While it is common for video games to have their plot edited or altered during development, Alien: Isolation is notable in that it still contains data relating to earlier iterations of the story, in the form of unused script files found within the Xbox 360 build, and references to cut maps within the standard build of the game. These reveal that the game's story was in fact altered quite substantially, perhaps close before release; while the key events are the same, the paths that lead to them are often quite different, and the game seems as though it was originally to be significantly longer with some larger environments and more significant character development. Several characters also had notably different personalities and goals in earlier versions of the story.
Note that owing to the fact these unused files are merely script files, the events and locations of these sequences, as well as their timing within the overall story, have merely been interpreted from dialogue and as such may not be entirely accurate. Furthermore, the missing script sections seem to be incomplete, and as such there are several gaps in the expanded story they represent. Some sections are however verified in legitimacy through concept art found online and references to cut maps within the game.
Original Game Opening Edit
The original opening of Alien: Isolation covered the events leading up to the arrival of Amanda Ripley on Sevastopol Station. This section of the game featured stories from characters such as Dr. Kuhlman, Julia Jones, Hughes, Barker, Chief Porter, Marshal Waits and more. Several significant events were to be shown during this sequence, including Kuhlman trying to break into San Cristobal Medical Facility to remove a Chestburster that had been implanted inside of him, Hughes attempting to talk to APOLLO to disable the communications lockdown and discovering that executive authorisation is now required, and Jackson witnessing the Xenomorph kill Harper.Little is known about how this section would have played out — it may simply have been a cutscene, although it seems possible that the player may have been able to control the characters during these short story elements. A map is referenced in the game files with the name "BSP_P01_TwoTeams", with "P01" seeming to indicate that this section would have been part one of the story, and "TwoTeams" referencing the ability to swap between characters within the map (as is the case in the bonus DLC map Crew Expendable). It is possible that this section was scrapped and the mechanic moved over to the Crew Expendable DLC due to its complexity and the fact the section was not particularly essential to the overall story.
The game was originally to begin with the crew of the Torrens being woken from hypersleep early, before they reach Sevastopol, in response to an emergency SOS signal (mirroring the beginning of Alien). They quickly find that the signal is coming from a ship, the Solace, which is drifting lifeless in space. Ripley boards it to investigate, finding that it is full of the bodies of passengers who have all frozen to death since the life support systems failed. Further investigation reveals that the ship was hopelessly overcrowded and has no FTL drive, meaning the people on board were being forced to share the few hypersleep pods available by drawing up a rota; evidently they were desperate to flee from something. Deeper inside, Ripley finds blood, and several bodies "squashed into the hypersleep berths". Finally, she learns that the ship came from Sevastopol. The derelict vessel then begins to break up and Ripley is forced to flee, barely escaping back to the Torrens. During her frantic escape, Ripley sees evidence or glimpses of — but does not directly encounter — a Xenomorph, which presumably dies when the ship breaks apart. Now safely back aboard the Torrens, the crew was to continue to Sevastopol as in the finished game.The Solace is featured in several pieces of concept art created for the game. Further evidence of its existence remaining in the game include the Anesidora's map file, which is named "SOLACE", hinting that the interior layout of the Solace was re-purposed for the Anesidora. The Anesidora mission also ends with the ship breaking apart and exploding, possibly a reuse of effects created for the section of gameplay set aboard the Solace. Part of the script for the mission aboard the Solace was also found in the console version of Alien: Isolation, along with references to a "corridor decompression" animation sequence in the final build of the game for the Solace.
The Patna EditA ship named the Patna (unrelated to the USCSS Patna from Alien3) was intended to appear in Alien: Isolation as a medical transport vessel, however it was cut from the final game. Concept art of the ship can be found within The Art of Alien: Isolation and references to the map file "BSP_Patna" can still be found in the final game. The ship was listed as containing basic infirmary, hypersleep and morgue facilities as well as featuring proportionally large engines, keeping the design in-line with Ron Cobb's original Alien aesthetic. At the centre of the Patna was an exposed coolant chamber which would allow for the contents to be frozen for transit.
Marlow and the Black BoxEdit
One of the biggest changes between the original game and the released version was the role of Marlow in the story. Whereas he is already in custody at the Colonial Marshal headquarters when Ripley first arrives there in the game, and is only ever encountered in two brief (but pivotal) moments, it was originally planned for the character to play a far more extensive role in the plot. Instead of being detained from the start, Marlow is actually in hiding somewhere on Sevastopol, and has the Nostromo black box with him — apparently, Ripley does not find it early on in the Lorenz SysTech Spire as in the final build. After the first Drone is jettisoned in the Gemini Exoplanet Solutions module, Marshal Waits sends Ripley after Marlow, and she discovers he is hiding in the Executive Suites in the Solomons Habitation Tower.Another interesting change revealed by the script involves the explosive traps for the Xenomorph that have been planted all over Sevastopol. Originally, it seems Marlow was the one responsible, not Waits and his men.
The Anesidora CrewEditRipley's pursuit of Marlow leads her back to the San Cristobal Medical Facility, where she must find a keycard that will allow her to access a private Seegson shuttle, the only way for her to reach the secure Executive Suites. While in the medical center, she discovers the bodies of Heyst and Meeks, two members of the Anesidora's crew, who died birthing Chestbursters.
The Executive SuitesEditUpon arriving in the Executive Suites, Ripley tracks Marlow to the office of Seegson Executive Ransome, who, like Marlow, originally had a larger role in the game. She realizes that he was one of the victims aboard the Solace, and also learns of his attempts to manipulate the Xenomorph discovery to his professional advantage — his machinations in this regard are still featured in the game's audio logs. While Marlow has already moved on, Ripley discovers that he came to Ransome's office to steal the launch codes for the Anesidora. Thinking he is planning to flee, Waits orders her to get after him, telling her he will meet her there. While cut from the game, the Executive Suites and Ransome later formed the basis of the first DLC pack for the game, Corporate Lockdown. This was most likely a way for the developers to use maps that were late in development and would have been otherwise cut from the game and wasted effort.
Kuhlman Impregnated Edit
Dr. Kuhlman was originally intended to have a Chestburster growing inside of him. From reading the old scripts, it seems that Alien: Isolation started out with a cutscene that included a sequence showing Kuhlman commenting on his condition since being attacked by the Facehugger. After being thrown out of the San Cristobal Medical Facility, he vents his anger at Dr. Lingard and Dr. Morley, demanding to be let back in.Later in the game, Kuhlman is revealed to be using patients, or possibly other survivors on Sevastopol, as test subjects to try and work out how to remove the Chestburster from himself. Most notably, while trying to call survivors over to test on, he says, "I need... you there! What is it? A hurt friend? Need a fix? Perhaps we can help each other" which is quite similar to dialogue used when he first encounters Amanda in the final game.
Samuels and TaylorEdit
Samuels and Taylor seem to have been antagonistic characters in the earlier version of the story — both break out of the Marshal Bureau headquarters while Ripley is heading for the Anesidora, and it is apparently Taylor who kills Waits, not the rampaging Working Joes. Ricardo is also shot and wounded in the confrontation. Samuels and Taylor subsequently flee and contact Verlaine aboard the Torrens requesting extraction, Samuels lying that Ripley had been killed.While it is assumed they are unsuccessful in their plans to abandon Ripley, their ultimate fates are not revealed in the missing script sections.
LV-426EditThe two sections of gameplay on LV-426 in the game are referred to as maps "BSP_LV426_PT01" and "BSP_LV426_PT02" in the game's files. However, a third map named "BSP_LV426_PT03" is also referenced, indicating that there was originally a longer section of gameplay on the planetoid, presumably continuing after Catherine Foster was attacked by the Facehugger. A lot of concept artwork exists of the interiors of the Anesidora's bridge, so it is likely that Foster was brought on-board the ship in this section of the game.
In pursuit of Samuels and Taylor, Ripley encounters Seegson Security men who are raiding the civilian encampment in Sevastopol's mall, stealing their supplies and killing any who resist. While Seegson Security were essentially cut from the game, their corrupt dealings are the subject of several audio and text logs, and concept art of their operatives can be found in The Art of Alien: Isolation. References to their original guns (simply named "SMG") can still be found in the game and the suits of the original Seegson Private Guards can be seen in the Marshal's office.In the cut scripts, Seegson Security are seen raiding civilian camps aboard Sevastopol and murdering the innocent. This is hinted at in the final game where Amanda walks past a security shutter with civilians and the Seegson Security behind it in mission 11, however the violent nature of the scenes in the original script are not seen, instead the Working Joes kill the Seegson Security and other survivors there.
Cooling Plant and Waste Management Edit
Little is known about these sections of gameplay, although the relevant sectors of the station are labelled on a map of Sevastopol that was drawn early in development (shown in next section - "Working with Marlow"), when the game was known as Alien Year Zero, indicating that the player was intended to visit them at some point. The game's files also refer to maps named "ENG_WasteChute", "ENG_WasteManagement" and "ENG_CoolingPlant". Although the reasons behind the removal of these maps is not known, it is possible that they were simply too complicated, or perhaps the segments would not have fit into the final story. Since these locations are labelled on the map of Sevastopol, referenced in the final game's map list and also shown to be pretty complete in modelling screenshots, we can assume that these sections made it quite far into development even though very little is known about them.
Working with MarlowEdit
Marlow is eventually caught and locked up in the Marshal headquarters (much like the finished game). However, it seems that he previously told Ripley about his plan to destroy Sevastopol — and the Xenomorphs — by blowing up the Anesidora. In one of the most crucial differences between the early story and the finished game, Ripley actually agrees with Marlow and helps him carry out this plan, realizing that the Xenomorphs need to be destroyed no matter what, knowing that it is likely only days or perhaps even hours before they have taken or killed every person on Sevastopol, at which point there will be no one left to warn any rescue teams that may come to investigate the station's silence. To this end, she cuts Marlow out of his cell and the two set off together, the player and Marlow working as a team. Their plan is to reach the Anesidora and activate the ship's self destruct system, then get to the Torrens and escape before detonation, taking with them as many survivors as they can (including Ricardo, whom Ripley promises to return for).Dialogue from Marlow in this section also implies he originally learned more about what happened to the Nostromo from the black box, including the fact that the ship was deliberately sent to LV-426 by Weyland-Yutani and that Ellen Ripley is still alive, adrift in space somewhere.
The Anesidora and Dry DocksEdit
Ripley and Marlow reach the Anesidora but find that Ransome had previously ordered the Working Joes to completely strip the vessel for clues regarding the Xenomorph, and as a result the self destruct device has been removed. Instead, Marlow decides to try and overload the engines manually. However, the process goes wrong, Marlow is killed and the Anesidora does not destroy Sevastopol.Looking in the game files, you can find references to maps such as "ENG_DryDock" and "ENG_DryDockCargo", which seem to tie in with the original script as being the area where the Anesidora is being held and stripped on the orders of Ransome. This could hint that the section of gameplay stayed quite late into development as well as other maps from this storyline also being referenced in the final game, however the map's completion before being removed is unknown. In other concept art, we can see a Seegson logo with the subtitle "Corporate Docks" which could perhaps be referring to this section.
The Gravity StabilizersEdit
In a last attempt to wipe out the Xenomorphs, Ripley goes to deactivate Sevastopol's gravity stabilizers, hoping to drop the station
into KG-348's atmosphere and destroy it. While this happens in the final game, it involves no input from Ripley, and the stabilizers are simply destroyed when the Anesidora explodes. On her way into the bowels of the station where the stabilizers are found, Ripley encounters the Hive for a second time, discovering that it is now considerably larger than when she previously found it. After reaching the stabilizers, Ripley succeeds in sabotaging them and seals Sevastopol's fate.There is a large amount of concept art showing the "Gravity Anchors" of Sevastopol and The Art of Alien: Isolation details some more information about them. Additionally, within the game files a reference can be found to a map directory (removed in the final build of the game) for "ENG_Gravity_Anchor". The game classifies each section of Sevastopol with a different prefix, the Gravity Anchors receiving the "ENG" prefix for Engineering as they were located at the bottom of Sevastopol. Due to the map being referenced within the final build of the game along and all the concept art available online, we can presume that this section of the game made it quite far into development.
- Cut scene script files on Steam
- ↑ "Steam Community - Alien: Isolation - The Original Story!". Retrieved on 2016-01-08.