{Xenophobia}

Game Concept

Xenophobe is a video game developed Bally Midway and released in arcades in 1987. Starbases, moons, ships, and space cities are infested with aliens, and the players have to kill the aliens before each is completely overrun. The screen is split into three horizontally-scrolling windows, one for each of up to three players, yet all players are in the same game world.
Gameplay of Xenophobe (1987)
Alien vs. Predator (2010) multiplayer gameplay ~ inspiration for modernized Xenophobe gameplay.

Thesis: {Xenophobia} is a first-person cooperative multiplayer stealth/horror/action game, licensing the Alien film franchise’s iconic xenomorph, envisioned as a modernized reboot of the Xenophobe arcade game from 1987. In a dimly lit, tightly cornered and altogether claustrophobic spacer ship adrift somewhere in the cosmos, one player takes control of the monster while the others try to scavenge tools, gather weapons and escape from its hellish predations. In highly replayable dynamic battle arenas between Man and his more dire creation, experience the thrilling rush of {Xenophobia}.

Setting: U.S.S. Sulaco / USCSS Nostromo – a pair of starships at the edge of dead space, wherein xenomorphs are on the move, lying in wait for a small squadron of ill-equipped spacefaring humans…

Characters & Story: A squadron of 4 working class spacers – miner, engineer, scientist, mercenary // The Xenomorph(s) ~ the last remaining survivors on a starship band together to defend themselves against a rogue alien menace – the 4 humans explore, scavenge and come up with an escape plan while being assaulted from the shadows by the most powerful apex predator in the galaxy…

Human survivors concept ~ art by Markus Tervola
Say cheese
screen from Alien: Blackout (2019)

Gameplay:

Hunter vs. Hunted Gameplay ~ A first-person/third-person action game / first-person shooter(slasher) – {Xenophobia} is a multiplayer horror arena game. For one side – it is a rather horrifying experience – and for the other, it is more of a cat-and-mouse exchange. Similar to other Alien franchise video games, it differs in its multiplayer aspect – where players control both the human workers-turned-warriors – who must utilize teamwork and cunning to survive and escape – as well as the xenomorph monstrosities, whose hunting and killing comes quite easy for them. Most similar to Alien vs. Predator (2010), {Xenophobia} draws a primary distinction in its pacing and tone, which will be more methodical and strategic — most similar to Alien: Isolation (2014) — than the more deathmatch-stylings of the classic AVP game.

Tension will primary be drawn from the constant mortal peril of the 4 survivors trying to cooperatively explore and scavenge through their randomly generated environment – without weapons initially! – while the xenomorph tries to pick them off. Each match’s win conditions are simple – for the survivors: escape, for the xenomorph: make sure the survivors… don’t! Each match will have a time limit – ranging from 15 to 30+ minutes, wherein the players must gather the necessary information and materials to escape in the sealed escape pod – {or try to kill the xenomorph(s)} – and liberate themselves from their mortal predicament before life support shuts off on the dying ship…

Randomized ship environs ~ In order to keep the experience fresh, each ship while containing nominally the same materials and optionality in tools such as trackers, weaponry and door cracking tech – will be totally randomized. Included in this is the spawn point of each of the players as well as the alien. Players must find their way to one another before being picked off by a fast-moving xeno – and then proceed to collect the proper gear for their survival.

Examples of items vital to the players’ survival {not every kind of item will appear in every match!}:

  • Light
  • Tracker
  • Door “cracker”
  • Door bar
  • Mines, tripwires, noise-makers
  • Guns! – pistols, mining lasers, machine guns
  • Explosives
  • Ship schematics
  • Engine instructions
  • Power nodes
  • Escape hatch {requires power or door cracker or explosives or other…}

Commanding the human squad | explore, scavenge, fight back ~ As each match contains rogue-like elements such as spawns and itemization, the players must absolutely rely upon the speed of their movements and thoughts – and absolutely cooperate – in order to win in the end. First, players will have to explore their environment, as venturing out into the darkness will eventually become necessary. Doing it safely as a group of 3+ sacrifices the efficiency of having multiple groups scavenging different areas. Collecting utility items takes first priority, as they allow the players to explore more efficiently – but ultimately weapons and win-condition items such as power nodes will become necessary as well.

Based on the class of each player – they may be able to use some equipment more effectively than others:

  • Miner – able to carry the most gear / most health / proficient with mining tools, for maneuvering through the environment or attacking the xenomorph with
  • Engineer – can read schematics and upload data the fastest / proficient with explosives / can operate the engine instantly || weakness: highest fear factor
  • Scientist – utilizes tracking and surgical equipment best, gathers most battery life from lights and radar / proficient with computers / can identify equipment faster within the immediate environment || weakness: slowest moving character
  • Mercenary – can see more of the map at the start / proficient with weapons / highest speed and defense ratings || weakness: utilizes most items less effectively

Important to note – all classes can do ALL functions and use all items, some may just be slower or less accurate at accessing their full functionality if the item in question does not fit their specialty. Any number of players escaping counts as a victory for humanity… though as the 4-man team thins out, survival becomes less and less likely…

Controlling the Xenomorph | Seek and destroy ~ The Xenomorph is the ultimate manifestation of predation, violent reproduction, death. When a player takes control of the alien, they are given a wide range of abilities, maneuvers and – most importantly – killing moves. The xenomorph is intelligent and the controlling player should wield them as such; they understand their environment and the motivations of their prey {i.e. escape}. While they may not be able to use technology themselves – they recognize weaponry, airlocks, and doors leading to potential escape just fine… Controlling the xenomorph should make for a thrilling and blood-thirsty affair, wherein you may hunt your friends and eviscerate them in as satisfying a fashion as possible!

Alien capabilities ~

Passive:

  • Higher movement speed than all human squad mates – except for the Mercenary.
  • Exoskeletal armor – cannot be injured save for sustained gunfire or explosives {or being sucked from an airlock…}
  • Acidic blood – touching the xenomorph’s blood damages humans – they can also slip on puddles of it left after skirmishes
  • Can crawl horizontally and vertically upon walls and ceilings, easily bypassing any obstacles
  • Sneak (toggle) – slower, stealthier movements

Active:

  • Claw attacks – low damage, high speed and accuracy
  • Tail attack – high damage, lower speed and accuracy
  • Bite attack – inflicts bleed – mini-mouth low % of insta-kill if headshot
  • Burst of speed and lunge (cooldown)
  • Lay eggs – can hide facehugger launching eggs around the ship – unleash if a human enters their proximity – if attached, the player has a limited amount of time before a chestburster emerges from within their body – {they can only be healed by a makeshift surgical procedure, which reduces their maximum health permanently for the remainder of the match}
Fuck around
Find out
Alien vs. Predator (2010) gameplay

~

Alien (1979) vs. Aliens (1986) mode ~ Alien mode = 4v1 ~ slow burn, methodical, more horror experience {players are given less items, weaponry, explosive, etc.; the alien has more health} // Aliens mode = 4vMANY ~ high octane battle mode, more akin to deathmatch than survival {players are given MORE; the aliens have less health}. Alien mode takes place on the U.S.S. Sulaco – a smaller map, tighter corners and less places to hide; much, much darker / Aliens mode takes place on the USCSS Nostromo – a map with wider areas, more defensible positions, and more frequent caches of equipment, more light and more room for each competitor to maneuver

Alien…
Aliens!

Multiplayer leaderboards and records ~ In addition to their intramatch competitions, human and xenomorph players can compete game-to-game scores and records and replays, such as:

  • Time to victory
  • Fastest kill, double kill, triple kill, quadra kill
  • Fastest xenomorph kill
  • Most inventive kill – human or alien
  • Best 1v1 showdown
  • etc.

Inspired by ~

~

~

~

~

Endgame: In {Xenophobia}, no one will be able to hear you scream within the silent, darkened passageways of space… except for your similarly doomed companions – and the alien itself. It draws near, it’s appetite eternal, its will to persist its wretched genes throughout the galaxy compels it towards hyperviolence against the perfect vessel for such work – you. Will you survive? Or will you just become a stepping stone to humanity’s eventual extinction at the hands of a perfected, malevolent organism?

In space, no one can hear your scream…