“Alien: Blackout,” the mobile survival horror game revealed earlier this week, is part of a broader 20th Century Fox initiative to tell new stories in the franchise around Amanda Ripley. The initiative, branded around the “ReadWatchPlay” slogan, won’t include any other games, nor is it tied to a new feature film, 20th Century Fox’s FoxNext tells Variety.
“ReadWatchPlay is referring to individual entries for each one,” said TQ Jefferson, vice president of external development at FoxNext. “It’s exploring different elements of Amanda Ripley’s saga. ‘Alien: Blackout’ is a standalone premium mobile game. It’s not promotional for any other component of the Alien franchise.
“The slogan is the rallying cry for the activity that is going to touch upon Amanda Ripley’s story in the immediate future.”
The official Alien Twitter account started using the “ReadWatchPlay” hashtag earlier this month as it stoked interested in the coming announcement of the “Alien: Blackout” game. Unfortunately, the buzz the hashtag generated may have been a bit too effective, leading some fans to believe that it was building up to news of a new “Alien: Isolation” game, a survival horror title released in 2014 which starred Amanda Ripley, daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley.
When news hit that the game wasn’t an “Isolation” sequel and was destined for smartphones, some fans took to Twitter to express their displeasure.
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Jefferson said on Wednesday that the company was aware of the backlash Blizzard recently received after it announced a Diablo mobile game when fans were hoping for a console or computer title. But he said he doesn’t think it’s the same.
“I can see some people making a connection between ‘Diablo’ and this, but I think it’s a bit of a leap,” he said. “The ‘Diablo’ backlash was focused on free-to-play and mobile, our game is a premium mobile game where you pay one price and you’re done. It’s a contained experience.”
Jefferson said that he believes 20th Century Fox and the stewards of the Alien brand believe they are in touch with their fan base’s expectations and that they were aware that some wanted the news to be about “Isolation 2.”
“But it’s not that binary,” he said. “There are a lot of stories we can tell in the franchise. We can tell more stories about Amanda Ripley without it being an ‘Isolation’ game.”
He added that “Isolation 2” is not in development, but that the PC shooter from Cold Iron Studios is still in the works.
The timing for the “ReadWatchPlay” campaign aligns with the 40th Anniversary of the original “Alien” movie. While the film was first released on May 25, 1979 in the United States, April 26 is viewed by many as the official “Alien” day and Jefferson noted that it was a “scant few months away. We have a lot of different plans going forward.”
Those plans likely include revealing what sort of works will be tied to the “Read” and the “Watch” in that campaign.
While the initial reaction to the news of what “Alien: Blackout” is — a survival horror game on mobile staring Amanda Ripley — hasn’t been overwhelmingly positive, Jefferson said he is happy to see that it has people talking about the franchise. A team was in New York this week to show off the game under embargo, which lifts next week.
“Once they hear more about the game they’ll realize that it is its own experience,” he said, “and that it’s as true to Alien as anything we ever made.”