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Gamescom 2014: Hands-on with Alien: Isolation

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Gamescom 2014: Hands-on with Alien: Isolation

Don’t go to a house of horrors twice. You learn all the false walls and where the skeletons will lunge at you. Similarly, spend enough time with Alien Isolation and you can spot the strings.

This isn’t so much a criticism of the game as it is a call for houses of horrors to employ aliens because, for all that I’ve learned about how Alien Isolation works, it still scares the crap out of me.

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Football Manager 2015 release set for November; buy now for beta access

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Football Manager 2015 release set for November; buy now for beta access

Don’t tell our Fraser about this, yeah? He’s convinced the decline of pre-orders is good for everyone, and that’s great in principle. But Sega will let us play Football Manager 2015 two weeks early if we buy it now. And really, how much is football going to change in the next three months? Unless they introduce a new rule that makes it okay to go over the lines so long as you kick the ball back in straight away. But it’ll probably be fine.

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

Gearbox attempts to get removed from Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit

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Gearbox attempts to get removed from Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit

Aliens: Colonial Marines was bad; a bad shooter and a bad Aliens game. But a class action lawsuit filed last year, against Gearbox and Sega, alleges that the game was also sold on false promises and unrepresentative gameplay at shows like E3 and PAX. While both parties looked poised to fight the lawsuit, Gearbox is now attempting to end things before a judge can decide whether the lawsuit is warranted. 

The developer’s reasoning appears to be two-fold: the company poured its own money into the game and has not been reimbursed or received royalties, and the class is too broad, including people who would have never seen the early footage or people who actually liked the game, if they exist. 

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Alien: Isolation's cast-reuniting pre-order DLC will be available after launch too

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Alien: Isolation's cast-reuniting pre-order DLC will be available after launch too

Creative Assembly set the standard for pre-order DLC last week with the announcement of two Alien: Isolation missions: sourced directly from 1979 Alien’s third act and featuring the determined tenor of Sigourney Weaver for the first time ever in a vidyagame.

But some were understandably peeved that the missions necessitated a pre-review purchase or deals with retailers they’d never normally cross the front page of. Thankfully, Creative Assembly have admitted that both missions will be available elsewhere after the game’s release.

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Alien: Isolation pre-order trailer alludes to a Ripley-roaring good time

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Alien: Isolation pre-order trailer alludes to a Ripley-roaring good time

Oh, this is nice. We haven’t had pretend VHS visual artifacts in trailers since Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. But here’s a trailer for Alien: Isolation, replete with the late-‘70s version of the 21st Century Fox searchlight intro.

They might have stopped there, after the splash screens. But there’s even a couple of seconds of footage from Alien: Isolation’s Weaver-voiced pre-order DLC in there.

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Sigourney Weaver was "very touched" by Alien: Isolation's premise

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Sigourney Weaver was "very touched" by Alien: Isolation's premise

Sigourney Weaver might star in Alien: Isolation’s pre-order DLC, which makes hyper-tense levels of two classic scenes from Alien. But for the main, terrifying bulk of the game she is the mother Amanda Ripley is hoping to hunt down before she’s hunted to bits first.

As it turns out, she liked Creative Assembly's idea just as much as Sega did. Isolation marks the first time Weaver has played Ripley in a videogame.

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Alien: Isolation sets the standard for pre-order DLC with Weaver-voiced missions

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Alien: Isolation sets the standard for pre-order DLC with Weaver-voiced missions

Benjamin Button wasn’t the first film star we saw age backwards. Jeff Bridges lost more than a beard in Tron: Legacy, and the wrinkles have evaporated from Patrick Stewart’s face in more than one X-Men movie. But there’s something about seeing Sigourney Weaver and crew as they were in ‘79 that tickles the nostalgia glands just so. Check out the picture below.

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Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Hands-on

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Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Hands-on

“The significance of the Western Front armies is we have the full European arena of battle," Alex Price, Relic’s brand director, tells the group of journalists assembled to play Company of Heroes 2’s first expansion, The Western Front.

Once again you’ll be able to play as the US and German forces as they battle for Western Europe but it won’t be as you remember them. Both sides have been completely rebuilt since the original Company of Heroes, they not only look and sound different but there have been some fundamental changes to how they play, too.

Relic have tried to make the US a beleaguered infantry force who survive on versatile, mobile squads, while the Germans are equipped with vehicles that, while extremely powerful, aren’t built for the terrain they’re fighting on, and it shows.

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Alien: Isolation’s challenge mode shown off at E3

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Alien: Isolation’s challenge mode shown off at E3

Sure, you’re trapped aboard a space station with an alien that can gut you with every one of its extremities (+ tongue) but that’s no reason to avoid taking part in a good old fashioned foot race. Creative Assembly have revealed Alien: Isolation’s challenge mode.

Just how quickly can you make it to the exit without being cut in two.

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Relic pluck Dawn of War games from the maws of Gamespy and Games for Windows Live

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Relic pluck Dawn of War games from the maws of Gamespy and Games for Windows Live

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and its three ambitious expansions were on the kill list of games set to lose their servers once Gamespy expires this weekend. But about a week ago, Relic sent a squad of terminators to take back their space hulk and leave Steam matchmaking in their wake.

Dawn of War II isn’t under threat, but it does operate under the iffy Games for Windows Live - and Relic have decided to give it the same treatment. In short order, all of the progressive RTS games in Relic’s fold will be operating under the same matchmaking system and backend developed for Company of Heroes 2.

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This week's Humble Sale is a corker from SEGA

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This week's Humble Sale is a corker from SEGA

This week’s Humble Sale is a bit of a corker. It’s from SEGA, and includes a good mix of old and new(er) titles. 

Pay anything and you’ll net yourself Alpha Protocol, Rome: Total War, Company of Heroes and Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. Rome and Company of Heroes are phenomenal games and should be in the library of any strategy fans, while Alpha Protocol and Hell Yeah! are a bit more uneven, but still entertaining. 

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Sega petitioned for more PC games - starting with Bayonetta

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Sega petitioned for more PC games - starting with Bayonetta

There are two Segas, really. There’s the Sega in America and Europe, which increasingly pours money into Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive, and saved Relic from floundering after THQ’s tank smashed. A proper PC games publisher. And then there’s the Sega in Japan, the heartland of Sonic, where PC games are still all too often a 3am afterthought, like the Ouya.

It’s the latter Sega that some 7000 concerned PC gamers have written to, to request near-future ports of Bayonetta, Vanquish and Virtua Fighter 5. For starters.

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What qualified the Total War lot to make a first-person Alien game? The "wide scope" of Creative Assembly

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What qualified the Total War lot to make a first-person Alien game? The "wide scope" of Creative Assembly

It’s odd to think it now, but when Sega greenlit a couple of Alien shooters, Colonial Marines was the safe bet. An action-heavy FPS in the hands of developers who’d made their name with the same - Gearbox. Now, though, it’s the strange survival shooter from the studio that’s made almost nothing but Total War for 14 years that we’ve pinned our hopes on. How on Earth did that come about?

“It is natural for people to put us into boxes," says Alien: Isolation creative lead Alistair Hope. “But the scope of Creative Assembly is wider than perhaps with other firms."

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Total War: Rome 2 modding is a go with the release of the Assembly Kit

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Total War: Rome 2 modding is a go with the release of the Assembly Kit

Who would win in a fight, the Romans or the Zerg? Till now it’s only been a fight in the cinema of the mind. Now it can be in the cinema of the... can a mouse click be a cinema? I’m thoroughly confused on that front. Let’s just say if the finger were a projector and the mouse button were a screen then the distance in between is... Creative Assembly have released mod tools for Rome 2!

If you're having a hard time understanding the excitement, you ought to check out our Total War: Rome 2 review.

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Total War: Rome II patch 8.1 puts a stop to inappropriate use of flaming projectiles

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Total War: Rome II patch 8.1 puts a stop to inappropriate use of flaming projectiles

No matter how many times a teacher says not to, schoolchildren will always throw flaming projectiles when they shouldn’t. It’s a fact of life as embedded in our cultural history as salting the earth of your neighbour’s garden when they go on holiday. But not in Rome II. Creative Assembly are going back on centuries of tradition to make sure their siege artillery only use flaming projectiles when it is appropriate, “when attacking walls and towers".

The 8.1 patch “fixes" many other “bugs", too.

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How Creative Assembly designed Alien: Isolation's terrifyingly clever xenomorph

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How Creative Assembly designed Alien: Isolation's terrifyingly clever xenomorph

Alien: Isolation burst out of Creative Assembly's chest yesterday, splattering previews all over the internet and making us spill our collective cereal — here is my Alien: Isolation preview, in case you're interested in finding out more. The game plays, in the parts we've been shown at least, like Amnesia in space, with only a solitary, highly intelligent and free-roaming xenomorph forming the game's horror centrepiece.

Gary Napper, lead designer at Creative Assembly, and Jude Bond, lead artist, spoke to me about how to create a truly terrifying artificial intelligence, what they thought of recent games in the franchise and how Alien: Isolation hopes to sustain a level of tension from start to finish that doesn't result in heart-stopping fatalities. Come have a look at the words we said to one another.

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Alien: Isolation developer diary introduces Creative Assembly's horror contingent

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Alien: Isolation developer diary introduces Creative Assembly's horror contingent

Hey! There’s an Alien Isolation trailer scuttling about the vents here somewhere, if you’re interested. In it, a Colin Firthian voice actor gets to say “We get to shut the book, Ripley," in a prim staccato only faintly recognisable to the English as their own accent.

It's not the Ripley he's referring to, though - she’s out of reach for videogame adaptations, for sensible reasons - but daughter Amanda, who learns the whereabouts of the Nostromo’s black box fifteen years after her mother’s disappearance in shouty, quivery circumstances. Creative Assembly have piggybacked Ripley the Younger’s quest to find mother as an opportunity to return to the mother of sci-fi horror - because they think they know what made it tick. They say as much in this interviewish video.

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