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AI in Games revisits Alien: Isolation

by: Sean Colleli -
More On: Alien: Isolation

There are few games in recent memory that rely so heavily on the artificial intelligence of their enemy characters as much as Alien: Isolation does. I would argue that the game's claustrophobic atmosphere is half of what makes it work, while the other half is the adaptive intellect of the Alien as it toys with you. YouTube channel AI in Games has made the game a feature multiple times, and with some new insider info he's revisiting the bone-chilling horror classic.

In this video he explores new insights into how the Alien hunts, learns and stalks you through the ruins of Sevastopol station. The game's original developer, Creative Assembly, have released an open source version of their CAGE AI engine, which lets AI in Games peel back the various layers and interlocking system of not just the Alien, but the game's human enemies and the implacable Working Joe androids.

The complexity here is fascinating, as the Alien does indeed have a full suite of senses for tracking down the player, and even moods that dictate its behavior against things like the flamethrower, but it never cheats; the engine has several checks in place that the Alien must pass before it can "earn" its kill. This all makes for a truly terrifying, but not impossible, game of cat and mouse for the player; challenging and hair-raising to be sure, but eminently satisfying when you outwit the Perfect Organism.

As you might have heard, I loved Alien: Isolation (GN score 9.0 on PC and Switch) and I think it's criminal that we still haven't gotten a real sequel that leverages and expands on its masterful enemy AI.