Aliens Vs. Predator Preview

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Aliens vs. Predator Publisher: Sega
Developer: Rebellion


Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Official Site: sega.com

A remote human colony has once again infringed on an alien battleground. By settling on a distant world with a Predator pyramid containing xenomorph eggs, the human colonists triggered an horrific xenomorph slaughter and alerted the alien hunters known as Predators. A call for help from the colony has summoned the Marines, once again bringing all three species into bloody conflict. But the blood from this battle can eat its way through steel plates.

Projected Release: Early 2010
Kyle Ackerman


Developer Rebellion has been with the Aliens franchise for a long time. Self-confessed hardcore fans of the films, Rebellion released Alien Vs. Predator for the Atari Jaguar in 1995 and Aliens Vs. Predator for the PC in 1999. More than 10 years later, Rebellion (with Sega's help) will bring an all-new three-sided battle to the PC and consoles.

The game will feature three single-player campaigns, one each for the xenomorphic aliens, Predators and the Marines. The campaigns can be completed in any order, but will all present different aspects of an interrelated plot. There will also be three-way multiplayer battles in which all three species can battle against one another. Paul Mackman (the producer) and Tim Jones (the project lead) were showing off the Colonial Marine portion of the game at E3, with an excerpt of the Predator portion.

Frankly, Mackman and Jones were extremely good about not giving anything away or deviating from the script. They wouldn't comment on the multiplayer game and most of their commentary boiled down to a single statement: that we are "updating the classic hardcore game for a broader audience without disappointing hardcore players." Genericisms aside, what I saw of the game looked spectacular and promises to capture the feeling of horror from the films and the edge-of-the-mouse tension of past AvP games.

An Armed Human, Very Alone on a Distant World


Aliens Vs. Predator does amazing things with light and shadow. The excerpts of the Marine campaign I saw had Marines entering wrecked colony buildings. Acid burn holes were everywhere, with broken equipment and failing lights hanging loosely from the walls and ceiling. From the opening moments of the demo level, it was clear that aliens could be anywhere. And they were.

The best part of the demo was seeing the developer die – I mean that in a good way. The aliens approach their attack differently, sneaking out of the ceiling and walls with different approaches. The developers said that they died around one out of every three times they attempted the demo. That kind of unpredictability leads to more dynamic play and replayability that purely scripted moments just can't achieve. And when the aliens came streaming en masse down the ceiling and walls of a partially obstructed corridor, I instinctively tightened my hands on the controller I wasn't even holding.

The lighting, even more than the xenomorphs, was the star of the Marine demo. The lights continued to fail, as did an automatic turret, turning equipment repair into a task as important as firing a pulse rifle. The marines now have flares to create light from darkness, and it was truly intimidating to see a pair of aliens illuminated by the flare's red glow in a space that previously seemed safe. It's even scarier when that red glow illuminates a fellow marine being yanked through a hole in the ceiling by a xenomorph.

Ageless Alien Combatants


The brief Predator sequences I saw were true to form, with the Predator being the ultimate hunter, in levels as much about sport as survival. Equipped with vicious weaponry, the Predator's temptation is still to approach and seize trophies by creating corpses close-up.

The alien campaign, too (which I saw nothing of) will once again allow players to take on the role of the xenomorphs, running along all surfaces and leaping to disembowel enemies. I can say that as a marine, shooting an alien creates a shower of acid blood, that drips down and corrodes the marine's facial plate, obstructing the screen.

Already, Aliens Vs. Predator looks to be an exciting opportunity to once again experience the bloody three-way battle between species. I anticipate tensely watching my motion sensor for the ping of moving aliens, in 2010.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on June 7, 2009 2:34 PM.

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