The Ripleys are one of the most unluckiest families in history. Ellen Ripley had to fight the xenomorphs not once, not twice, but four times in the Alien films. In publisher Sega’s Alien: Isolation, that responsibility falls on her daughter, Amanda Ripley.
Messing with science fiction royalty is risky, but developer The Creative Assembly sounds like it’s up to the task. At a recent press event for the survival-horror game (coming out Oct. 7 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One), GamesBeat spoke with writer Will Porter to find out why the studio decided to cast Amanda in the lead and not a brand new character.
“I think it was primarily because … Al Hope, who’s one of the creative directors here … they knew that they wanted to do a game based on the feeling and the essence of the original movie,” said Porter. “And they knew they wanted to do it in the artistic way we’ve done it in: The lo-fi sci-fi. … The thought was, ‘Who’d be most interested in the disappearance of the Nostromo?’ Amanda was just sitting there, ready and waiting in so many ways, to become the star of our game. … The longer we worked on it, the more we realized what a fascinating, fantastic character she is.”
Amanda is very much a part of that lo-fi aesthetic: You can see her “old style” sneakers if you point the camera to the floor, or catch a glimpse of her antique watch when she climbs up ladders. But it was hard to get a sense of what kind of person she was from just playing Sega’s new demo. She had a few short conversations with the members of her crew via radio, but those were mostly about her objectives.
According to Porter, she has a lot of her mother’s traits.
“She’s a Ripley. She’s very no-nonsense. She doesn’t take much crap,” he said. “She doesn’t allow other people to do stuff for her; she’s very go-getting. She will take control of situations and she’s very resourceful. Not only do we show that through the plot and the voice acting — we’re very happy with the actress we’ve got doing her — but it’s also through a lot of how the game works: the crafting, the way the player can play with the A.I. systems around her, adapting to situations that give her that extra chance of survival.”
Speaking of survival, Amanda might just make it out of Alien: Isolation alive if a certain character from Aliens (which took place 57 years after the first movie) is telling the truth. In a deleted scene (embedded below), Weyland-Yutani employee Carter Burke tells Ellen that the company was able to find her daughter, but she had already passed away by the time Ellen woke up from stasis. The Creative Assembly is obviously aware of that scene, but Porter seems to imply that the real circumstances surrounding Amanda’s death is still up in the air.
“The basic thinking is … we’re operating on our own little section of the universe,” he said. “But at the same time … both Weyland-Yutani and Burke are unsympathetic characters with other motivations. We are bringing that [scene] slightly into question. But we are just focusing on that little bit of time that we’re dealing with.”
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