Alien: Isolation was a dramatic departure for Creative Assembly, which before the game’s release in 2014 was best-known for its Total War series of strategy games. But the studio almost didn’t have a chance to expand its portfolio at all after parent company Sega initially rejected the idea for a new Alien game.
“We sent out a five-page vision document of what an Alien survival horror game would be, and Sega went, ‘There is no way we want to do another Alien game,’” Tim Heaton, chief studio officer at Creative Assembly, told Noclip for the group’s latest documentary on Alien: Isolation.
Instead of taking no for an answer, however, the folks at Creative Assembly began to flesh out the pitch in secret, putting together a “mood demo” under Sega’s nose. Using the engine from their 2008 release Viking: Battle for Asgard, the developers created a short walkthrough of a Xenomorph-infested lab, with all the atmosphere and terror of what would eventually become Alien: Isolation.
Fortunately, the Sega executives loved what they saw, and the rest is history.
“Everyone instantly got what the idea was,” Creative Assembly technical director Clive Gratton said. “I think that just shows the power of getting things on screen in front of people.”