This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the content has been altered however. Welcome to our Feature Friday double header, below is an interview with Nee from Creative Assembly who talks all about the upcoming Alien: Isolation, due for release on October 7 2014 and is one of the scariest games we have ever played!
Enjoy the interview but don’t miss out second feature, the MGL Voice Artist of the Month which will be live every first Friday of the month from here on! Click the link below (as ever it opens in a new tab!) and don’t miss it.
Please introduce yourself and what you do at Creative Assembly to our readers
I’m Nee, Community Manager for Alien: Isolation at Creative Assembly. This means I primarily look after all the content you see on our website and our social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Vine, and YouTube. I’m the one responding to all your comments and questions on Facebook and Twitter!
First of all, what was E3 like for you guys and what were the gamers responses like to Alien Isolation on both normal play and the Oculus rift?
E3 was pretty awesome. We’ve been working on this game now for well over three years and most of the time, under-the-radar and quietly. We’ve not been able to show it off properly and at E3, with the presentation in the theatre, the hands-on level people could play and the prototype on Oculus Rift, it felt we were showing off something that was getting people REALLY excited. And of course, we were unbelievably ecstatic whenever we got a new nomination or award – that was such a great feeling. I was taking photo snaps of every new nomination we got to share with the fellas back at the studio! Everyone was humbled and very, very excited.
As for the responses, they were so encouraging for us. I hope it doesn’t sound too wrong when I say that we’re delighted every single time someone gets really scared or shouts out aloud in fear 😀 One guy was playing and shaking so hard his entire chair was trembling – no joke. I went up to make sure he was OK and it was just because he was running away from the Alien and terrifying himself at the same time. And that wasn’t on Oculus Rift – just the normal hands-on! Oculus Rift was a huge deal for us and we wanted to nail that prototype so hearing that we had the likes of Miyamoto Shigeru try it out was really fantastic. And it’s genuinely terrifying, playing it on Oculus Rift. I went to the stand during E3 to try it out and I hadn’t played it for a while on Oculus and forgot how frightening it was. I screamed SO loudly when the Alien came for me that I made everyone jump. Haha!
— NBTN (@Nee_Bytes) June 16, 2014
Alien Isolation is one of the scariest games we have ever played, Noaksey is still having nightmares now! Just how much work has gone into the atmosphere of the game and what has been used to create genuine fear in the player?
I’d like to say we’re sorry about the nightmares, but… 😉
We have worked incredibly hard to make it as faithful to the look and feel of the original film, Alien. The game is set fifteen years after and it was decided very early on in the project that we wanted to stick with that ‘haunted house in space’ feel of Ridley Scott’s movie – that’s what Alien is, for the majority of us, really.
So, we drew pretty much all our inspiration from what made the original film work in terms of it being a horror film – from set, lighting, characters, environment, etc. We also got a huge amount of support from Fox, who gave us access to loads of assets and materials from the original film and set, including blueprints of the Nostromo interiors (down to fabric details and size ratios of items and objects) and we took all of that and tried to put as much of it in to the game as possible.
So, you’ll play the game and hopefully, you’ll soon realise that like the film, this isn’t a glossy, super-techie version of a sci-fi future. It’s dark, gritty, dirty and technology is clunky, not necessarily super-efficient and there’s a heavier sense of manual labour to get anything done. And when you’ve got something as terrifying as the Alien stalking you, that’s a worrying environment to be in!
Sound has also contributed a huge amount because we’re heavily inspired by the Jerry Goldsmith score. We’ve taken what we had from the film archives, and put that in to the game score to mimic that same eerie, tense, threatening atmosphere you got in the film. And with the A:I of the actual Alien being as unpredictable as it is (which in itself, should be scary enough!), working alongside a score that heightens moments when you should be scared and when you should be focused, it all adds up for a pretty nerve-wracking mind-scare! It does for me, anyways!
Gameplay wise we have seen a lot of the Alien hunting your character while you avoid it by using the environment, but what more is there the gameplay than just survival and hiding?
The game is a survival-horror so that’s always got to be at the forefront, but there’s definitely going to be extra things to enjoy and look out for.
We’ve got a crafting system that’s going to enable to you scavenge materials and build items that could help you. My personal favourite is the noisemaker, which is a device that causes a loud sound and anything that’s close by and curious will go and investigate it. This may give you time to sneak past or complete an objective. Because you’ve got such cool items like this, you can use them together to set traps; you really need to think when you’re planning and deploying strategies.
When you’re using the environment, it’s not just necessarily limited to ducking and hiding – there’s plenty to test out. For example, whacking your spanner against the metal hull of the ship will make a fair bit a noise that could also be used to your advantage, but likewise, it could be your downfall, depending on where you are and how close things are to you.
And of course, there’s the situation on the station. You’ve got fellow survivors – people in a similar bind, looking to stay alive and because of that they’re going to be desperate and frightened. Then, there’s the Seegson Synthetics. It’s going to be very hard to use the same tactics against such different characters and you’ll need to adapt, learn and figure out different strategies; especially when you have something like the Alien constantly hunting you too.
So there’s not only the Alien after you? What part do the Seegson Synthetics have to play in this gameplay and the Story?
The Alien is definitely the main thing you should be worried about and it’s good to always have that in the back of your mind.
The survivors are in the same situation as you – trying to survive. As for the Seegson Synthetics, they’re worker models and definitely not as advanced as say, a Weyland-Yutani android, like Ash. They’re not designed to be sleek, super-realistic or superior – a bit of the opposite, really. They’re nicknamed ‘Working Joes’ and as that name implies, their primary purpose is to help with the daily running of the station and they follow protocol and the programming that’s been given to them. The station is huge, originally designed to house thousands of residents and function as a working habitat. I think it’s fair to think that something of that size would have a system in place, maintaining the day-to-day functions.
Remaining survivors and support systems on the station are going to be something that you will encounter but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re after you. What happens in the story, however, that’s going to be for you to find out and discover…
As part of the games narrative, do you get choices in how you do things and can this impact on the games ending?
We give you a choice on how to approach many situations. Dealing with a fellow survivor, a Seegson Synthetic or the Alien all require different strategies, and you really must consider carefully what to do if there are multiple encounters with more than one kind of aggressor? Your actions may impact on the situation you’re in and could have consequences for later on in the level. However, it won’t change the game’s ending. This is the story of Amanda and we wanted the chance to tell it and like every good story, it’ll have a beginning, middle and an end.
Alien fans have been somewhat disappointed with previous titles, how is Alien Isolation going to give them the game they have been crying out for?
Alien: Isolation has a very different approach to previous Alien games. We’re going back to the origins by drawing our inspiration from Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien film, the original survival-horror. I think that in itself makes this game stand out. In our game, you’re pretty much on your own. You’re very much underpowered and underprepared to face the situation ahead. Ammo is going to be scarce and weapons aren’t necessarily the answer to surviving a situation. You’re going to have to use your wits and make the right decisions to survive in this game – there’s no relying on a massive blaster gun to do away with the baddies.
We’re also exploring the story of Amanda Ripley, a story that we felt no one had told. Being such fans of the film, it was a natural question for us to ask the question: “when the Nostromo went missing, who would have the most to gain by finding out what happened? Who would have the most compelling narrative to follow?” It led us to Amanda Ripley, who, being the daughter of someone as formidable like Ellen Ripley, would do everything she could to discover the truth.
If, like us, you love the origins of the Alien world, the story and the film, then hopefully, this is the game for you.
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Everyone is making re-makes or re-mastering games at the moment, what game would you love to see make a re-mastered comeback?
Oooo, tough one. Probably Crash Bandicoot. I loved playing those games, they were just always great – brilliant characters, brilliant fun – and I really missed them when they stopped making them. Yep, a Crash Bandicoot remake!
After playing WatchDogs we are all about hacking, if you could hack anyone in the world who would it be?
For professional reasons, Tony Stark/Iron Man. Imagine all that cool tech and an iron suit of my own! If he doesn’t count because he’s not real, then (for personal reasons) Ryan Gosling. I don’t think you need to know why or what for though…
If you could be any Video Game Character and live in their world, who would you be?
This is probably the most difficult question you’ve asked me. It’s a toss-up between Samus Aran so I can (more or less) effortless kick space-exploratory ass all the time. Or Sackboy, so I can explore adventurous, crazy worlds and always look ridiculously cool, even when I’m wearing a pink tutu, a sombrero and moustache and escaping some fiery inferno.
Many thanks to Nee and good luck with creating the Alien game we all want! While you’re here check out some of the related content below or visit our features page for some great interviews like this one!