For those that don’t know, the new Aliens vs Predator video game hit store shelves last month. Developed at Rebellion by the team responsible for the original 1999 classic, the all-new Aliens vs. Predator lets players take the role of the three infamous species; the Colonial Marine, the Predator and the Alien. Each of the three species has its very own distinct story-driven single-player campaign mode that interweaves with the campaigns of the other two species. Aliens vs. Predator also features unique 3-way online multiplayer, allowing gamers to pit the three species against each other in the ultimate battle for survival and for the right to be crowned the deadliest species.
We got a chance to have some of our questions answered by Tim Jones, the Project Lead over the latest installment to the three-species war that has become one of our favorite sci-fi universes to visit.
First off, I have to say that I'm a huge fan of the 1999 version of Aliens vs Predator. I couldn't have been more excited when I heard that there was not only going to be a new title, but that Rebellion, the team behind the version I loved so much, was going to helming the project.
Q: With the success of the first game, why return to the title over 10 years later?
A: It feels to us very much like Aliens vs Predator has come home. There’s a huge attachment in the studio both to the game franchise and the original films. We were very keen to step back into this universe, and add to it once again.
Q: As a fan of the games, as well as the different movie franchises, I was happy to hear that Lance Henriksen would be involved. Was it hard to get him onboard with the project, and what part does he play in the game?
A: Lance seems to love being in this universe just as much as we do. He plays Karl Bishop Weyland, a character that ties together the parts he played in Aliens, Alien 3 and AvP in ways we can’t go into without spoiling the plot of the game. It’s fair to say Lance liked the character, and the script we created for him, so he was very enthusiastic during the recording session.
Q: Aside from the respective movie properties, were there other films, games, or comics that inspired you while working on Aliens vs Predator?
A: We take inspiration from all the recent videogame classics, and from the Aliens vs Predator expanded universe. As for movies, we had more than enough to draw on given our roots in some of the most iconic movies ever made.
Q: What was the biggest challenge developing a game that would not only be available on PC, but also the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, which didn't exist back in 1999?
A: It’s a different and bigger marketplace out there. Games take longer to make and require bigger teams. Developing on multiple platforms means optimizing multiple times. It’s a question of size, in many ways, but there’s so much more we can do with the technology.
Q: What would you say are the key differences between the PC version and the console versions of the game? Does it come down to better graphics, or is there more to it than that?
A: Certainly high end PCs allow higher resolutions than console platforms. And there’s the higher likelihood of mouse control. Other than, we’ve tried to make it the same game for each platform, but at the same time optimized to each platform’s strengths.
Q: Without getting anyone angry, of the three platforms, is there one that you prefer?
A: We love them equally. Like a family of three children among whom there are no favourites.
Q: I'm currently running through the single-player campaign for the Marines, and was surprised when much of the action moved outdoors. Is there a specific reason that you stepped away from the claustrophobic interior environments?
A: The early levels certainly hark directly back to Alien and Aliens, movies based around dark, claustrophobic, metallic interiors. But we wanted to reference Predator, too, which takes place largely in jungle exteriors. We hope you enjoyed the progression, and variety.
Q: One of the biggest complaints I've heard from gamers is that the Predator is overpowered, are there any plans to modify balancing for multiplayer?
A: If anything, we’ve observed the Alien dominating early MP matches. However, we’ve responded to feedback from the community and are continuing to tweak the balancing with ongoing patches.
Q: Of the three species, Aliens, Predators, and Marines, which single-player campaign do you like the most? Which do you like for online play?
A: Our preferences vary around the team. Personally, I like how the Marine campaign has recaptured the tension and horror of Aliens – a movie that scared the pants off me when I first saw it. And when it comes to multiplayer I enjoy the versatility and nimbleness of the Alien. But that’s the great thing about our game. The choice is there. Enjoy one, or all.
Q: With the 1999 version of the game there were several unlockable bonus levels, jet packs for marines, and game modes ("supergore mode", "John Woo mode", etc). Do we have some cool bonus levels and items to look forward to with the new version of the game?
A: I think three species, three single player campaigns, and seven multiplayer modes over eight maps is a pretty good package to include on one disc. But DLC is inbound!
Q: Last, but not least, does Rebellion have anything planned for DLC (Downloadable Content), expansions, or maybe even a sequel?
A: The first DLC pack is out very soon. In terms of a sequel, who knows what the future may bring!