It may be a rarity, but some movie licences hold as much prestige with gamers as they do with film buffs, and Aliens vs Predator holds a well-deserved place on that list.
The original PC game is one of the most fondly remembered titles of its time and now the creative minds behind it take up arms again as Aliens, Predators and humans battle once more.
“This is a licence based on some of the most iconic characters in film and a billion dollar franchise,” says product manager Ben Walker.
“The game franchise has a long and rich history – the original PC release, also by Rebellion, is still widely regarded as one of the best multiplayer experiences ever, so we naturally have high expectations for the title to perform well.
“This is our triple-A presidential title for the quarter and our current total of eight front covers is testament to the strength and appeal of the brand.”
Set in the jungles and swamps surrounding the troubled colony of Freya’s Prospect, players have three single-player campaigns to choose from: one for each species. All are played from a first-person perspective but each will have different weaponry and skills.
The human campaign represents the standard FPS with a claustrophobic atmosphere reminiscent of the films. Gamers get to wield high explosives and state-of-the-art weaponry as the marines do all they can to survive the battle between the other two species.
Playing as a predator, the game takes a much more strategic tone, encouraging gamers to stalk and ambush their foes as the dreadlocked creatures usually do.
Playing as an Alien, meanwhile, allows them to unleash the full power of a creature that has been chilling spines since Ridley Scott first brought it to screens.
With the three unique campaigns already setting it apart from the usual FPS fare, the multiplayer also serves as a key selling point, throwing all three factions are thrown into the mix. Players will have to master their chosen species’ strengths in order to best their online opponents and survive.
It’s a feature Walker is particularly proud of, confident that it will be a big hit with gamers.
“There’s a wealth of features which define and position Aliens vs Predator as a triple-A release and stand-out title within the FPS genre,” he says.
“The three-species campaign mode not only delivers a solid single player experience which is great value in its own right but also three very different and distinct styles of gameplay.
“Predator is a very tactical stealth approach, the Alien with its heightened feral senses gives a very ‘alien’ combat experience, whereas the Marine is a classic attritional FPS. These unique species’ characteristics come into their own during multiplayer, which is a real breath of fresh air and an experience beyond that of other FPS releases.”
CLASH OF THE TITANS
As a major release for Sega, Aliens vs Predator will benefit from an extensive marketing campaign designed to appeal to everyone from veteran players of the previous games and loyal fans of the films to complete newcomers that haven’t experienced the franchise.
Over the last twelve months, the publisher has been putting its full weight behind Aliens vs Predator, building it up to ensure that come February it gets the sales and recognition it deserves.
From regular prominent press coverage to ad campaign across a range of media, Sega has covered all bases and the game has received a warm reception as a result.
“Our recent attendance at the Eurogamer Expo was a great barometer and we were delighted at being voted one of the top games at the show,” adds Walker. “We are extremely confident that the title will be well received by retail and consumers.
“Few games deliver such a unique multiplayer experience and value for money campaign mode so we fully expect both movie and gaming fans to be drawn to Alien vs Predator’s qualities.”
Aliens vs Predator will be inescapable as Sega launches a full assault on retail to entice fans and newcomers in the run-up to the game's release.
– There will be a three-week TV campaign with ads appearing across a range of terrestrial and satellite channels, including a dedicated promotional weekend supported by Aliens vs Predator.
– A two-month cinema campaign will see 30-second ads shown before leading blockbuster movies.
– Online ads will target specialist and lifestyle websites, with high impact site takeovers and launch zones arranged for key destinations. This will take a dual-phase approach, first promoting the demo and then the game's release.
– A broad print campaign will see both ads and editorial appear in a range of specialist and lifestyle publications. This has been supported by an intensive 12-month PR campaign, which has secured eight front covers for the game.
– Aliens Vs Predator was showcased at the Eurogamer Expo based around a multiplayer event exclusive to the UK, while both single and multiplayer modes were available to play at the SFX Weekender.