Back in November, after what easily felt like 57 years (in reality, it has only really been four), The Game Awards Host Geoff Keighley tweeted a teaser for one of the many games that was perhaps going to make an appearance at the annual award show. Many hoped it would be the long rumoured Alien: Blackout.
Sadly, it never made an appearance and fans were left wanting.
This week, FoxNext (The X-Files: Deep State, Simpsons: Tapped Out), D3 Go (the Puzzle Quest series) and Rival Games (Thief of Thieves) have finally revealed the next game in the Alien universe. Alien: Blackout will be coming to all the big mobile systems on 24 January.
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Following on from Alien: Isolation, Blackout will continue the story of Amanda Ripley – daughter of the film series’ hero Ellen – as she searches for her missing mother. Now, trapped on a near deserted and battered Weyland space station with a blood-thirsty xenomorph, the search for answers is just as dangerous as it always has been.
FoxtNext promises an immersive experience in Blackout; a survival game to test your skills against one of the most terrifying monsters ever to be created. Using the station’s limited power supply to control surveillance systems and use them to keep yourself as far away as possible form the xenomorph looking to eat you. Decisions will affect your game and bad moves can have long lasting effects. It’s you versus the alien and there’s no guarantee of your survival.
It all sounds great, but questions have to be asked.
When Alien: Isolation hit in 2014, it was a runaway success. It was a full-on horror experience that left the most hardened of Alien fans with some brown stains they didn’t expect. It was a breath of fresh air that left fans wanting more after literal decades of sub-par games based on the franchise and only 18 months removed from the trash fire that was Colonial Marines. So why take four years to make a mobile game?
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A cheeky fiver isn’t a great deal to throw out for a little puzzler, granted. But a six inch screen with a couple of tinny speakers isn’t the way to continue the pant-wetting horror experience that the previous entry supplied. Not to mention that, as is regularly the way with this style of game, all the parts with Amanda Ripley hiding from monsters will likely be in uncontrolled cut scenes. Reading between the lines and looking at the screenshots we’ve seen, Alien: Blackout looks to be more like a Pipes/Pacman hybrid than the action horror experience of Isolation that would have players holding their breath in fear as they played.
Fox have confirmed that their Cold Iron Studios are working on another Alien franchise entry; this time it’s an MMO shooter. Doesn’t this soon-to-be 40-year-old nightmare deserve better? A discussion for another day, perhaps.
Alien: Blackout is available for pre-order on your mobile app store of choice now. And while it’s not the kind of experience that can be replicated on the train to work, or Starbucks before your film starts, it is the Isolation follow-up that those in charge decided we can have. Maybe I’m wrong? If I am, at least my position in the upstairs bathroom as I play gives me prime real estate if I am as scared as I was with Isolation.