Recently I got to speak to Tim Jones, Head of Art and Design at Rebellion about the new Alien Vs Predator game which is highly anticipated by fans the world over. I want to thank Tim and Denny at Sega for the interview.
GVK: What is the background and setting for the game and how close does it follow the events of the last AVP game?
TJ: The game takes place on planet BG-386 where a colonist mining group discovers buried ancient ruins containing a dark and horrible secret, a vicious and deadly alien race. The Marines are dispatched to the planet when contact is lost with the colonists, whilst across the stars a race of Predator warriors is alerted to the discovery of their sacred site, and a hunting party is sent to ensure that the secrets held within remain hidden at all costs. It is a completely new story to the Aliens and Predator franchises and does not follow on from either of the two previous AVP games.
GVK: What are some of the locales gamers will see in the game and how much will they differ between the campaigns?
TJ: Gamers can expect to see lots of environments that are familiar to fans of the movies so from abandoned space colonies to jungles. In each of three campaigns you’ll visit the same locales as the stories of the three campaigns intersect with each other. However as each of the three species you’ll be able to explore different parts of the locales, so for example, as a Marine you’d be walking through a jungle scanning for Aliens and Predators in the trees, whereas as the Predator you could be watching those very same Marines from the trees and stalking them.
GVK: What are some of the weapons that will be available to each race and which are your favorites?
TJ: Fans can expect to see all the favourites from the movies, so the Marine’s pulse rifle and shotgun, the Predator’s wrist blades and shoulder cannon, the Aliens teeth and jaws, to name but a few. We’ll also have brand new weaponry in the game that’s never been seen before in anything Aliens or Predator so that’s very exciting.
GVK: How will the campaigns be connected and in what order will players have to play, I.e. Marine, Alien, Predator?
TJ: Each species has its own separate story driven campaign and right from booting up the game for the first time, the player can choose to play any of the three campaigns. Each campaign has its own story that interweaves with the stories of the other two species’ campaigns so there will be crossover in the narrative between the three.
The three campaigns do also intersect with each other so to know the whole story of the game you’ll have to play through all three single player campaigns.
GVK: What are some of the biggest obstacles you faced in creating the game and the biggest successes?
TJ: I would say our biggest obstacle was balancing the multiplayer so that the three species can fight on an even footing. We’ve spent a lot of time in the studio working through the multiplayer to do this, and the results have been very positive so I’d say that’s our biggest success. We’ve recently had lots of journalists playing the multiplayer and the feedback has been very good so that’s very promising. We’ve still got time for a little more work so it should be perfect come release.
GVK: What are some of the enemies players will face, and what characters will players be able to play?
TJ: Gamers can play as each of the three species in the single player and multiplayer campaign as expected. In terms of enemies we’ll actually have some brand new enemies that haven’t ever been seen before in the Aliens and Predator universes.
GVK: What forms of multiplayer does the game include?
TJ: Yes, we do have multiplayer in the game and players will be able to pitch the three species against each other in a series of modes. We’ve announced three modes to date which are as follows: Deathmatch, Infestation and Predator Hunt.
Deathmatch is pretty self-explanatory but in our game we’ll also have team deathmatch modes where teams comprised of all three species will be able to face off against each other. Infestation sees one player starting as an Alien and the rest as Marines, the Alien then attacks the Marines, and each Marine it kills respawns as an Alien so eventually it’s a battle to be the last Marine standing. In Predator Hunt, one player starts as a Predator and the rest are Marines, if a Marine kills the Predator he then becomes the Predator, and it’s a competition to see who can get as many possibly kills as the Predator. Also while you’re the Predator you have to kill a Marine within a set amount of time – if you do so, your time as the Predator is extended, if you don’t, you respawn as a Marine and somebody else is picked to be the Predator.
We have several more modes which we’ll be announcing closer to release.
GVK: Will boss battles be a part of the game?
TJ: I’m afraid you’ll just have to play the game and see for yourself.
GVK: What are some of the features the game offers that are new to the genre?
TJ: I’d say the multiplayer is very much new to the genre. You have lots of humans vs. humans or human vs. aliens multiplayer out there but whether you’re playing as a human or an alien, the controls and environment navigation are basically the same. With our game you’ve got the Predator who can leap from tree to tree, and an Alien who can stick to any surface, crawling through vents or along the roof above his prey. Throw into that the Marine who controls like your typical FPS character, and you’ve got quite a mix of potential play styles which adds to a really dynamic multiplayer experience.
GVK: Blending action with a detailed plot can always be tricky. How have you attempted to create this element?
TJ: It’s been relatively easy as we worked on the first AVP game back in 1999 so we have a history with the franchise. Plus we’re working from such rich source material with a huge library of films and comic books in the Aliens and Predator franchise. And we’re also massive fans of everything Aliens and Predator in the studio which definitely helps. Add all this together and you’ve got plenty of research and enthusiasm for a great story. Our biggest problem is that there’s been so much we want to put in there, not a case of having too little.
GVK: Roughly how long is the game?
TJ: The single player should take around 10-15 hours, and then you’ve got the 3-species multiplayer which adds a whole lot more gameplay!
GVK: The Alien and Predator films have always had a unique style and look, have you have incorporated that into the game as well as attempted to capture the sense of mystery about the creatures that is central to the game?
TJ: Our goal from day one on this project was to create an authentic Aliens and Predator experience in the game that’s true to the source material, be it the movies or the comic books. It’s been very important to us to get this exactly right so we’re hoping that fans of Aliens and Predator will notice the effort that’s been put in to the game to make it as close to the source material as possible.