is an upcoming first-person survival horror stealth game developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega, part of the Alien franchise.
The game is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien. The game follows Amanda, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother Ellen Ripley. Amanda was transferred to the space stationSevastopol to find the flight recorder of Nostromo. However, an Alien has already infested the station.
The Creative Assembly described Alien: Isolation as a survival horror game as opposed to an action shooter, and to that end chose to style the game more closely to Ridley Scott's original horror film Alien, as opposed to James Cameron's more action oriented sequel Aliens. Unlike most other video game adaptations of the Alien franchise, Alien: Isolation features only one Alien throughout its duration that cannot be killed, requiring the player to use stealth tactics in order to survive. Although the game features some weapons, they will be effective only against the human occupants and android "Working Joes".
Instead of following a predetermined path, the artificial intelligence of the Alien has been programmed to actively hunt the player by sight, sound and smell. The Alien AI was programmed with a complex set of behavioural designs that progressively unlock as it encounters the player to create the illusion that the Alien is learning from its encounters with the player and adjusting its hunting strategy appropriately. This includes the ability for the Alien to investigate "secondary sources" of disturbances; for instance, if it notices a locker or air lock is open, the Alien will search for who opened it. The Alien emits vocalisations which the player can listen for to gain understanding of its current intentions; a scream may indicate that the creature is about to attack, while other sounds may indicate the Alien has seen something, is searching or has lost all trace of its prey.
The player has the ability to crouch to hide behind objects to break line of sight with the Alien, and the player can then covertly peek over or lean around to gain view. The player has the ability to run, but this increases the noise that they make and thus the chance of the Alien finding them. The player is given a flashlight and a motion tracker to detect the Alien's movements, however using these creates light and noise that increases the chance of the player being found by the Alien. The player can go under tables or inside lockers to hide from the Alien, and will sometimes have to press a button to make Amanda hold her breath to avoid making sound. Levels are designed to be non-linear with multiple entry and exit points for each room, providing alternative routes for both the Alien and the player to attack or escape, respectively.
The game features no on-screen heads-up display, instead requiring the player to use their inventory to acquire information, such as bringing up the motion tracker to locate the Alien. Using the motion tracker triggers a depth of field effect so the player can't focus on the tracker and what's in front of them at the same time. Though the motion tracker is capable of detecting the Alien's approximate location, it is unable determine the Alien's specific location, or locate the monster if it isn't moving. The game features a crafting system which allows the player to create weapons and tools to defend themself. Crafting objects appear in randomised locations, forcing players to explore the level to find them on each playthrough, instead of memorising their locations. In Alien: Isolation, players will encounter computers and other devices that they can hack to access information or trigger in-game actions, using a system which is similar to video tape tracking.
The Creative Assembly, best known for their work on the Total War game series, began work on the game after completion of Viking: Battle For Asgard. A six-person team developed a small multiplayer game to pitch the idea to Sega, a "hide and seek" game where the Alien role had to be controlled by one of the players. The game "went a bit viral within Sega", and the project was approved. The developers were frustrated at being unable to talk about their own game during Aliens: Colonial Marines's troubled release. The game will only feature limited gunplay as the studio feel that action-oriented games such as Dead Space have "marginalised" real horror games. A substantial number of former Crytek staff are working on the project.
Though the game is set in the future, the technology depicted the game is made to look as if it were designed in the 1970s in order to match the look of the first Alien film. To accomplish this, the studio is emulating the creative processes used on the actual movie, and available at that time.
The game's artists studied Ron Cobb's original concept art and used tablet computer versions of his drawing implements. In-game objects must be derived from items available to the film's production, while computers have monochrome displays and simple line graphics. To create period authentic distortion on in game monitors, the developers recorded their in game animations onto VHS and Betamax video recorders, then filmed those sequences playing on an "old curvy portable TV" while adjusting the tracking settings. The Alien itself was designed to look similar to H. R. Giger's original design for the creature from the first film, including the semitransparent head with visible skull underneath, as opposed to the designs that were used for the film's sequels. However the developers did alter the Aliens design to feature recurved legs as opposed to the more humanoid legs the monster had in the original film, in order to provide the Alien a walk cycle that would hold up to scrutiny during longer encounters with the player. The Creative Assembly created between 70 and 80 different sets of animation for the Alien. 20th Century Fox provided The Creative Assembly with three terabytes of archived data related to the original Alien film, including notes on prop and set design, behind the scenes photos, videos, and the film's original sound effect recordings, to help Creative Assembly authentically recreate the atmosphere of the film. Among the source material provided by 20th Century Fox, was the film's original musical soundtrack, to which the developers re-recorded several of the original cues with a full orchestra, including some of the musicians who worked on the first film’s soundtrack. Alien: Isolation features a dynamic sound engine which causes the music and sound effects to appropriately change based on the players actions, such as whether they are hiding or fleeing from the Alien. The game can be played from beginning to end as of January 2014, and the remaining development time will be spent on testing and improvement.
The first press coverage came in on May 12, 2011, when Ed Vaizey visited the studio and revealed on his Twitter account that they were hiring for an Alien game. Sega later confirmed to CVG that studio Creative Assembly was making a new Aliengame and hoped the title would be a "peer to Dead Space 2". Neither the studio or publisher would be drawn on confirming a genre for the game, and wouldn't say if it was a strategy title - the category Creative Assembly is best known for. However, CA did confirm to CVG that the game would be making its way to "console", but didn't specify formats. Creative director Mike Simpson said that he'd been given the directive to win awards by Sega, but wasn't overly pressured because "we like winning awards". "This is very much a triple-A project", Sega West boss Mike Hayes added. "We want this to be a peer to the likes of Dead Space 2." The game's name was anticipated following a trademark registration, and the game was formally confirmed with the release of a trailer on January 7, 2014.