Aliens: Dark Descent looks surprisingly decent in this first gameplay footage

How many Aliens licensed games have there been at this point? Enough for us to collectively forget that Aliens: Dark Descent was in development, certainly. Or at least we had until the first gameplay footage arrived this morning via IGN, along with a June 30 release date, which we watched and murmured a collective "that looks quite decent, actually". 

Aliens: Dark Descent, which I feel duty bound to note is absolutely no relation of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, is billed as a real-time squad-based tactical action game. It's being developed by Paris-based Tindalos Interactive which previously worked on a couple of Battlefleet Gothic: Armada games. 

Dark Descent sees players taking control of and levelling up a squad of Colonial Marines as they're… Well, you've seen the movies. It's not going to go well! The game takes place on a moon called Lethe, which the Steam listing actually calls a planet, but hey I'm not the lore guy. In either case, the marines have crash landed from the USS Otago and in a terrible but also frankly inevitable twist of fate the joint is in the midst of being overrun by the iconic/phallic xenos. 

Visually it looks clean and crispy—frosty, even—with the environments being a mix of the expected Weyland-Yutani corpo architecture and Giger's creeping biomechanical gloop. There's some neon signage splashed around, including a karaoke bar, suggesting Lethe was a relatively inhabited locale rather than a completely forgotten outpost. 

I was intrigued to hear the narrator suggest that which marine takes on an issued task will be decided based on best contextual fit. Perhaps that points to a more streamlined (simplified?) take on the RTS, which would make sense given Dark Descent is also coming to consoles. The AI making the assignment calls is going to need to be super reliable though, or run the risk of taking the blame for all tactical calamities.

Speaking of which, the trailer also notes that death is permanent, and losing a marine in combat is irreversible. I assume you'll be able to call on additional squaddies to fill the boots of the fallen, X-Com-style, rather than trying to complete the campaign with an ever dwindling four-ball of increasingly depressed marines. The most amazing thing, though, is that we've got all this way through a story about an Aliens RTS without me doing an "I'll do the fingering" APM joke. And there we are. 

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.