E3 2014

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SEGA - Alien: Isolation

12 June 2014 | Written by Maxxum

I saw 'Aliens' as a child when it was in theaters, and later 'Alien' (note the singular form) much later as an adult... I wasn't a fan of the first movie in the series. 'Alien' was a slow thriller that developed a build-up of fear that was released towards the end of the film. SEGA's 'Alien: Isolation' is based more on the latter, but the tension in the game is similar to what I experienced watching 'Aliens' as a child while trying to hide in my seat in a dark theater next to wall curtains where I'm certain there was something waiting to kill me.

Follows my interview with SEGA Senior Producer Jonathan Court:


Prior to speaking with Mr. Court, I briefly played the demo presented in the booth, and I emphasize the brevity of my experience because I was hunted and then culled in an intense manner by the star of the game, the alien, who had been stalking me... you can hear and feel its footsteps in the bass while wearing headphones. In fact, I felt the alien creeping towards me before I had chance to see it as it pulled down my character and then put its second mouth through my head. I was told that if it the creature catches you from behind you get to look down and see its tail spike through your chest before your character dies. So, clearly not a game for children but oh boy is it a game for adults.

I played the game several more times at the Microsoft booth... the attention to detail is apparent, and it requires some time to acclimate to cues within the game. For example, hiding in a locker doesn't make one immediately safe. The character is still breathing, hence making noise. The player will be prompted to hold the character's breath... or, the alien will hear you and smash through the locker door to kill you. There are other gameplay concepts to learn, but they provide for a more realistic and more rewarding experience. The game does a very good job of activating human survival instinct through the subtleties of its gameplay.

There were a couple points during the game at which I gained the upper-hand on the alien, and I was able to stand behind it undetected. This gave me a chance to observe the movements of the alien which exhibited some of the AI characteristics mentioned by Mr. Court. When coming face to face with the alien, it doesn't immediately attack; there's a moment when it turns its head to recognize you... then it attacks and kills you. It's dark, but if I'm going to be killed by a game AI I like knowing that my presence is truly acknowledged and appreciated.

'Alien: Isolation' will be available 7 October 2014.

Videography by Ally