Everyone Can Hear Alien: Isolation

By Ben Barrett on April 4th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

You see it's funny because in the movie no-one can hear you scream right but this is a sound trailer haha

Whenever I talk to someone about Alien: Isolation, there’s two possible tones of voice. First: gushing, praise-tier relief that either it’s apparently good or that, having just played it themselves, they can confirm it’s good. Or: dark, grim worry that it will live up to the series more recent exploits and be, in a word, trash. There’s a sort of desperate hope surrounding the survival space station explorer, a need for just this once, please, let it be fun. In their latest missive below, Creative Assembly explore their plans for sound design and how the movements of the player will effect what they hear.

They’ve certainly got the right ideas when it comes to using the latest technology to instill terror, previously showing off how the AI will similarly effect immersion. Atmosphere and beliveability are the crux of horror games and either can be utterly crushed by one of these being off-base. The sign of some of the best I’ve played is how much I wanted to turn the sound off but knew it was providing vital information, brown trousers time or no. Equally, being out-thought is a quick way to forget I’m playing a video game and most disturbing when unexpected.

Hayden’s thoughts from GDC echo’d some of Brendan’s concerns, though the former seemed less impressed with the scares. Nobody wants a repeat of last time, or even the time before that and a cautious attitude is a healthy one. Every time I get excited about another report of greatness, there’s the niggles – what about this crafting system? How can they keep it going for 10+ hours? Most worrying of all, if it’s that damn good, how the hell am I going to be able to force myself to play it?

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32 Comments »

  1. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    Oh my god, the music… It’s like it’s, yet again, desperately trying to gently lick the jaded fan’s balls, and, having neither proper experience nor tongue (just a straw with a fail-safe extra set of teeth), keeps sting and inflict inevitable pain.

    Seriously, it’s just a bunch of mis-notes and poor music rearrangement. If you are trying to nostalgia-trip the extremely frustrated fans, dear developers/sega, Just copy the bloody original score, god damn it!

    • Maritz says:

      That is a very strange simile.

      I approve!

    • ALJA says:

      so she worked a 45 hour week at a computer. Sounds like everyone’s soul crushing job

  2. Tom Walker says:

    Making (good) AI really unpredictable is a big claim. A lot of things are unpredictable the first time you see them. If a person really can’t second-guess the alien after twenty hours or so with the game, I’ll be hugely impressed.

  3. Premium User Badge PikaBot says:

    Let us pray.

    Please be good please be good please be good please be good please be good please be good please be good please be good.

    Amen.

  4. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    I apologize for comment-spam, but come on: you don’t expect anything good from guys that promote their game by talking about sound-creation and how they have found some original performers for their orchestra music party.
    Instead of, you know, showing us some interesting gameplay, with which your premium-vintage sampled sound/music set is supposed to cooperate.

    Sigh.. I personally love me some great sound design in any game that involves level-exploration, and more power to CA. But please, for God’s sake, don’t try to sell us the idea of your “prerenderd” vegetables-stomping action horror survival, that exists only in your trailers (and the dreams of unsatisfied veggie-killing maniacs) – we have already been through that.
    And also, I don’t want to play Alien: Luciano Pavarotti & Jerry Goldsmith Adventures in Antarctica. Probably.

  5. PopeRatzo says:

    If this isn’t coming out until October, 2014, there is no chance that anyone has played enough of it to have a positive opinion. So I’m not quite sure what Ben means by, “Having just played it themselves.”

  6. Einhaender says:

    Do they need to keep it go for more then 10+ hours?
    One thing I always liked about horrorgames is that they have a concept and vision they follow through instead of trying something fancy to desperately keep the players happy after some hours into the game.

    Good horrogames always gave me the impression of being the most thought through games out there(at least back in the PS2 era). I don’t mind any game being short if it’s decent and is made like that from the start.

  7. Ben Barrett says:

    Guess I should have mentioned it, the devs have said they’re aiming for 10+ during all the initial press.

  8. MykulJaxin says:

    There’s a sort of desperate hope surrounding the survival space station explorer, a need for just this once, please, let it be fun.

    By “The survival space station explorer,” we’re referring to this game and whatever particular demo being shown at the time, right and not all survival space station explorers, right? It could be that I misread it but I saw “DEADSPACE IS FARTS” hidden between the lines here, and my feelings were hurt. Maybe I’m reading too far into it. Someone comfort me?

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Oh I just meant this game and previous alien games. I think Dead Space is brilliant. And I’m talking the series here, even if 3 was a different sort of game.

  9. Chubzdoomer says:

    This is one of the few Alien games I’m sure will do the franchise justice. It already looks and sounds better than Colonial Marines ever hoped of being.

    • Stupoider says:

      Nah, you’re doing it again. Hopes were high for Colonial Marines after the forgettable AvP game some years ago. This is Creative Assembly, Rome 2 was one of the wonkiest releases ever and the A.I. was all over the place.

      Please, please, please, please, please take everything with a pinch of salt.

  10. Zenicetus says:

    Are we going to have to listen to Ripley Jr.’s sharp intakes of breath and hyperventilating, every time something scary happens? I thought the idea was to actually scare the player, not force-feed the fear like that. Do not like. Maybe it can be toggled off in the audio options.

    And I still think it’s a big mistake to show the entire Alien walking around, if there’s only one. That’s going to get old very quickly after the first reveal.

    • P.Funk says:

      I didn’t like how loud his footsteps seemed. At first their bit about the sound seemed pretty good, then I saw how ridiculously conspicuous the Alien’s walking was from an audio standpoint. That kind of makes me think they might have overdone the sound of the Alien to handicap stupid players.

      The biggest issue I have is that if the Alien is so unscripted, how are you going to create meaningful experiences that aren’t totally either nigh unbeatable or accidentally easy? Are some players going to just get screwed by luck and have to dodge the Alien 5 times every 20 minutes while others get through a whole level without hearing it once?

      The more professional their videos look the more skeptical I am, lol. Ultimately I think its a mistake to promise an experience like the movie because the movie is a script, literally scripting events. How do you create a similar experience then claim its unscripted?

      Minecraft is unscripted, walking around at night in minecract is scary, Creepers might kill you, the randomness of Creepers sometimes really screws things up and you have to start from scratch. Works for a sandbox, does it work for a semi-linear FPS game?

      • madeofsquares says:

        I suppose they might employ something like the A.I. director Valve put in Left 4 Dead. If you’re having an easy time the stress ramps up a bit, and after you’ve taken a beating you’ll get a little bit of calm to get it back together.
        Hopefully. I can’t see any other way as, like you said, totally random could easily swing too far either way.

        • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

          Look further – the “A.I. constructor” that creates good games on the fly and tells their investors to f**k off each time they suggest to add a cinematic cutscene with a quick-time event. Or microtransactions.

  11. blacksun_redux says:

    Nope. I’m out. Can’t handle it. Game over man.

  12. ukpanik says:

    Confident developers would have just given us a teaser for this type of game. Instead we are being shown everything, like they are desperate to please and prove they are doing it right.

  13. spaced says:

    Hi Ben. You might want to replace “effect” with “affect”.

  14. SuicideKing says:

    Creative Assembly? The folks responsible for Total War: Rome II? Something about good AI and good sound? Um. Kay.

  15. S Jay says:

    Point to this when someone tries the “games are not art” thing.

  16. waltC says:

    I went to see Alien in the theater during its original release–and even though I had read the “book” based on the movie before I saw the movie, it was by turns horrifying, fascinating, and totally absorbing. I recall that when the alien popped out of Hurt’s chest that my drink and popcorn went flying! What a rush! And I *knew* it was going to happen before it did–and yet it still frightened and shocked me!

    Kudos to these guys for aiming for the same mark. This looks–and sounds–good!

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