Alien: Isolation update adds Novice and Nightmare difficulty levels

Alien: Isolation

The trouble with making videogames is that it's very difficult to keep everyone happy. Take Alien: Isolation, for example. Some players want to explore without having to constantly worry about their face being chewed off; others feel like anything short of relentless punishment is a waste of time. The update released today tries to do something for both camps by adding two new difficulty levels at opposite ends of the spectrum: Nightmare and Novice.

Nightmare mode saddles players with a busted motion detector and more limited resources; the map systems are offline, and survivors and synthetics will behave more aggressively and dangerously. The Alien will be tougher as well, with heightened senses and "upgraded AI" that will make it more quickly adaptive to your tactics.

Novice mode, obviously, takes things in the opposite direction, providing "more time and breathing space with which to explore Sevastopol." Resources will be relatively plentiful, and the alien will be "more forgiving, more easily distracted, and less aggressive in his hunting style."

Creative Assembly also released a couple of downloadable posters, one for Novice and one for Nightmare, styled after sci-fi movie posters from the 70s. They're both very cool, but for my money the description of the "Ultimate Alien" makes the Nightmare poster the clear winner: "More aggressive. Adapts faster. No second chances."

The update containing both new game modes is available now, and it's free.

Alien: Isolation Nightmare mode

Alien: Isolation Novice mode

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.