Alien: Isolation has unscripted horror

The news surrounding Alien Isolation has been ramping up over the past few weeks. We've seen leaked screenshots, an Xbox product listing page and a few little details here and there, but now we've got a full blown trailer and a lot of details about the upcoming game.

It's a survival horror, that's obvious right from the start thanks to the fact that the lead character, Amanda Ripley (Ellen Ripley's daughter, mentioned briefly in the second film) has no weapons and only the motion sensor to keep her company.

However a concern for some was that this would be a survival horror with scripted sequences. You'd wander around doing your thing and then Argh! jump scare, which then triggers a quick chase sequence.

Not so.

In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, the developers, Creative Assembly (of Total War fame), talked about the AI that the Alien in the game has. And there is only one by the way, it'll stalk you for most of the game.

They said that there will be scripted sequences where the alien will appear at certain points in the game, but once it does, you're on your own. The Xenomorph has specific AI behaviours which are somewhat randomised, so if you go and hide in a locker and keep very quiet, usually it'll just pass on by, but sometimes it'll find you, other times it'll just attack the locker next to you.

Similarly it doesn't have a standard path it follows but will instead intelligently hunt you throughout the level, trying to smell, hear and spot you.

Better to keep your flashlight off when that happens.

They also addressed the topic of fear-fatigue, where seeing the same scary thing multiple times (especially once it's killed you) can reduce the fear you have of it.

" Yeah, I think… we’ve been working on this game for a while and we play it every day and we do often try to get the atmosphere right, so we play it in the dark. Having said that, we will play the game and it will make us jump and it’ll make us shout. We had a meeting in this room three weeks ago where the Lead Level Designer and the Lead Artist jumped and actually grabbed each other for some kind of comfort they were so shocked…"

It also has some unpredictable behaviour patterns, like sometimes disappearing into the ventilation system, where it can move very quickly and appear at random points on the map, letting it sneak up behind you or even attack from above and below.

For the full take on the game, check out the RPS interview but if you haven't yet, watch the trailer below to give you an idea of what they're talking about.

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