gdc 2015

Creative Assembly Prototyped Alien Isolation In Third-Person

by Tim Turi on Mar 04, 2015 at 11:31 AM

Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation received praise (read our review) for creating a terrifying experience that feels authentic to the universe established in Ridley Scott's groundbreaking film, some of which is owed to the terrifyingly intimate first-person perspective. During a panel entitled Building Fear in Alien: Isolation at the Game Developers Conference today, creative director Alistair Hope revealed footage of a third-person prototype.

The development team conceptualized the game as a first-person horror title from the beginning, but worried that the public might not immediately recognize it as a survival horror title due to the perspective. Popular genre titles like Silent Hill and Haunting Ground featured third-person camera views, so Creative Assembly prototyped a version of the game in that perspective as a test.  

Hope ran footage of the scrapped perspective during the panel, which features a player-controlled woman sneaking through the dark, metallic interior of a spaceship or colony. She evades the stalking xenomorph by hugging close to counters and furniture in the environment while panning the third-person camera to keep an eye on the stalking alien. The alternate perspective appears to make keeping an eye on the murderous extraterrestrial easier.

The player character can slink through narrow vents just as in the finished game, holding out her motion tracker device in front of her while the camera zooms in close. The demo climactically ends with the woman being rushed by the alien when exiting a vent before cutting off.

While Hope liked the look of this abandoned prototype, he says he disliked the layer of detachment that seeing the player character adds. He specifically mentioned he doesn't like having the player look at a character looking at the motion tracker. He'd rather let players do it themselves.

"The difference between first and third [person] was extraordinary. The third person felt like an Alien game, which is cool. But the first person felt like Alien."

To see the footage in motion, Destructoid recorded the demo. Be warned, it's incredibly dark and difficult to make out.