The rumors are true: there is a brand-new video game based on Ripley Scott’s Alien in the works, and this one is keeping it all in the family. After months of whispers and speculation, Alien: Isolation has announced itself with the creepy trailer above, inviting fans to experience an untold story from the Alien mythos, namely the story of Amanda Ripley’s quest to discover what happened to her mother. Yes, Isolation puts players in the role of Ripley’s daughter, first mentioned — and long since dead — early in James Cameron’s Aliens director’s cut. Let’s hope for Amanda’s sake that she’s inherited a knack for outsmarting vicious, acid-blooded xenomorphs.
The announcement of a new Alien game will likely be met with some suspicion and cynicism. After all, last year’s Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco wasted a dropship full of potential, instead serving up a buggy bug-hunt that somehow managed to make the iconic xenomorph predators dull. But thankfully, Alien: Isolation is from an entirely different team, an entirely different developer. Sure, that’s no guarantee that Isolation will be good, but we shouldn’t pile Colonial Marines’ sins on Isolation’s Creative Assembly. This is a whole new beast.
Metaphors aside, it’s worth pointing out the singular nature of that word, beast. While Colonial Marines tried — and failed — to recreate the frantic, overwhelmed action of Cameron’s classic sequel, Isolation is taking its cues from Ridley Scott’s original film instead. You won’t be gunning down crawling black masses of aliens in Isolation. No, there’s only one alien in the game, and given that you won’t be carrying a Marine’s arsenal, that one should be plenty to make your life hell (and probably kill you a lot).
Story details are still pretty sparse, but IGN visited Creative Assembly and brought back a few tidbits. As we said, Amanda Ripley is the star of the show, apparently working with evil megacorp Weyland-Yutani to find her mother and/or the Nostromo’s black box, and with it the story of what happened to that ill-fated ship. Sadly, we know there’s no happy reunion in store for Ellen and Amanda, but it looks like mama’s little girl is going to have her own problems, trapped aboard an unidentified ship or space station and being hunted by a creepy skull-faced bastard with a thing for jamming its projectile mouth through people’s skulls.
Of course, video games and movies have for decades been referencing and outright ripping off the tone, style, and story of the Alien films, but they’ve usually leaned more toward the action side of things. As the Isolation title suggests, Creative Assembly clearly wants this to be survival horror first and foremost, and that’s good to hear. Any gamer worth their salt has gunned down countless digital enemies over the years, but it’s truly rare for a game to genuinely frighten you, to leave your nerves ragged and force you to maybe switch the lights back on while you play, at least for a little while. Probably the most successful of Alien’s spiritual successor games was the original Dead Space, which, just like the crew of the Nostromo, left you underarmed, wandering dark, claustrophobic corridors, and risking a heart attack at every little sound that crept out of the speakers. And hell, the unforgettable sound of the Alien films’ motion tracker is damn near Pavlovian, instantly setting me on edge and searching the corners to find an exit.
Bleep. Bleep. Bleep. That can’t be right, that means it’s inside the roo–