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Gnarly concept art from The Thing's cancelled sequel game emerges online

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In 2002, now-defunct developer Computer Artworks ceased work on a sequel to John Carpenter's The Thing. 20 years later, concept artist Ron Ashtiani has given us a host of gruesome monster designs that have crept in the shadows for far too long.

Planned as a survival horror follow-up to Computer Artworks' 2002 The Thing tie-in (above), The Thing 2 would've seen Kurt Russel's R.J. MacReady and prior protagonist Blake team up to fight through refinery towns, oil rigs, and aircraft carriers—facing off against deadlier versions of the alien creatures.

A headcrab

(Image credit: Ron Ashtiani)

Posting on Artstation (opens in new tab) earlier this week, Ashtiani unloaded a wealth of concept art. The stars of the show are his creature designs—truly horrific takes on an already gross design that would see the game littered with scuttling torsos, crab-like heads, and fleshy masses blooming from helicopter wreckage.

One gory trick Ashtiani describes was a "burst out" system that would see Thing-like creature parts erupt from otherwise humanoid enemies. He marks seams where a character's skin would split open to reveal gnawing ribs, bodies splitting in two as alien tentacles burst out and cling to walls. In 2002, it would've been mighty impressive.

A concept page for a burstout thing creature

(Image credit: Ron Ashtiani)

Unfortunately, The Thing 2 was not to be. In a 2014 interview with Eurogamer (opens in new tab), lead designer Andrew Curtis explained that the game never made it much past the prototyping stage. Rapid growth led to the studio taking on too many projects to handle, ultimately shutting down in 2003.

"It was heart-breaking when Computer Artworks closed but it was a familiar story unfortunately," said Curtis. "We just grew too quickly, taking on a lot of projects including The Thing 2 and an Alone In The Dark sequel."

Natalie Clayton
Natalie Clayton

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.