PSLS Presents – Tim Jones, Rebellion Games

Aliens vs Predator is set to be one of next year’s hottest games for the PlayStation 3, arriving on the 19th of January, the game will focus on the classic battle between the two species, as well as the unfortunate Marines. To discuss the title, PlayStation LifeStyle talked to Rebellion, the developers of the game, as well as the original AvP game, about the title, the multiplayer, plans for DLC, and  much, much more.

Rebellion-Games-LogoPlayStation LifeStyle: Who are you, and what is your position at Rebellion?

My name is Tim Jones and I am Head of Art and Design at Rebellion.

PSLS: In multiplayer how did you manage to balance the different combat and fighting styles of the 3 species, Aliens, Predators and Marines?

Balancing for this game is vital, especially when you’re working with three species that control in such completely different ways and provide their own unique gameplay experience. How do you balance an Alien (who has no guns, but deadly melee attacks), against a Marine (who has heavy firepower, but is otherwise vulnerable), against a Predator (stealthy and agile but has no rapid-fire weapons)?  The answer is to make the most of each character’s strengths and weaknesses, and play them off against each other.

We are spending a lot of time to ensure that we get the balance right in both our single and multiplayer gameplay and the results are working out really well. We’re constantly playing the multiplayer in the studio and having a helluva lot of fun.

PSLS: How many game modes are in the multiplayer?

So far we’ve announced four modes; Deathmatch, Infestation, Predator Hunt and Survivor modes. We have further modes which we’ll be announcing closer to our February 2010 release date.

Infestation sees one player starting as an Alien and the rest as Marines, the Alien then attacks the Marines, and each Marine it kills respawns as an Alien so eventually it’s a battle to be the last Marine standing. In Predator Hunt, one player starts as a Predator and the rest are Marines, if a Marine kills the Predator he then becomes the Predator, and it’s a competition to see who can get as many possibly kills as the Predator. Survivor mode is a 4-player coop mode where 4 players play as Marines and try to fend off an onslaught of Aliens as they move from point to point in the environment.

PSLS: How much control do you have over what are existing intellectual properties?

We’ve actually had a lot of control. We work very closely with Fox who hold the licenses for Aliens and Predator and they have very much allowed us to create the story and game that we want to make. Our game story is a brand new story to the Aliens and Predator universes and Fox have even permitted us to include some new enemies and new weapons which should be really cool for fans of the movies, comic books and games.

PSLS: What inspiration did you rely upon most, the movies, the comics or your own creative insights?

We’ve definitely been inspired by the comic books and the movies, particularly Alien, Aliens and Predator. There’s masses of existing content for the Aliens and Predator universes out there and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in all of its detail. We’re all big fans of everything Aliens and Predator in the studio so we’ve had lots of new ideas of our own that we’ve added to the game too, plus we also made the 1999 original AVP game, so we’ve got experience from that project to take into the new AVP game.

PSLS: How much has the game changed since the 1999 original, and what features have you kept unchanged?

There are lots of changes – ten years in gaming technology makes a huge difference. For Rebellion it’s been about making the game we’ve always wanted to make, and now have the hardware to do so. Given the original AvP is still so fondly remembered, it’s giving everyone on our team a buzz to see that classic experience brought up to date not just for fans of the game and film franchises but a whole new audience as well.

PSLS: Who do you think would win in a fight, an Alien, Predator or Marine?

That’s a tough one to answer. Each of the three species has their strengths and weaknesses, and each is as just as capable of making a fatal mistake. The Predator does have some pretty awesome technology on his side such as his ability to cloak, but the Marine has a barrage of lethal firepower and the Alien can hang off the environment and drop down onto his prey in a flash. I don’t think you could ever definitively say that any of the three species would definitely win a fight against the others.

PSLS: There have been seventeen games released based on the Alien franchise, five based on the Predator franchise, and thirteen based on the Alien vs. Predator crossover, as well as the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines game from SEGA. Do you worry the franchises will become oversaturated?

No, we don’t worry at all. Our focus is purely on making sure that we make the best game that we possibly can. The Aliens and Predator franchises are massive and I think they’ll have fans for many years to come, and hopefully we can see even more games and movies in the future – the recently announced Alien prequel movie to be directed by Ridley Scott is very exciting!

PSLS: Are there any plans for DLC for the game?

I can confirm that we do have plans for DLC but as you’ve probably guessed, I can’t confirm exactly what those plans are yet….

PlayStation LifeStyle would like to thank Tim Jones, Rebellion and SEGA for taking the time to have this interview. Stay tuned to PSLS for more interviews and PlayStation news.