Summer Game Fest 2022 started off strong with quite a few world premieres that included an announcement for the upcoming sci-fi action game Aliens: Dark Descent. While the announcement trailer provided a taste of what’s to come, it also raised quite a few currently unanswered questions.
In the game’s reveal video, audiences get to see Xenomorphs wreaking havoc on an ill-prepared squad of soldiers. However, right before the aliens make their grand entrance, the trailer teases what appears to be a new threat. These unidentified creatures appear to be bald, pale humans (or, at the very least, humanoids) augmented with mechanical parts and tubes. These hostiles also sport blue vials plugged into their spines and blue, glowing light in their chests (sort of like an evil version of Iron Man’s arc reactor). Most important of all, the Xenomorphs in the trailer completely ignore them. That’s highly unusual and raises the question of just what the heck those new creatures actually are.
The game’s official website sheds some light on the monsters’ identities, but not much. The site promises plenty of classic Xenomorph threats, including Facehuggers, Alien Queens, and Praetorians, but also non-alien enemies such as “rogue human commandos” and “a brand-new threat.” That means that the trailer’s unidentified creatures are either the commandos or the “new threat,” which sadly doesn’t explain as much as we’d like. That means it’s time to do a little theorizing.
The biggest hint the trailer provides is the actions of the Xenomorphs themselves. Those creatures waste no time hunting the soldiers but completely ignore the mysterious new monsters. According to series lore, Xenomorphs hunt by tracking pheromones. So, if something doesn’t release pheromones, it is all but invisible to the aliens. This implies that the mysterious creatures in the trailer might not be creatures at all but are actually androids. Robots in Alien media are usually ignored by Xenomorphs since they don’t have any pheromones.
This explains why they aren’t in any danger in the trailer, but not their appearances. Audiences who have primarily stuck to the Alien movies might be confused about how the trailer’s creatures could be robots since all the androids in the films have looked indistinguishable from humans. Well, that’s because those androids were just one brand of Weyland-Yutani androids. The company also produces several lines of decidedly not-quite-human robots. The trailer’s monsters could simply be yet another synthetic Weyland-Yutani creation. We’ve even seen combat androids in many previous Alien and Alien vs. Predator games, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that is what these things are. Granted, they look different than some of the combat androids we’ve seen in previous games, but not so different that we can rule out that possibility entirely. It would be a little odd for combat androids to be described as “brand-new threats,” but it’s possible there is something new about these androids that also explains their looks.
However, there is another possibility. Remember how we said Xenomorphs hunt via pheromones? It’s why they attack anything that breathes. Well, this is just pure speculation here, but those new creatures could be humans modified to release zero pheromones or at least ones that carry around something that nullifies the ones they produce. Perhaps those blue vials on their backs contain a chemical that interacts with pheromones, and the glowing blue lights are a dispersal unit that sprays the stuff around like a can of Lysol. If true, then the “monsters” from the video could be the rogue commandos just as easily as they could be the game’s unique threat. While the game’s space marines seem to indicate that those creatures aren’t humans, they could also be referring to the Xenomorph that jumps in front of them shortly after that explanation is delivered via voiceover. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time that a human has been wrong about something in an Alien adaptation.
We probably won’t know more about these non-Xenomorph enemies until later, so here’s hoping we are at least on the right path.