Think back on your life and imagine the most trapped you’ve ever been. Guess what? It doesn’t mean shit, because you weren’t trapped on a spaceship with an angry xenomorph. And you still won’t be until this fall, when Sega releases The Creative Assembly’s first-person survival horror game Alien: Isolation, which made it to this week’s E3 gaming event in L.A. by way of a new gameplay trailer. I’m finding it hard not to put all my chestburster eggs in one basket here, hoping that this is the epitome of movie tie-in games.
But there’s an easy way to buoy one’s hopes, and it’s right there at the beginning of the trailer, in the form of a disclaimer saying this is “pre-release footage” and that it “represents a work in progress,” so that no one can go apeshit bashing it like people did when the criminally awful Aliens: Colonial Marines came out, negatively defying expectations by being a severely downgraded experience from what was promised by the trailers. We’re pretty confident everyone has learned from that mistake, but the disclaimer is still a fresh scab.
But enough about wariness. Let’s talk about why this trailer is awesome. One, the title screen is made to look like a VHS tape with questionable tracking. Two, everything about this Alien: Isolation just looks gorgeous, and even though the gameplay is predictably less sharp than the cut scenes, the bar is set really, really high here. Three, the game is essentially the best part of any Alien movie: when the character is quietly trying to get away from the giant, saliva-slopping alien beast. I admittedly don’t have time to get into video games like I used to, but I’m more than willing to ignore all of you for a day or two while I marathon my way through this.
Alien: Isolation centers on Amanda Ripley, daughter of franchise heroine Ellen Ripley, who is on a mission to a space station where the flight recorder from Ripley’s vessel, the Nostromo, is being kept. But there’s an alien on board as well, of course. Refreshingly, there is only the one alien enemy, who hunts players down using sight, smell, and sound, and which is able to seemingly adapt to the gameplay. Players must rely on stealth tactics and a variety of other tricks to escape the alien so that the mission can continue. Plus, you can create your own weapons, although those can only be used against non-alien threats. Because yes, there are some other characters involved. Check out the video below, which introduces the cast and the way the performances were captured for the game.