The Alien video game series, much like the titular movie series, has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the years. There have been innovative flops such as Alien vs Predator, there have been outright horror stories such as Colonial Marines, and there have been sleeper successes such as Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation.
Not too many months ago I watched the highly anticipated Alien: Covenant and was much more pleased with it than I had been with Prometheus in terms of pushing the series and its speculative origins to the brink and successfully exploring new ideas as well as old. That got me thinking about the potential for another installment in the video game series, particularly one that catered more to the type of gameplay and audience that Isolation did rather than anything AVP or Colonial Marines may have attempted to do.
Details wise, it’s pretty much impossible for us to see another game from Creative Assembly themselves as the majority of talented designers who worked on Isolation have since left and gone on to other projects. Those that do remain recently wrapped up their work on Halo Wars 2 and are supposedly in the talks to continue their work on an as of yet pretty much unknown IP or project. However, that doesn’t mean SEGA couldn’t or even shouldn’t (or wouldn’t) tap into the same or similar sort of creative mindset that led them to select the bright minds at Creative Assembly as their leads for Alien: Isolation. There are a number of talented studios out there and far be it from me to say who should get the chance to put their own spin on such a popular series.
Ironically, I think perhaps the best route to go besides implementing a fairly fresh story like Alien: Isolation, albeit one that fits categorically into the original universe and into Ripley (by extension, her daughter) and others’ story, would be to detail the events between Prometheus and Covenant. This is where things are going to get a little bit hairy so if you’ve yet to play Isolation or don’t want the majority of the Alien/Prometheus series ruined for you on accident as I happily and nonsensically drop details, leave now or forever hold your peace.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed how canonically the story of Isolation fit just as well into the original universe as Covenant and Prometheus are starting to fit into the entirety of the series, I don’t want to see what is essentially Alien: Isolation II. I want to see something that is similar but not the same. As fun as it would be, I don’t want a sequel- I want another Alien title that takes the best elements of Isolation but boasts a new story and slightly different enemies and encounters as well as some brand new ideas. What better way to do that and semi-ironically make a movie tie-in game of sorts than to detail certain events from David’s previous experiments and the untimely death of Elizabeth Shaw after the events of Prometheus but prior to Covenant?
Allow me to clarify a little bit further. In order to be successful I think the game would have to include more of the aesthetic and elements of Covenant than Prometheus for sure, but that it should also maintain what worked in Isolation and not be a shooter or anything other than pure survival horror at its finest moments. The storytelling and pacing could be much similar to Isolation but perhaps set in the derelict ruins seen in Covenant or in the downed ship that David crashed. I would love to see a small team of engineers or something perhaps crash land on the exoplanet and slowly fall prey to David’s mischievous and diabolical experiments along the way. Michael Fassbender could even lend his voice and likeness to the character should it actually be feasible to include in-game.
Rather than the enclosed hallways and occasional open areas of the Sevastopol space station players could instead explore equal parts open fields and enclosed tombs and ruins of likewise free-form sort of levels and encounters. Many of the dynamics that made the first game thrilling could easily be re-implemented here as well and remain just as fluid and fresh. I would love to see the slightly varied looks of the alien creatures as they develop throughout the story and although it wouldn’t be exactly canonically accurate to have the classic look for the Xenomorph itself, the Neomorph and such variations of chestbursters and whatnot would be a sight to behold still.
There are numerous directions that SEGA could choose to go or not go in with the series but rather than some paltry attempt at another shooter or yet another AVP sequel, I’d much rather see survival horror in the vein of Isolation’s success. Whether or not the story is anything similar to the recently released Covenant or whether it features an entirely new time, story line, or characters matters little in the grand scheme of things. These are merely some of my farfetched ideas at this time.
If you have any of your own thoughts about what a theoretical next Alien title should or could or shouldn’t or couldn’t do, feel free to comment and I’ll happily discuss the series and my own thoughts with you. Cheers.