambush, outsmart and eviscerate vulnerable marines. Utilize cover and master team strategy to survive extraterrestrial threats as they overrun your fireteam from every angle, swarm through doors and vents, scramble across walls and ceilings, and strike from darkness with uncanny ferocity.
Choose from five unique classes – Gunner, Demolisher, Technician, Doc and Recon – each with their own special abilities and character perks. Utilize an extensive arsenal of 30+ weapons and 70+ mods/attachments in your effort to eradicate the Alien threat. An innovative Perk Board modifies and improves your abilities, while a unique Challenge Card system alters the approach to each Campaign mission, offering a new experience with every playthrough.
Cold Iron Studios was founded in 2015 by CEO Craig Zinkievich, CTO Shannon Posniewski, and creative director Matt Highison. A couple of years later, the team were looking for a partner to help get an in-development game out the door. 20th Century Fox and FoxNext were one of the groups they were talking to and Fox liked their team, technology and design work they’d done. They then asked if they would like to make an Aliens title.
On January 17, 2018, FoxNext Games officially announced they had acquired the developer Cold Iron Studios and were developing a shooter in the world of the Alien franchise. The three founders and its 25 employees all joined FoxNext Games. In January 2020, it was revealed that Disney had sold FoxNext Games and Cold Iron Studios to games publisher Scopely. It was announced in August 2020 that Cold Iron Studios was bought by Daybreak Games. On March 2, 2021, Cold Irons Studios’ new Aliens game was formally announced – Aliens: Fireteam for a Summer 2021 release. The title was changed to Aliens: Fireteam Elite before the game’s release.
Cold Iron Studios was already a fan of action and PvE games and the co-op survival shooter genre. The previous Alien game, Alien Isolation, was a first person survival horror that was very much based on Ridley Scott’s Alien. Instead, they based on the game on James Cameron’s Aliens. They wanted the player to experience being a Colonial Marine with hordes of aliens coming at the player. They wanted to expand upon parts of the Alien franchise that just weren’t in the first three films. There are four campaigns in the game that take you to very different places rather than focusing on one specific place. Each campaign flows together as an individual standalone unit of the story but all four of them tell a cohesive story across the entire game. The third campaign in Fireteam Elite includes the Engineers from Prometheus and they wanted to put players on the Juggernaut, fighting new enemies.
During development, the team tested having teams consisting of one player, two players, three players and four players. A lot of the decision to make it three players came down to the environment. When they tried the game with four players, the gameplay spaces just didn’t feel right for the franchise. Alien is known for its survival horror so it made more sense to move through narrow, claustrophobic, dark passages and to have combat in those passages. They wanted to have enough enemies to make it feel fun but not to be tripping up all over your friends.
When developing the game, the team often had gameplay-inspired ideas for xenomorph abilities and behaviours they wanted players to fight against. Some of the ideas translated quite well into Xenomorph classes but others didn’t. Some were implemented but later rejected because they didn’t fit in with the Alien franchise.
The first paid expansion pack, titled Pathogen, was released on August 30, 2022. The expansion introduces three new missions, eight new weapons, additional outfits, perks, emotes and accessories, as well as new enemy types inspired by those from Alien: Covenant.
A cloud version of Aliens: Fireteam Elite was released for the Nintendo Switch by Ubitus on April 26, 2023.
The announcement trailer was released March 2, 2021 while 25 minutes of gameplay footage was published on March 4, 2021. The Preorder Trailer was released in June 2021 showing off the game’s new name: Aliens Fireteam Elite and a release date of August 24th, 2021
Aliens: Fireteam Elite received a mixed reception from critics. It’s currently sitting on a score of 69 for the PC version on Metacritic with 35 reviews. Critics found that Aliens: Fireteam Elite stays true to its source material. The visual and sound design of the environment, enemies and weapons remain faithful to the feel of the films. The combat is fun and frantic. The various classes and progression system with all the different perks were well-received. Challenge Cards keep things fresh and add to the replayability.
The negatives were mainly around the game’s technical issues. Sound and dialogue may suddenly cut out and there are issues with enemy artificial intelligence with Xenomorphs getting stuck in places. IGN gave it 7/10 and mentioned its repetitive nature saying: “The caveats, of course, are having to put up with repetitive scenarios and some excruciatingly drawn-out missions. Aliens: Fireteam Elite may not be a triumphant win, but it’s far from a game over, man.”
Gamespot gave it a positive 8/10: “There’s so much satisfaction in customizing and managing a handful of classes with enough depth to transform them into the Colonial Marine you need at a given time, along with a plethora of great weapons to make the moment-to-moment action engaging from the first time you pull the trigger. What it lacks in dread it makes up for in pure white-knuckle action, making Aliens: Fireteam Elite a great place to engage with this iconic sci-fi franchise again.”
Aliens: Fireteam Elite entered first place in the UK game chart in its first week of sale. The game sold best on PS5 (42% of sales), followed by Xbox Series S/X (31%) and then PS4 (27%). It’s estimated it sold 200,000 units in its first month of release on the PC platform Steam. Estimates are that Fireteam Elite sold 586,000 units in total on Steam.
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You can view the full news archive for the game here.