The story behind Creative Assembly's horror masterpiece.
In 2010, a group of Alien fans at Creative Assembly were given the opportunity of a lifetime: making a game set in that iconic sci-fi universe, with the full blessing of 20th Century Fox. The result is one of the best horror games ever made...
The team used Ridley Scott's 1979 film as a creative touchstone, not James Cameron's sequel. "From the moment we pitched the original concept, Fox was completely behind us," says Alistair Hope, Isolation's creative lead.
"When we mentioned we had the film running on loop during press, everyone thought we were talking BS," says UI lead Jon McKellan. "But It's 100% true. It was running on screens in the studio 24/7."
Fox gave the team a huge archive of production material, including design blueprints and costume photos. "It was like that moment in Pulp Fiction where they open the suitcase," says Hope.
"Towards the end we’d still die and jump and yell and be surprised by it," says Hope when we ask him about the Xeno's AI. "Even now I can play it and my heart will be thumping away."
"We knew players couldn't be up against the alien for the entire duration," says level designer Catherine Woolley. "That would be way too stressful, so we added the Working Joes to the game."
The devs reunited Alien's cast for the DLC. "They saw the care we put into the atmosphere," says Hope. "Sigourney would be playing Ripley for the first time in a game. That was special."
Isolation's scariest surprise is when it throws not one, but two aliens at you. "We wanted to turn the tables on you a little bit," admits Hope.
Isolation isn't just a great horror game, it's a beloved part of Alien canon. "For people to respond to it so well, and legitimise it as a canonical chapter in the Alien saga... it's hard to get your head around," says Jon McKellan.
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