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Published on January 20th, 2018 | by gareth

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What Fans Do And Don’t Want To See In The New Alien Game

As someone who is a big fan of the Alien series; I was very happy to hear about a new shooter game being produced by Cold Iron Studios under Fox Next.  The move was huge as it signals the end of Sega being the exclusive provider of Alien-based games as well as a bold new future especially with the film franchise falling under the ownership of Disney therefore putting future films in the series into a period of uncertainty with the less than desired response at the box office for “Alien Covenant”.

While Alien Isolation has been the blueprint for how to capture the extreme amount of detail and complexity of the Alien Universe, many of the previous games were indeed shooters so hopefully Aliens Colonial Marines turns out to be aberration rather than the norm.

For me anything that support and captures the look, tone, and feel of the Alien Universe in a game is essential as we do not want to see games play fast and loose with the establishment mythos. 

One of the big issues I had with aliens colonial Marines was the never ending waves of Aliens that were coming at you.  It was well-established what the population of the colony was, so factoring in attrition from the events of the film “Aliens” as well is the subsequent explosion of the atmosphere processor, it does seem rather odd that there would be extreme amounts of Aliens still around menace players given that each one requires a host.

Alien Isolation showed that a single creature can be more than a challenge for an individual player to encounter.  Now I understand this will not work for a shooter as players will be armed to the teeth with smart guns and pulse rifles, but 5 to 6 aliens in an enclosed space can be in extreme threat and we do not need to see wave after wave after wave of them coming at us constantly in order to make the game work.  Hit-and-run tactics where the creatures emerge from a wall or flooring section to grab somebody and disappear could be a very interesting tactic.  It would also be very interesting if the game allows players to play as both humans and Aliens so you have the unpredictable nature of a human opponent with the Alien’s abilities to contend with.

I also would like to see a more restrained approach to firepower in that don’t make the players walking arsenals equipped with all manner of automatic weapons, explosives, and flamethrowers.  Take a cue from the first film and give them very limited firepower so players have to run and gun and take advantage of their environment.  Imagine being limited to a basic pistol with only a few rounds left and a couple of Aliens are blocking your exit.  With no chance to go around them and then or ability to fight them straight up, perhaps a shot to a fire extinguisher, fuel line, or power conduit might provide the necessary damage or distraction needed for player to safely get away.

I also think it’s important not to get too creative in terms of showing us whole new menagerie of Aliens.  The existing creatures are more than enough challenge for most gamers and if done properly should hold the interest of players as well without having to resort to gimmicks where the wheel is constantly being reinvented.

This brings me of course to the main character.  “Alien” set a very high bar with Ripley and Alien Isolation followed this pattern with her daughter Amanda.  We do not need a character that is in some unstoppable tank, we need one that players can embrace and feel invested In their outcome.  Their successes are on our successes and their failures are our failures.  It will be interesting of course to see what the overall plot of it is that you can bet they’ll be some nebulous plot from the Company because the Company has always provided an incentive behind the events of the films and games and naturally one would expect someone has to be paying for the ships and weapons that are going to be the basis for the game.

Above all I believe it’s important not to rush the game and to make sure it is done right.  Do not be so obsessed about making a splashy presentation at E3 that you know cannot be delivered upon which results in a game not measuring up to the hype.  We saw this before with Aliens Colonial Marines and I think it’s safe to say if this were to happen again at this stage of the Alien Game Universe it could be a misstep from which recovery would be very difficult.

I’m looking forward to a very dark and atmospheric entry that combines elements of stealth, run and gun, strategy, and hopefully team-based play which will result in an alien shooter game unlike any the fancy seen before and one they so richly deserve.


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