The Alien Isolation Third Person Perspective Robs The Game Of Its Claustrophobia, But We'd Play It Anyway [VIDEO]
One of the great joys - or terrors - of 2014 was Alien: Isolation, the first person survival horror game set in the Alien mythos.
On board a space station that has been hideously savaged by a Xenomorph, you don't so much fight to survive as you do simply try to not die. Breaking from the more action oriented titles from the franchise's past, the game returned to the roots of the original Ridley Scott film Alien, which is still one of the most unnerving and claustrophobic movies ever made.
But the Alien: Isolation we ended up with was not always meant to be.
At GDC yesterday, Isolation's creative lead Alistair Hope revealed some early build gameplay footage that switched out the first person camera view for a more traditional survival horror third person view. The results are...different. And while the game itself would be good no matter the perspective, I think we can all agree that the first person view is better in crafting the appropriate atmosphere.
Since movies began, the first person perspective has been used to put you inside of a character's head. It's intimate and, more importantly, restrictive. It's the reason for the success of the found footage genre: you only know as much as the characters. Pulling back to the third person creates a wall between you and the character. Now you know more, now you can see that the Alien has slithered down the corridor and you can use that knowledge to the character's advantage, thus robbing you of a little of the fear.
The first person in Alien: Isolation works because it creates the 'unknown', and more than seeing a Xenomorph charging after you, the belief that at any time a Xenomorph could be charging after you - one that you just can't see - is a far more terrifying proposition.
Watch the third person camera footage below.