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Alienation on PS4: Pure Gameplay

Fred Dutton's Avatar + Posted by Fred Dutton on Aug 21, 2014 // SCEE Blog Manager

On a personal level at least, one of the most pleasing reveals in our Gamescom press briefing last week was a first glimpse at Alienation, the new game from Dead Nation creator Housemarque. As a huge fan of classic arcade gameplay, it’s great to see the studio back on the scene so quickly after the phenomenal Resogun.


The launch trailer was predictably splendid, but it also raised plenty of questions. Questions that I wanted answered! So I tracked down Housemarque’s Mikael Haveri after the show in search of a few answers. Read on to find out a little more about what the brilliant Finnish team has in store.

Alienation on PS4

PlayStation.Blog: How far back does the idea for Alienation go? Is it something you’ve wanted to make for some time?

Mikael Haveri: We’ve always been a tech-centric company. We start projects by just playing around with tech. We have our own engine which we’re always upgrading and trying out cool new things — new lighting systems, particle effects, and so on. These experiments are the setting point, and then we start implementing those things in different game scenarios. Would this work best in a top-down shooter? Or would it be better suited to, say, a platformer?

So it’s not like we were making Dead Nation and said to ourselves, “Oh, we should do this again… but with aliens!” It was more like, “We’ve got this cool technology — how do we implement it in the best way?”

And then we start iterating. We happily admit that we do borrow from what we think are some of the greatest games ever, but then we reinvent them in the Housemarque way. For example, we play a lot of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls, and a lot of different stuff to get inspiration. Then we take a concept we like and try and improve it or put a twist on it.

PlayStation.Blog: Dark Souls, you say? You’re talking my sort of language, Mikael. Can you go into more details on how that influence might manifest itself in the finished game?

Mikael Haveri: We’re not going into too much detail right now but in the trailer there’s a segment where you see co-op play and then a message that says, “Go rogue”. And that’s an indicator of the kind of elements we might have in the game. That’s us asking how we can do interesting things with player relations and I’d say there might be some influences from the Souls series in that aspect of the game.

Ask yourself what the scenario might be. Why would you attack another group? Are there factions involved? Let your mind go crazy and think of different reasons players might start murdering each other. I’ve got to keep a little air of mystery here!

Alienation on PS4Alienation on PS4

PlayStation.Blog: Housemarque is of course famous for its love of explosions. How will you be refining that art form in Alienation?

Mikael Haveri: We’ve got some really, really cool stuff in Alienation — explosions with smoke plume effects, and next gen effects that you wont have seen before. We’re able to do very dynamic stuff, and very visually pleasing explosions that go beyond the edge of the screen with real physics interactions.

You’ll blow something up and the debris will interact with the environment and ricochet off walls. We’re not going the route where absolutely everything is destructible, but a lot of stuff will get blown up.

And grenades. We have a lot of cool grenades. Alien tech grenades. So, explosions are absolutely going to be a mainstay!

PlayStation.Blog: Will there be any narrative link to Dead Nation or returning characters?

Mikael Haveri: We’re playing around with that a little bit. We know our core competency and we’re sticking to it. Storytelling will have a role to play, but it will be that classic game storytelling where it’s more of a thrill-ride.

There could be parallels to other Housemarque universes, like how we dropped some Resogun ships into the latest version of Dead Nation. To us, it’s all part of the same multilateral Housemarque universe in some weird way, where everything co-exists. So, you might see some familiar things. Like, a lot of our games feature that female android-y voice. I’m not promising anything but there’s a good chance she might be involved somehow…

PlayStation.Blog: How do you think the studio has evolved in the four years since Dead Nation first launched on PS3?

Mikael Haveri: We’ve learned a lot. We’re always trying to improve. Looking back at Dead Nation, it defines a certain type of top-down shooter, and we’re trying to expand on that core experience. It’s been great to come back to that. Some people online have been asking why we haven’t tried our hand at something completely different and we have actually experimented with a lot of things but this is the sort of experience that we’re really passionate about delivering. There are so many cool things that we can do on the PS4, so we feel like we have to make this game.

Alienation on PS4

PlayStation.Blog: It was great to see how the ship editor in Resogun really started to go viral — in a similar way to Photo Mode in inFAMOUS Second Son and The Last of Us Remastered. Are you planning on a similar social element in Alienation?

Mikael Haveri: Yes, we’ve had tens of thousands of Resogun ships created now. The community still keeps surprising us. Of course, for Alien Nation you can’t make a voxel figure but it’s absolutely something that’s in our minds — as long as it’s good for the player and fun at the same time. Maybe a Photo Mode? Or shareable explosions?

PlayStation.Blog: You clearly love making these sorts of classic action games. What is it about the twin-stick shooter formula that you so enjoy?

Mikael Haveri: It’s purely about the gameplay. In Resogun it’s twitch action. You have to be fully immersed in the game and if there’s even a hint of lag or if the framerate is not quite there then you have a problem. And twin stick shooters work that way, too. It’s pure gameplay. If it’s a good experience, it really becomes a part of you.

People tell me when they play Resogun they get totally in the zone — and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. It’s gaming in its purest form.

//Add Your Own

25 Comments

1

+ Blacq_Soul on August 21st, 2014 at 8:39 am said:

this looks awesome. I’ll definitely keeps eyes on it. do you have a release date frame?


2

+ colef10 on August 21st, 2014 at 8:50 am said:

I’m still skeptical because it looks exactly like Dead Nation. By the look of the trailer, if you had told me it was Dead Nation, I would 100% believe you. It is Housemarque so I’m sure it’ll be great.


3

+ HeavyToka on August 21st, 2014 at 8:51 am said:

All Housemarque games are a day 1 purchase from me!


4

+ winterdust on August 21st, 2014 at 8:58 am said:

Housemarque. That’s all I need to know. Day 1!


5

+ Enforcer_X on August 21st, 2014 at 8:59 am said:

Same as some have said already … Housemarque = Day 1!

This looks just awesome!


6

+ hdcase on August 21st, 2014 at 9:05 am said:

Looks great! It’d be cool if Housemarque could make a stereo 3D mode. SSHD in 3D was a feast for the senses!


7

+ cusman on August 21st, 2014 at 9:20 am said:

I loved Resogun, and I still haven’t tried Dead Nation. I really need to give that a shot.

Edit: I have Dead Nation (was PS+ free on PS4 or I owned the PS3 copy so got to download again on PS4). I just haven’t played it beyond one play session I tried many years back on PS3. I guess I prefer shooting/exploding mechanical sci-fy things into explosions of light much more than organic zombie creatures into puddles of gore.


8

+ MakoSoul on August 21st, 2014 at 9:36 am said:

I just hope it the gameplay feels different than Dead Nation. I loved Resogun, but could never really get into Dead Nation. This looks like it could be fun.


9

+ Blakkternalx520 on August 21st, 2014 at 10:30 am said:

Ill check this out. Hello everyone! havent been on the network for like 3 years and now im back!!!


10

+ DelicaGunz on August 21st, 2014 at 10:45 am said:

Totally agree. Housemarque is always a Day 1 purchase.


11

+ Vanthem on August 21st, 2014 at 11:18 am said:

Oh, something made my Housemarque? Instabuy.


12

+ Vanthem on August 21st, 2014 at 11:20 am said:

Of course, that should say, “Made by Housemarque.” But given my love of them, I guess they could be “my” Housemarque. @_@


13

+ akibake on August 21st, 2014 at 11:23 am said:

Super Stardust HD, Super Stardust Delta, Dead Nation on 3 different platforms, Resogun – played them all, and they’re all awesome, so I’m definitely in on Alienation. Reminds me of the Alien Breed series, but with that classic Housemarque polish and bombast. Looking forward to it.


14

+ Matrix_Lion on August 21st, 2014 at 11:38 am said:

This looks like pure chaos. Yeah I’m buying this.


15

+ tusunami on August 21st, 2014 at 11:41 am said:

Oh nelly this will be another action packed game that will be a purchase when it comes out for sure!!!!!!!


16

+ KazeEternal on August 21st, 2014 at 12:04 pm said:

Now with 50% more voxels?


17

+ Ricen-Beans on August 21st, 2014 at 12:14 pm said:

As always Music was amazing.

Day one for sure.

One question: limited ammo like Dead Nation? Or unlimited like Resogun? Thanks


18

+ Mega-Sackman on August 21st, 2014 at 12:32 pm said:

Even if i’m excited about Alien Nation and i’ll surely buy it, i’d love a sequel of Outland, that game is fantastic! please make it happen Housemarque!


19

+ Elvick_ on August 21st, 2014 at 1:02 pm said:

@2 Are you blind? Visually this looks nothing like Dead Nation.


20

+ NYPUNK88 on August 21st, 2014 at 2:13 pm said:

I seriously need this like now!


21

+ ANGRYFEAR5 on August 21st, 2014 at 2:15 pm said:

Ps4 needs external hard drive support please.


22

+ TeamGreen615 on August 21st, 2014 at 2:21 pm said:

Alienation on PS4: Pure Awesomeness!


23

+ IcedDice777 on August 21st, 2014 at 3:35 pm said:

Can’t wait for this. Day 1 purchase for me. Now, i would like to see Super Stardust HD ported to the PS4 with 3D support.

Thank you


24

+ zepified on August 21st, 2014 at 5:00 pm said:

@4 @10 @11…

Yes yes and more YES!!! I’ve bought any & every single Housemarque title up to this point and I really don’t see myself NOT buying a game made by them, EVER! Their games are just always too good to pass up or even wait for price drops. I’m just glad their games exist at all on Sony systems because if they were exclusively on MS systems, I would be so very tempted to have to buy all MS consoles (I already kinda am because of the Forza series, but hopefully that’ll change w/ DC & Project Cars).

Anyways, keep up the quality work Housemarque and thanx for letting us all enjoy your brilliant creations.


25

+ oo7PorscheMGS on August 22nd, 2014 at 9:22 am said:

Resogun – GREAT game if you love 2D shooters! And the update with letting ppl make their own ships – very cool stuff to add.

Dead Nation – a lot of my ps3 friends loved it especially because of the coop but I never played thru it too much although it looked fun with a LOT of enemies and action on screen!

This looks even more badass though.

Wow and you guys made Super Stardust HD too? One of the few “side scrollers” or arcade games I played like crazy and loved (especially letting us use our own music during gameplay). Talk about being on a roll with great games!!

I usually don’t like too many shooters like this because they tend to get repetitive and are light on story, but I’ll have to try this one cuz it looks like pure fun.


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