A few months ago, when I was thinking to myself, “Hey, when are they going to make another game for the movie franchise Aliens?” I found the website http://www2.sega.com/aliens/. For those who haven’t been keeping up with current events, so to speak, a new Aliens: Colonial Marines game was set for late 2009 which was to be a story-based FPS with multiplayer and co-op. Instead of beeping rapidly, however, gamers’ motion detectors have since all but silenced as details have been fleeting and the title has been pushed back farther and farther.
Instead we have the joy to hear that a new Alien vs. Predator game is coming out (although I prefer to write “Alien v. Predator” like it’s a court case) and though some of you out there might be pumped at the premise, I am far from it. Now, it’s been a long time since Aliens got a good game treatment on its own, and frankly, it deserves one. One without predators. Between games like this and the recent pair of movies, I’m tired with what was already a patched-together premise in the first place. With new graphic cards and gaming physics, a real, hardcore Aliens experience for platform and PC could really rejuvenate the franchise before Ridley Scott even gets his hands on a prequel.
Now, my preferred game would be some sort of re-run through of the movie Aliens tape-for-tape, but this might not appeal to… well, people of logic. For example, see my chart:
The vertical axis represents % of awesome and the horizontal axis is a timeline of the movie, 0-30 being the first 30 minutes where Ripley comes to, 30-60 being the initial survey of the planet, 60-90 being massacre and fallout, 90-120 being the last stand, and 120-137 chronicling Ripley’s decent into hell. Now, as you can see, the movie is exceptionally action-packed, but not evenly spread across. Unlike modern action movies, Aliens had a thing called pacing. A video game recreation, however, would involve almost 40% of the game being walking and talking, with the only action being trying to shoot Newt and operating a power-loader. Both are fun, but let’s face it, Aliens is a crescendo and can’t really work straight through unless it features some sort of lame pin-finger mini-game or power-loader Tetris. So what does all this mean? It means a new story and multiplayer setup is A-OK, as long as you get to cap Paul Reiser at some point.
A-OK is A-OK, but you know what would be great? Great. And all I can think is what if they had designed an Alien game that formatted along the lines of Left 4 Dead? If I remember the old toy line correctly – and I do – there ended up being different types of aliens, such as the Bull Alien, Gorilla Alien, and Rhino Alien. These could match smokers, hunters and boomers, the Queen being the tank, naturally. The horde would obviously be masses of aliens coming out of the fucking walls. Best of all? Instead of random civilians trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, you would be Ripley, Hicks, Hudson, and Vasquez kicking serious ass into the heart of the nest. Maybe Drake and his face full of acid can make a surprise cameo. They would even match visible minorities 1-for-1 to Left 4 Dead. Not to be? C’est la vie, but alas, a man can dream.
Regardless, I think Sega will have a hit on their hands eventually, because fans of the series like me haven’t been forgetting, we’ve been waiting: eager for a new game since Alien 3 for the Super Nintendo, cautious that the game might end up being as piss-annoying as Alien 3 for the Super Nintendo, and hoping for a chestburster-of-an-epiphany to burst from some company exec’s creative vision and into our consoles. Time has been good to the capabilities of an FPS with a solid atmosphere and back-story, however it would truly be a shame if it turned into a rush-job. I will take a deep breath, have patience, and wish SEGA good luck and Godspeed on hatching Aliens: Colonial Marines.
As for duct taping three guns together… I leave game designers with a very dignified: “OH, SNAP!”
I’m off to play power-loader Tetris.