Alien Isolation’s xenomorph: “This is an enemy that you need to avoid at all costs”

Making Alien: Isolation's xenomorph

The years haven’t been kind to Xenomorphs. The Aliens vs Predator films made them utterly disposable, Prometheus made them the product of goo and Colonial Marines made them mentally subnormal and suicidal.

So Creative Assembly have a lot of work to do in Alien: Isolation, making the single xenomorph as terrifying as we remember it to be from the original film. The latest developer diary explains the design approach Creative Assembly have taken in regards to the iconic monster.

It really does sound like the team understands the xenomorph, and how it became such a horror icon. Isolation’s xenomorph won’t be scripted. Designer Gary Napper reveals that some encounters with the alien have last for 30 minutes, and that can’t be done with scripted behaviour. Players would be able to exploit patterns, so the creature needs to be a dynamic hunter, using active senses to stalk its prey.

“This is an enemy that you need to avoid at all costs,” says Al Hope, creative lead. “Even if you find a gun, your first thought is going to be ‘If I fire this, will the alien hear it?’” It’s a game where the team never wants you to relax or feel safe.

Our Steve took the game for a spin a couple of months ago, and it sounded like Creative Assembly has, so far, manages to make the xenomorph a predator to be feared. “Alien: Isolation unpussifies one of the most cruelly declawed monsters in cinema and embraces the challenge of creating a non-combative yet still impactful experience inside a faithfully recreated and beautifully rendered universe.”