Games based on the popular James Cameron film Aliens are a bit like buses: you wait for ages for them and they don’t turn up, and you later learn there were meant to be two of them on the way. Okay, maybe that metaphor doesn’t work, but please stick with us here because this news is quite interesting: it sounds a lot like Fox was developing at least two Aliens games before the company was bought out by Disney.
We’ve learned this today because of a surprising Twitter exchange between developers from different companies. The revelations began when Cliff Bleszinski posted a Tweet to reveal that Boss Key Productions, before they went bust, had been talking to Fox about developing an Aliens game.
“Before BKP shut down we were in talks to do a new game in the Aliens franchise with Fox,” Bleszinski wrote in his Tweet. “Then Disney bought them and that got lost in the shuffle, darnit,” he added. Just hearing that one Aliens game has been lost will be enough to make fans feel disappointed, but the revelations didn’t stop there!
Frederik Schreiber, vice president of 3D Realms (the developers of Duke Nukem), saw Bleszinski’s Tweet and waded in with his own story about developing an Aliens game for Fox. Schreiber wrote, “This is crazy… we were in the talk about the exact same thing. New Aliens FPS, taking place at Hadleys Hope (4-player coop). Almost went through. Happened right around the time at the Disney acquisition, and when that happened, it all fell to the ground.”
Bleszinski replied, “Haha no kidding? And yeah, the Disney thing screwed the pooch for us too.” So it sounds like Fox was hedging its bets on Aliens, getting two companies to develop games based on the beloved marines-versus-Xenomorphs flick, but it all fell apart when Disney bought Fox and took over control of the company.
Schreiber wrote back with some further information about 3D Realms’ Aliens experience: “Game was called Aliens: Hadleys Hope“, he revealed. “We went quite far into pre-production before the Disney/Fox acquisition, and then we had to cancel it, and move on with something else.” He also shared some screenshots of promotional materials, which reveal that it would’ve been a PvE game that sent squads of players into battle against the Alien Queen. You can see the screengrabs here…— Frederik Schreiber (@Freschism) February 11, 2020
Those three tantalizing words, “Maybe some day!”, leave us with a sliver of hope that we could eventually see a new Aliens game take shape. It seems certain there would be an audience for it – it’s been too long since 2013’s Aliens: Colonial Marines and 2014’s Alien: Isolation gave us fully-fledged console games in this universe, and last year’s Alien: Blackout mobile game did little to stop us wanting another one.
It remains to be seen what Disney will do with the Alien brand, on the cinema screen or on games consoles, but we’ll be sure to let you know if we hear anything. The fact that Disney has been calling out for IP-based pitches from game developers does give us hope…