There aren’t many production studios that can pull off the terrifying atmosphere captured in the survival horror masterpiece Alien: Isolation. However,Creative Assembly not only achieved this but also managed to pay homage to classic horror sci-fi films and create a title worthy of the franchise. Attributed as the best Alien property after Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and James Cameron’s Aliens (1986), it is one of the best first-person stealth games I’ve enjoyed playing. This is the main reason why fans (myself included) are clamouring for a direct sequel to this fantastic game and hope for an Alien: Isolation 2. But will this great game ever get another instalment? Before we look forward, let’s look back at the original game.
Although not the first ever game based on the Alien film franchise (there was also Aliens: Colonial Marines, Aliens: Armageddon, AVP: Evolution, Aliens: Infestation, Aliens vs. Predator and many others), Alien: Isolation came out in 2014 and was one of the most terrifying first-person perspective stealth Alien video games ever made, giving players a complete survival horror experience.
Originally developed by Creative Assembly and publisher SEGA, the first game is available on many platforms, including PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. It was even ported by Feral Interactive over to the Nintendo Switch in December of 2019, and a mobile version of the game (which had total touchscreen control) was made available in 2021 as well.
The story of the game is set between the events of the first Alien movie — the 1979 Alien movie which birthed the Alien series — and the 1986 Aliens. However, instead of focusing on the life of the protagonist for the two movies, this is Amanda Ripley’s new story, Ellen Ripley’s daughter.
In Alien: Isolation, Amanda is searching for an answer to the mystery of her mother’s missing ship, the Nostromo. We know this to be the commercial ship that is the setting of the first movie.
Amanda Ripley is approached by Samuels, a representative of the Weyland-Yutani corporation, who tells her that the flight recorder for the ship that her mother was on has been located. He, along with another crew member, offers to help her in her journey for answers.
The young Ripley’s search leads her to the decommissioned space station, the Sevastopol Station, which is currently housing the black box of her mother’s ship. During their attempt to get onto Sevastopol Station, their spacewalk is interrupted, and Amanda Ripley’s crew doesn’t make it onto the derelict station with her.
It is here that she hopes to find answers, but little does she know that the Sevastapol is also home to a much larger threat. Amanda quickly realizes that the ship has been overtaken by a deadly xenomorph, an alien apex predator and the perfect hunter. She has to try to sneak around in vents, maintenance tunnels, and transit systems to stay alive while being constantly tormented by the creature that caused the terrifying events on her mother’s ship during the course of the game.
Players play as Amanda Ripley and try to navigate through an increasingly volatile world as they find themselves confronted by all sides by a panicked and desperate population and an unpredictable and ruthless alien xenomorph. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improve solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission but to simply stay alive.
Having to crawl through ventilation ducts without a real gun, surrounded by other scared humans who want to turn on you at any possible moment, Alien: Isolation is a special kind of video game that achieves an atmosphere of constant dread. It turned the maintenance tunnels and transit system into a nightmarish maze that was terrifying to navigate, especially when players realize that they aren’t the only ones who can navigate them throughout the whole game.
When you come into interactive close range with a xenomorph for the first time, it feels like there is nowhere to escape to, simply adding to the claustrophobic, trapped feeling you get when you are forced into crawlspaces, knowing that you might not be alone in there.
With favourable reviews from critics and gamers across the globe, as well as a number of great accolades (including PC Gamer‘s Game of the Year 2014), Alien: Isolation deserves a sequel. And not a mobile spin-off like Alien: Blackout either. We want an Alien: Isolation 2.
According to an interview with AvPGalaxy, one of the game’s lead designers, Greg Napper, says that Creative Assembly seems to be talking about an Alien: Isolation sequel daily and what that might look like. It seemed Napper was hopeful that a sequel might be a continuation of Amanda Ripley and her story.
“The plot for a sequel is a daily topic in the studio sometimes. People have their own ideas for where it should go, our writers have some solid concepts and yes, we do have a great opportunity to continue her [Amanda Ripley’s] story. I personally think that Amanda did not get infected in the hive, as when she wakes, the closest egg remains closed…”
When AvPGalaxy asked Napper whether the company would move closer to action if they had the opportunity to make Alien: Isolation 2, he said that he would prefer to improve on the formula that already exists.
“I think the action-oriented Aliens style game is very different from what Isolation is. If we made a sequel, I would like to stick to the same terrifying single Alien approach but do more with the environment and interactivity within it.”
Although rumours run fire through the internet, there has been no confirmation about a sequel, and Napper seemed to have been talking in hypotheticals.
When speaking to Edge Magazine, Creative Assembly’s studio director Gareth Edmondson and creative director Alistair Hope announced they were working on their next project, a brand-new sci-fi intellectual property, dashing fans’ hopes of a possible Alien: Isolation 2.
“It’s our new IP, and it’s a world that we’re creating, and of course, we’re wringing our hands over it and we want to get that right. We want to understand what authenticity is in a blue ocean, or an open sky looks like when you’ve got a blank page in front of you.”
For now, it seems that an Alien: Isolation 2 is not on the cards for Creative Assembly, but there has been a recent update from Insider Gaming regarding a new Alien: Isolation game that will be different from Creative Assembly’s Alien.
According to Insider Gaming, an anonymous source game to them provides documents, information, and even images that suggest that a new AAA game set in the Alien universe seems to be in development.
This future Alien title, currently under the codename ‘Marathon‘, seems to be either in development with Grasshopper Manufacturer or getting ready to be pitched, and there is a AAA budget that has been put aside for this prospective game. The original information about the game suggested that the developer is gearing up for the game to stick to the survival horror vein and to create a game that is inspired by the likes of Dead Space and Resident Evil, some of the greatest horror franchises in video game history.
Regardless of whether this rumoured title is going to be an Alien: Isolation sequel, a completely new title, a mobile game, or the next best thing in the survival horror genre, only time will tell, and we will have to wait for an official announcement. Last year, it was mentioned that a tentatively planned holiday release date in 2023 was being hoped for, but it would be cooler if the next AAA Alien game was released in 2024, a decade after the last. Although we would love to believe all of the rumours, don’t forget to take them with a hefty pinch of salt because no one can know for sure until official information is shared.
What Alien: Isolation 2 Could Look Like in Unreal Engine 5
On the 23rd of July, 2022, ENFANT TERRIBLE shared a fan concept trailer on YouTube showcasing what Alien: Isolation 2 could look like rendered in Unreal Engine 5. With beautifully rendered models of Ellen Ripley, the Xenomorph, hatching eggs and even a terrifying look at a queen, a threat that players have never had to face outside of the 1986 version of Aliens or Alien vs Predator, the trailer had everything needed for a great sequel game.
The trailer starts with a stunning view of a walkway between architecture from an ancient civilization with monolithic statues in the likeness of the Xenomorphs. What follows are sequences with alien-looking machinery that could have been designed by H.R. Giger himself, with its merge between biological and mechanical. The imagery is very reminiscent of Scorn, the Giger-esque game that is coming out in October, with its fleshy halls and buildings.
The imagery of the trailer then cuts to the typical retro-futuristic space station that we see throughout the Alien franchise, smeared with messages in blood and warnings for survivors that the Xenomorph was running free on the station or ship.
The eggs that are featured can be seen splitting open, revealing the still-hatching face-hugger inside, and any Alien fan will know what follows and how the Xenomorph infestation tends to begin.
The Alien: Isolation 2 concept trailer then pans to a terrifying Xenomorph queen, much like the one encountered in Alien vs Predator (2004), who had been trapped beneath the ice for over five thousand years.
And yes, although it was just a fan concept trailer and not real, we can’t help but wish that it was. The game looks beautiful, and the art direction is on point.
Unfortunately, the original video has since been removed; however, there are others, such as this concept trailer demo, that provide a great idea of what it looks like.
In response to the rumours that there may be a second Alien game in the works and just the hope that they will get to see a sequel, fans on the internet and social platforms have been sharing what they would like to see in the following Alien video games.
The consensus is that fans don’t want too much about the game to change in the transition from the first to the second game. In this respect, they agree with Napper that the formula is working, and don’t want it to be tampered with too much.
Some fans did say that they would appreciate branching storylines, for a little bit of variety, and for the choices of the players to have an effect on the world around them, and for there to be consequences. It doesn’t have to be the level of consequence like in Until Dawn, but players would love to feel like their actions and choices matter in Alien: Isolation 2.
While Alien: Isolation is a game that instils players with a sense of mortal danger (one of the scariest I have ever played), some fans wanted to be able to experience this fear in virtual reality. Others argued that the game was so terrifying that it might result in heart attacks if the sequel were to be made available in VR. Still, it is an awesome idea.
Another fan also suggested a new location for the second game, the setting of Hadley’s Hope, the human terraforming, research and mining colony that was established by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation on a moon. As the first game is set between the events of Sir Ridley Scott’s first movie and James Cameron’s sequel, sharing a setting with the sequel isn’t a terrible idea.
That same fan further explained that it would be awesome to have a much more long-winded game than that of the first and that it would be interesting to watch the Xenomorphs taking over the moon and the colony over the span of a couple of weeks. Watching untrained colonists being picked off one by one, watching their attempts to keep the infestation at bay, and their loss of contact with the outside world would be terrifying.
What if the protagonist of Alien: Isolation 2 were to be a child? Not only would they not know how to deal with the alien threat, but they would be completely powerless. The best horror games are those where players are powerless against their enemies (take Amnesia: The Dark Descent, for example) and who could be more powerless than a child?
One suggestion was that the setting in Alien: Isolation 2 be similar to that of the Sevastopol Space Station, but that players could get a choice of their protagonists, all with different skills or tool proficiencies. With the goal of either eradicating the threat or escaping, players could find whichever playstyle works best for them based on the skills of their chosen protagonist.
Many fans agreed with the suggestion of a co-op multiplayer survival game like Phasmophobia or Dead By Daylight where players have to work together to get out alive. If it were possible to play with in-game communications like Phasmophobia, imagine how fun it would be trying not to make too much noise to attract the approaching Xenomorph to you and your friends. Even if the host is the main character and their friends are able to join them as generic crew members, being able to make their way through the fear-inducing levels of a crippled Weyland-Yutani space station together would be terrifying and a ton of fun.
We get some semblance of this with Cold Iron Studios’ Aliens Fireteam Elite, which definitely scratches an itch when it comes to an Alien game. AFE is less of a survival horror title than a third-person shooter set in the Alien universe, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t give players the Alien: Isolation feel that we so desperately want to experience anew.
Another more recent survival game that can give you spine-chilling thrills is the upcoming Tindalos Interactive game Aliens: Dark Descent. The squad-based single-player action game pits your crew against aliens, killer androids, face huggers and all the threats that you can usually expect, including the int at a queen. The release window for the game was set for June of 2023, and while the game was released, it is constantly being patched to improve players’ experiences. All that being said, this game is nothing like the first Alien Isolation game and is often compared to something more like Mass Effect or even X-COM.
What We Want To See In Alien: Isolation 2
As fans of the game ourselves, we have a few concepts that we would also love to see in a new Alien game, starting with better movement for both the player and the alien. It was frustrating not being able to vault low objects in my way, a simple thing but one that could pull a player out of the immersion. That being said, the alien’s movement could also be improved. I want to see it climbing the walls, running along ceilings, and leaping over objects as it could in the movies. It would ramp up the paranoia factor if the alien was able to ambush players in more ways.
Personally, I agree that a new location for the second game would be awesome, and there are plenty to choose from within the Alien lore. As the fan mentioned previously about the lost human colony, there is also another location that could be interesting to explore. Alien 3 saw a fully conceptualized planet, Arceon, created, which was occupied by technophobic monks. With the possibility of beautiful environments like orchards, upside-down cathedrals and glass factories, there are a ton of options for the setting of a new game that doesn’t have to confine itself to a space station once again.
One of the most epic and iconic moments in the Alien franchise was when Ellen Ripley climbed in a Power Loader to take on the Queen Xenomorph on the deserted moon in Aliens. Now, it doesn’t have to be a Power Loader, and it certainly doesn’t have to be a Queen (as a Xenomorph is terrifying enough on its own), but it would be an epic story moment if players could get into a machine or a suit and have a close-quarters battle with an alien.
Alien: Isolation, one of the best Alien games, had a pretty unique dynamic when it came to other survivors. Instead of trying to work together to fight against the threat, everyone was just out to defend themselves. It almost seemed like all the NPCs in the game were there just to be picked off by the Xenomorph so that the players would have something to be afraid of. Either that or they would turn on you the second they saw you, and you had to worry about the threat of the people around you as well as the Xenomorph, and there is very little positive human interaction. Although this tied into the feeling of isolation in the game, it would be nice if this aspect of the game were to be left in the first game and not carried over to Alien: Isolation 2. It would be nice to be able to work with other survivors, even if it means some players shed a tear or two when we lose those survivors to the inevitable threat.
The Aliens franchise was started in 1979, and without any definitive idea of what futuristic technology would look like, they created their own. The style became iconic, with red and green lights, computers with buttons and knobs that might just be there for show, and what came to be known as the retro-futuristic style. Unfortunately, it was completely non-interactive, and players never got to enjoy any of it. This is another thing we would love to see dropped and for the computers and buttons to at least have some kind of impact, even if it’s insignificant.
Although nothing can be concluded without an official statement from SEGA or Creative Assembly, it’s clear that the demand for another game is there. Whether or not they take the bait and give fans what they want, the Aliens franchise has survived over four decades and doesn’t seem to be slowing down in the slightest. If they were to make Alien: Isolation 2 in the same vein as their first, fans would be snatching it off shelves and exhausting digital retailers trying to get their hands on it.
Forget Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Alien: Dark Descent, Alien: Offworld Colony Simulator, and the rest; we want Alien: Isolation 2. And now that Disney has purchased 20th Century Studios, we’d love to see a live-action movie adaptation of Alien: Isolation.