While it is common for video games to have their plot edited or altered during development, Alien: Isolation is notable in that it underwent a major re-write around a year before release, altering the game's story quite substantially; while key events remained the same, the paths that led to them were originally quite different and the game seems as though it was initially intended to be significantly longer. Several characters also had notably different personalities and goals in earlier versions of the story. The finished game still contains data relating to the earlier plot, in the form of unused script files found within the Xbox 360 build and references to cut maps and unused events within the standard build of the game.
Note that because the cut material has been pieced together from unused script files, the events and locations of these scenes, 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. However, some sections are verified in legitimacy through concept art found either online or in The Art of Alien: Isolation, as well as through references to cut maps within the game. A developer of the game noted that a lot of early scripts were unofficial and never seen by 20th Century Fox.
A full transcript of the deleted scenes scripts can be read here.
The game originally opened with a prologue sequence that touched upon events at Sevastopol Station before the arrival of the Torrens. This section featured stories from most of the game's supporting characters, including Marshal Waits, Julia Jones, Zach Watson, Chief, Ricardo, Hughes, Dr. Kuhlman, Barker, Smythe, Ransome, Spedding and Dr. Lingard, as well as characters ultimately cut from the final game such as Eisner, Jackson and Harper. Events that would have been shown during this sequence include:
- Eisner getting his family aboard the Solace and escaping Sevastopol.
- Waits and his men forcibly ejecting all civilians from the Spaceflight Terminal.
- Hughes being duped by APOLLO into shutting down communications on the station and then being thrown out by a Working Joe when he attempts to revert the lockdown.
- Kuhlman trying to break into San Cristobal to remove the Chestburster that has been implanted inside him.
- Ransome trying to reap financial reward from the Xenomorphs, including ordering the Working Joes to strip the Anesidora for clues and attempting to escape the station with the information he has.
- Spedding investigating the strange behavior of the androids on the station.
- Waits announcing his intention to resign following the incident and holding himself partially responsible.
- Lingard revealing that she is involved in the trading of black market medical supplies, which are brought to Sevastopol by Marlow.
- An engineer named Jackson witnessing the Drone attacking his colleague and lover Harper.
Some of these events are still referenced in the game (primarily through various archive logs) but many were deleted from the story entirely. Among the more interesting changes revealed by the script for this sequence is the fact that originally, it was Heyst and Meeks who were attacked by Facehuggers on LV-426, not Foster. Waits also makes mention of a "contingent of specialists who've arrived from Weyland-Yutani" and are attempting to help him deal with the Xenomorph outbreak — in the finished game, the only people from Weyland-Yutani to ever set foot on the station are those from the Torrens, but Waits' comment in the cut opening implies the company had already put a team aboard, presumably to help them recover Xenomorph samples or a specimen. The files also reveal that in this earlier version of the game, Dr. Lingard recognizes the potential financial value of the Xenomorph and sends samples to the Gemini Exoplanet Solutions team herself; in the finished game, it is Ransome who does this, against Lingard's will (as revealed in the game's archive logs).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 removed as it was fairly complex yet not particularly essential to the overall story. However, some of the dialogue snippets from this section were subsequently recycled as archive logs in the final game.
- See also: Solace
A significant scene was removed before the Torrens reaches Sevastopol in which the crew were to wake from hypersleep only to realize they are not yet at their destination — instead, they have been roused early in response to an emergency SOS signal (mirroring the beginning of Alien). They quickly learn that the signal is coming from a ship, the Solace, which is drifting lifeless in space. Ripley boards the vessel to investigate, finding that the life support systems have failed and the interior is in a deep freeze. She goes to the engine room to reactivate the vessel's power, noting, "This ship wasn't built for deep space travel; the engine had no FTL drive. It shouldn't be out here."
Ripley soon discovers evidence that those on board had drawn up a rota for sharing the hypersleep pods; evidently the ship launched with far more people than it was capable of carrying for an extended period of time. Shortly afterwards, Ripley finds the first bodies, passengers or crew who froze to death when life support failed, noting grimly that "it wasn't quick". Verlaine instructs Ripley to leave, pointing out that Weyland-Yutani will sue her if her passenger is killed before she can deliver her to Sevastopol as ordered, but Ripley refuses until she is sure there are no survivors aboard. Continuing her search, she finds blood, "a lot of it", along with several audio logs recorded by Eisner that reveal the desperation of those aboard the ship — including passengers resorting to violence as the pressure to share the few cryo tubes mounted, as well as his dwindling sanity when he is finally left alone in the darkness aboard the stricken vessel. Eventually, Ripley finds the bodies of the remaining passengers "squashed into the hypersleep berths" and learns to her horror that the Solace came from Sevastopol. Suddenly, the derelict ship begins to break apart. Ripley scrambles back to the airlock and is rescued by Samuels, sent aboard by Verlaine to bring her back. During her frantic escape, Ripley apparently sees evidence or glimpses of — but does not directly encounter — a Xenomorph, which presumably dies when the ship breaks apart.The Solace is featured and explicitly named 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 can also be found in the console version of Alien: Isolation, along with references to a "corridor decompression" animation sequence in the final build of the game.
Back aboard the Torrens
The removed Solace scene would have been followed by an additional section set aboard the Torrens once Ripley has returned to the ship. In it, the crew argue about the decision to investigate the Solace — Samuels chastises Verlaine for letting Ripley go, but Verlaine points out that there are penalties for ignoring a distress signal. When Samuels continues to insist it unnecessarily jeopardized their mission, Ripley points out that she does not officially work for Weyland-Yutani and was therefore well within her rights to risk her own life investigating the derelict ship. After Verlaine and Samuels go to continue the debate in private, Ripley and Taylor discuss Samuels, whom Ripley snidely labels "a real company guy".Notable in this deleted scene is how drastically different Samuels' personality is compared to the final game; whereas he is portrayed as being amicable and compassionate in the finished product, the script for this scene shows him to be far colder and sterner, caring only for the mission to Sevastopol and condemning the search for possible survivors aboard the Solace as an unnecessary risk. As Ripley herself puts it, he is a company man, only interested in Weyland-Yutani and its interests. This shift in personality ties into later events involving him and Taylor that were likewise cut from the game.
Kuhlman impregnatedFollowing on from the revelation that Dr. Kuhlman is impregnated with a Chestburster in the game's deleted opening, a later added scene revealed that the doctor has been using patients, or possibly other survivors on Sevastopol, as test subjects to try and work out how to safely 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.
More than oneAfter Ripley has jettisoned the first Drone in the Project KG-348 module and returned to Sevastopol, her original dialogue implies that she already suspected there was more than one of the creatures on the station. As she tells Waits, "We're not out of this. I don't think it was the only one. Not after what I saw in Medical." This is contrary to the finished game, in which the existence of multiple Xenomorphs is a plot twist held back until the player discovers the Hive in Reactor Maintenance.
Pursuing MarlowOne 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 was to be on the run somewhere on Sevastopol, and he was to have 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 has been dealt with, Marshal Waits sends Ripley after Marlow, learning from a recording she recovered previously that he is hiding in the Corporate Penthouses in the Solomons Habitation Tower.
Explosive trapsAn interesting plot change revealed by some of the unused scripts involves the explosive traps set for the Xenomorph all over Sevastopol — originally, it seems Marlow was the one responsible, not Waits and his men.
Ripley's pursuit of Marlow requires her to find a private Seegson shuttle, the only way for her to reach the secure Corporate Penthouses. This leads her back to the San Cristobal Medical Facility, where a shuttle belonging to an executive named Barker, who recently came to the hospital for treatment and subsequently died, is still docked. When she finds the shuttle requires a security keycard, she must search for Barker's body in the facility, eventually locating it — and his personal effects — in the morgue. While there, she discovers the bodies of Heyst and Meeks, dead from the Chestbursters they unwittingly brought aboard. Multiple sound effects still exist in the game files for discovering the medical records of the Anesidora crew.
Interestingly, the script files reveal that Ripley would have needed to replace several safety stabilizers in order to access the morgue; this mirrors how the player must replace several coolant cylinders in order to access the morgue's cold rooms and progress through San Cristobal in mission 6 of the finished game. It seems highly probable that this brief and otherwise inconsequential morgue section of gameplay was simply recycled from this cut scene, especially as activating the rewire system to open the vent out of the area also opens a small drawer nearby, which presumably would have contained Barker's personal effects. In the final game this drawer contains the ID tag of C. McCormack.Some mentions of Barker can still be found in the final game — including an archive log and two unused game models (a statue and a cigar packet). His name also appears on the patient list found on a whiteboard in the medical canter.
The Corporate Penthouses
Upon arriving in the Corporate Penthouses, Ripley tracks Marlow to the office of Seegson executive Ransome, who, like Marlow, originally had a larger role in the game. She realizes that Ransome 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 archive 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 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 otherwise have been wasted effort. Multiple animations and sounds for the deleted level, M15, are still referenced and sometimes present in the game files.
Samuels and Taylor break out
Although initially Amanda's allies, in the original cut story both Samuels and Taylor later turn hostile, breaking out of the Marshal bureau while Ripley is in pursuit of Marlow and attempting to escape the station on their own, presumably taking with them any evidence of the Xenomorphs they have been able to recover. In this version of events, it is apparently Taylor who kills Waits, not the rampaging Working Joes as in the final game. Ricardo is also shot and wounded in this confrontation.As they flee, Samuels contacts Verlaine aboard the Torrens and requests extraction, lying to Verlaine that Ripley had been killed aboard Sevastopol. While it is assumed they are unsuccessful in their plans to abandon Ripley, their ultimate fates are not revealed in the missing script sections.
In pursuit of Samuels and Taylor, Ripley encounters Seegson Security operatives who are raiding the civilian encampment in the Galleria mall, stealing their supplies and killing any who resist. Ripley eventually finds that they have slaughtered everyone in the shelter.While Seegson Security appear only fleetingly in the finished game, their corrupt dealings are the subject of several archive logs, and concept art of their operatives can be found in The Art of Alien: Isolation. Many references to their guns (simply named "SMG") can still be found in the game along with models of the weapon's magazine. Concept art also exists of civilians taking cover from gunfire, presumably from the security forces. The suits of the original Seegson Private Guards can be seen on display in the Marshal's office.
Given that Marlow was on the run on Sevastopol in the early part of the game, it seems as though the flashback to LV-426 originally took place much later in the story, after Ripley catches him and locks him up in the Marshal headquarters. During the flashback, the initial trek across LV-426 would have been longer, with the Anesidora crew occasionally pausing to take geological and atmosphere samples along the way. Interestingly, the unused script files for this scene reveal that Foster was the one to stay aboard the Anesidora, while Lewis accompanied Marlow, Heyst and Meeks to the derelict; Foster and Lewis' roles are swapped in the finished game.
Unused audio files also suggest Marlow was originally intended to provide narration over at least some of the LV-426 flashback sequence.
LV-426 part IIIThe LV-426 flashback in the final build of the game takes place on the maps "BSP_LV426_PT01" and "BSP_LV426_PT02"; however, a third map named "BSP_LV426_PT03" is also referenced, indicating that there was originally a third section of gameplay on the planetoid, presumably continuing after the crew comes into contact with the Eggs. A significant amount of concept art exists of the interior of the Anesidora's bridge, so it seems likely the player may have returned to the ship in this section of the game. It is unknown why this sequence was cut, although it could have been due to it playing too similar to the events of the original film, Alien, or simply time restrictions during development.
Working with MarlowAnother significant difference in the original scripts centers on Marlow's plan to kill the Xenomorphs by destroying Sevastopol. Instead of escaping and carrying out this mission alone, he apparently informs Ripley of his plan while he is locked up in the Marshal bureau. This would have led to one of the most significant differences between the early story and the finished game — Ripley actually agrees with Marlow and helps him carry out this plan, realising that it is likely only days or perhaps even hours before the Xenomorphs 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 helps Marlow cut himself 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 (which is being kept in a dry dock on the station) and activate the ship's self destruct system. They would then get to the Torrens and escape Sevastopol before the detonation, taking with them as many survivors as they can (including Ricardo, whom Ripley promises to return for).
Some of the deleted sections where Ripley works with Marlow contain dialogue that implies she originally learned more about the disappearance of the Nostromo, including the fact that it was deliberately routed to LV-426 by Weyland-Yutani. She also learns that her mother may still be alive, adrift in space somewhere, leading her to promise Marlow, "Once this crap is over I can start trying to find her." It is assumed she received this information from Marlow himself, who no doubt gleaned it from the Nostromo's black box.In a near-final build of the game, Ripley's understanding of her mother's fate had changed somewhat — when Marlow informs her of the equipment he found inside the derelict on LV-426, left by the crew of the Nostromo, Ripley assumes her mother is dead, concluding, "She's never coming back. My mother's never coming back." Ultimately, these conversations were removed, perhaps as they may have interfered with a potential sequel.
Better that wayHaving joined forces, Ripley and Marlow head to the Anesidora; along the way, they encounter a group of armed survivors preparing to execute another who was previously attacked by a Facehugger. Dialogue in the script seems to imply the player would have been given the choice to either execute the infected survivor themselves, or have Marlow do it. Afterwards, Marlow would reassure Ripley, "It's better that way. I've seen what happens."
Blowing up the AnesidoraRipley and Marlow eventually reach the Anesidora, only to find that Ransome has previously ordered the Working Joes to completely strip the vessel for clues regarding the Xenomorph. The Joes are still hard at work, complicating their efforts to get onto the ship and blow it up. Marlow uses himself as bait to lure the Joes away so that Ripley can get aboard; the two later rendezvous aboard the vessel, but discover the self destruct device has been removed. As a workaround, Marlow decides to try and overload the engines manually (the same process he employs to destroy the ship in the finished game), but the process goes wrong and he is killed, although in his final moments he saves Ripley's life. Although there is an explosion, the blast is limited and it does not destroy Sevastopol.
Return to the Hive
In a last attempt to wipe out the Xenomorphs, Ripley decides to deactivate Sevastopol's orbital stabilizers (referred to as gravity anchors in the script and concept art), hoping to drop the entire station into KG-348's atmosphere. On the way to the stabilizer controls on the engineering decks, she was to encounter the Hive for a second time, discovering that it is now considerably larger than when she previously found it. Observing the rapid expansion, she asks Ricardo, "Can you imagine what would happen if this thing got loose in one of the colonies?" which would have been an obvious reference to Aliens and the fate of Hadley's Hope.This scene likely explains why so much "Hive" concept art was produced that bears little resemblance to the Hive discovered in the final game.
The gravity anchors
Upon reaching the stabilizer control room, Ripley sets about shutting down the stabilizer arrays manually. However, when she deactivates the first of the three arrays, APOLLO detects her actions and locks down the facility, halting her progress. Ripley has Ricardo impersonate the facility's chief engineer, a man named Lee, to convince APOLLO she has been apprehended and to lift the lockdown. The ruse works, but even so, Ripley's progress through the facility is treacherous; at one point she has to crawl through a heat exhaust vent, timing her progress to avoid being incinerated.
Nevertheless, Ripley succeeds in deactivating a second stabilizer, thereby degrading Sevastopol's orbit and sealing its fate. Ricardo contacts her and informs her there are "creatures on the move — all over the station"; apparently the Xenomorphs are somehow aware the station has been compromised. He goes on to explain his attempts to hack Seegson Communications and contact Verlaine have failed, and so Ripley suggests she go there herself. Ricardo warns her that someone there is already trying to access systems; this is presumably the Seegson Security personnel that Ripley encounters there in the finished game, who are trying to call in the Torrens so they can hijack it and escape Sevastopol.While Sevastopol's fate in the final game is much the same, it involves no input from Ripley, and the stabilizers are simply destroyed when the Anesidora explodes from Marlow's sabotage.
Ricardo's fateOriginally, the timeline of Ricardo's demise was such that his death by Chestburster was to happen in front of Ripley, taking place after she realigns Sevastopol's communications antenna to contact the Torrens (the point at which she finds him subdued by a Facehugger in the finished game). In this version of events, his impregnation was to take place "off-screen" much earlier, during the period Ripley is cut off from him while inside APOLLO. Subsequently, he would have recovered with little memory or understanding of what had happened (much like Kane in Alien) and would keep his growing fears that something was wrong to himself, up until the point the Chestburster emerges. However, upon reflection, the development team realized that the gestation period should be considerably longer — the process took around 24 hours in Alien. Thus, Ricardo's fate was changed so that he simply falls victim to a Facehugger later in the game, forcing Ripley to leave him behind. Writer Will Porter later accepted the change, stating, "That came with its own added elements of horror, when he presumably regains consciousness off-screen, so we gained something there."
Amanda's true nature
In the initial pitch of Alien: Isolation (when it was known as Alien Year Zero), Amanda Ripley was actually an android. This fact would not be revealed to the player until the end of the game. The developers originally planned to make her a synthetic out of concern that the player would not believe Amanda would go searching for her mother in deep space; her being an android programmed to do so would provide solid motive. However, as development progressed and Amanda became a more prominent character, the developers felt that it would be inappropriate to keep the android twist in the story. The idea was cut and the game's plot was then re-written, supposedly around a year prior to release.
Alternate scenes with Marlow aboard the Anesidora
After the Solace was cut from Alien: Isolation in a story rewrite, its map and mission were repurposed to become the Anesidora in the final game. This gave the opportunity for Marlow's death which featured in the final story - blowing up the Anesidora close to Sevastopol in space to destabilise its orbit. Previously in older story revisions, Marlow's deaths included: an attempt to blow up the Anesidora while in dry dock, and being killed by a Xenomorph late into the game.
Different iterations for his death aboard the Anesidora can be found in the final game's files. Three revisions are seen:
- Version 1 (cut): Marlow enters, kills Taylor, set the overload going, and shoots himself.
- Version 2 (cut): Marlow enters, sets the overload going, and sits down.
- Version 3 (final): Marlow enters, sets the overload going, Taylor kills him and then dies trying to stop it.
An alternate ending to the game can be found within some concept art for Mission 18.
As in the released version of the game, Amanda successfully releases the Torrens from the docking clamp outside of the tow platform by activating the emergency explosive bolts. However, the blast launches her into space — evidently she did not tether herself to the ship beforehand in this version of events — along with several of the Xenomorphs that had been about to attack her. The Torrens is forced to abandon Ripley and escape the gravitational pull of Sevastopol before it drags the vessel down with it (similar to a sinking ship dragging survivors under). It moves out of orbit as Verlaine attempts to contact an unconscious Ripley, who is shown floating through space before the title and end credits appear. Thus, the entire epilogue section present in the finished game — in which Amanda gets back aboard the Torrens and is confronted by one last Xenomorph — is absent.Interestingly, the absence of the epilogue means that Verlaine and Connor clearly survive in this version of events, while Amanda's ultimate fate remains in question. This ending also notably recalls certain fan theories that the epilogue section of the game may in fact be a dream, and that Amanda never actually sets foot aboard the Torrens after being thrown away and presumably knocked unconscious by the detonation of the release bolts. Evidence suggested to support this theory include the fact the Torrens seems unlikely to have escaped the failing Sevastopol if the crew had been killed by the Xenomorph aboard, and the fact that the final section of gameplay arguably possesses a certain dream-like quality.
- Files within the game indicate the "Extras" tab on the main menu was originally going to include an option titled "Deleted Scenes", containing information about cut content alongside developer diaries. Why this option was itself ultimately deleted from the game is unknown. The developer diaries were instead released to YouTube.
- Cut scene script files on Steam
- Alien: Isolation deleted scenes — transcript — A full transcript of the deleted scene scripts.
- Alien: Isolation cut content — A list of other content cut from the game.
- Alien: Isolation maps — A list of maps used in the game, including the known unused maps.
- Alien: Isolation missions — A list of missions in the game's campaign, including the known unused missions.
- Alien: Isolation cutscenes — A list of cutscenes in the game's campaign, including known removed scenes.
- ↑ "Steam Community - Alien: Isolation - The Original Story!". Retrieved on 2016-01-08.
- ↑ "SoundCloud - Marlow Cut Audio". Retrieved on 2018-01-22.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "AVP Galaxy - Interview with Alien: Isolation Writers Will Porter and Dion Lay". Retrieved on 2015-02-03.