Alien Blackout: A Mobile Game
Alien Isolation is one of many games that I started but never finished. This was mainly because I was very bad at it and was spoilt for choice with other titles at the time. Hence when I got frustrated with its stealth mechanic and the deliberately slow pace of the gameplay I moved on, rather than persevere with it. However, I certainly recognise that it was a unique and innovative title and deserved all the praise that it received at launch. The retro-futuristic art direction, sound design, and the xenomorph’s artificial intelligence where all key factors to the games appeal and success. Developers Creative Assembly deserved further plaudits for doing so well with a game that was substantially different from their established output. The studio has a strong reputation for producing quality Real Time Strategy games. Overall, Alien Isolation was one of the stand out titles of 2014 and therefore the possibility of a sequel has been keenly anticipated by fans.
Therefore, there was a brief moment of joy for many fans as they read the recent headlines announcing Alien Blackout. However, this was short lived when it became clear that the new title was a mobile game. Furthermore, the game is not being made by Creative Assembly, but is being developed by D3 Go. The publisher has previous released such titles as Marvel Puzzle Quest and Adventure Gnome. Naturally, for core fans this was a disappointing revelation as the mobile game market is not held in particularly high regard by PC gamers. Need I mention Diablo Immortal and the subsequent debacle that ensued? Furthermore, there is still a degree of confusion as to whether Alien Blackout is a canonical sequel to Alien Isolation. It does feature the character of Amanda Ripley but judging by the marketing blurb, it sounds more like a re-iteration of the first game. “Try to stay alive while trapped aboard a crippled Weyland-Yutani space station carrying a deadly Xenomorph as it tirelessly hunts you and the crew. Outsmart the perfect hunter by making perilous choices... Survive seven fear-inducing levels by remotely guiding Amanda Ripley’s crew through increasingly challenging tasks using only the station’s emergency systems”.
It's a curious situation because although there is a lot of justifiable prejudice towards mobile games, the industry per se is incredibly lucrative. Mobile games sell and whatever your stance on the rectitude of such products and their inherent business model, never forget the old adage “money talks and bullshit walks”. Recent figures show that mobile game developers Supercell made just under $1.4 billion in revenue last year. This was generated via such titles as Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Hay Day and Boom Beach. And that is just one company. The mobile gaming market is worth an estimated $70.3 billion globally at present. To put this in perspective this is more than double the revenue that console and PC gaming made last year. Console gaming generated $34.6 billion in 2018, while PC games brought in in $32.9 billion. It is therefore hardly surprising that more and more established franchises are branching out and making their presence felt in mobile gaming. That doesn’t necessarily mean that publishers will be doing so at the expense of developing new titles for consoles and PC. But I think it is time for a lot of PC and console gamers to come to terms with the fact that the mobile market isn’t some second tier backwater and it isn’t going away. However, there is objective business observation and then there’s personal taste. Although Alien Blackout will more than likely make a lot of money. I won’t be buying it.