It’s Spooktober, and between the horrors of fiction and non-fiction, there’s plenty to be terrified about. Like the Andromeda galaxy crashing into the Milky Way in a few billion years and we’re pretty much done for as a species by that point unless we can crack interdimensional travel. Anyway, I’m in the mood for some scary films and games, and nothing creeps me out more than a dual reminder of ginger cats being bastards and Swiss surrealist H.R Giger’s obsession with genitalia that was beautifully combined in the classic Alien.
Just like the films, the games that followed in the wake of Alien and its sequels haven’t been half-bad either. Just mostly bad, with Aliens: Colonial Marines being a noteworthy disaster and an example of hype gone wrong. From the ashes of that debacle though, came Alien Isolation. Developed by Creative Assembly, Alien Isolation was an atmospheric descent into the source material that felt like a better sequel than anything that has hit the big screen in the last two decades.
The game may have its flaws, but it’s a faithful masterpiece of design that serves as the benchmark for what a studio is capable of when all cylinders are firing. And that game almost never saw the light of day. “We sent out a five-page vision document of what an Alien survival horror game would be, and Sega went, ‘There is no way we want to do another Alien game,’” Tim Heaton, chief studio officer at Creative Assembly, said to Noclip in a new Alien: Isolation documentary. Instead, the house of Sonic wanted Creative Assembly to work on an Olympics game.
We did a demo in five weeks and we didn’t tell Sega that we were doing it.
“We got permission to do more of a mood demo and what it’d be like to just be in that space,”Alistair Hope, console creative director, added.
We took the Viking engine, which was all about the outdoors and had kind of one light source, which was the Sun, and then we started to try and make interiors with it and that was really interesting. I think we did that in two weeks, maybe three weeks.
Creative Assembly returned to Sega with their moody pitch, Sega’s top brass were bowled over by what they saw and the wheels were set in motion to make one of the best Alien games of all time. All thanks to subterfuge, determination and the software that powered a humble Viking action game. You can see just how the Creative Assembly created Alien Isolation, in the documentary below. Now how about a sequel?
Last Updated: October 27, 2020