Unhappy with the state of AAA horror, developer Creative Assembly is attempting to make an ambitious survival horror game that’s truly frightening. The only way to succeed in this, seeing ass your biggest threat is a singular xenomorph, is to ensure that this particular enemy is as cunning as it is dangerous. It needs to feel as if the alien is actually hunting you, stalking you through each dark corridor. You’re its prey, and if it finds you — and it will find you — your only option is to run.
It sounds as if the xenomorph featured in Alien: Isolation will be all of the above, and I cannot wait to see it in action first-hand.
In an interview with UK gaming magazine Edge, Isolation creative lead Alistair Hope detailed just how intelligent the alien can be.
“The alien is systemic across the board. We can just drop the alien into an area and see how it behaves. It knows when it sees something and it knows when it just suspects something.” Suspects? It almost sounds sentient. Apparently, that word comes close to being true with this particular baddie.
“Obviously, we bookend certain areas to give you an objective, but most of the time the alien is in the world and it’s hunting you. You’ll acquire some abilities you can use to defend yourself for a while, but then suddenly the alien stops attacking you. It stops doing what you thought it was going to do. You’re looking at this alien and something’s changed. It learns.”
Thankfully, you’re in a space station that’s almost certainly brimming with all sorts of crevices and dark corners to hide in, right? Yes and no.
Creative Assembly has designed each room to feel real, and that means you’ll have places to hide, like vents, when you need to. However, they’ve also given the alien the tools to literally sniff you out. This comes courtesy of a complex decision-making tree that gives the alien the ability to make decisions on the fly. Hope offers an example.
“You might hide in a vent,” Hope suggests, “but the alien can come in there with you. That’s a massive moment in our game. You realise you’re not safe anywhere. But when the alien is hunting you, he doesn’t hear your position, he hears the noises from the vent. So he goes to the mouth of the vent to investigate.”
So the alien can think, it can learn, it adapts. It can even set an ambush. Now that’s terrifying. We’ll have the chance to go head-to-head with this guy when Alien: Isolation arrives later this year for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
Head on over to Edge for the full interview.