Giant Bomb News


Sega Pleases, Enrages Alien Fans With Isolation's Pre-Order DLC [UPDATED]

Most pre-order DLC has been garbage, but Alien: Isolation's reunites the cast of Ridley Scott's Alien. Shouldn't fans be happy with that?

UPDATE: We've since learned, via Facebook, the DLC will be available for everyone after launch. No word on pricing.


Sega's made its latest attempt to bring the xenomorph to video games, Alien: Isolation, all the more appealing with news it's roping in cast members from Ridley Scott's Alien for two bonus pre-order DLC.

Try to look at this image and remember most Alien games haven't been very good. But also remember I've loved what I've played of Isolation.

Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett), and Yaphet Kotto (Parker) have brought both their likeness and voice to these newly announced Alien tie-ins. Ian Holm (Ash) is, however, only a lookalike and soundalike. Fitting for a cyborg, no?

Developer Creative Assembly has built two missions plucked from two harrowing scenarios in Alien. Crew Expendable has players assuming the role of Ellen, Dallas, or Parker after the death of Brett, as they try to lure the xenomorph into the airlock. Last Survivor, however, has Ripley activating the self-destruct on the Nostromo before escaping on the Narcissus.

This sounds awesome, right? What's to be upset about? A couple of things.

One, it's pre-order DLC, which means Sega's asking players to gamble on Alien: Isolation's quality after the company pulled a bait-and-switch with Aliens: Colonial Marines that series fans are still licking their wounds over. (The Alien cycle is much like the Sonic cycle.) From Sega's perspective, it's brilliant, since it taps into the very same nostalgia Alien: Isolation is built around, even if it forgets Colonial Marines wasn't that long ago.

People have a right to be cynical about pre-order DLC, but isn't that because pre-order DLC has been mostly garbage? It's typically a useless extra weapon or a set of subpar missions clearly meant to serve only as a way to poke the other platform holder in the eye. With Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sega did exactly that, offering special weapons and customization. We can't be sure Crew Expendable or Last Survivor will be any good, but if we're to judge Sega's efforts by the efforts of other game companies, at least Sega's making a hell of a pre-order pitch. Pre-order DLC isn't going away, and it'd be nice if companies tried to make me mildly interested.

(For the record, pre-ordering in 2014 seems silly. You can buy almost any game digitally, which means scarcity is no longer a reason to pre-order. So companies ought to be to trying harder.)

Some of the reactions are, so far, pretty understandable.

That last tweet is exactly what Sega wants to hear. That's pre-order DLC working.

Even if you're okay with gambling on this latest attempt, you can't just load up Alien: Isolation on Amazon and call it a day. Last Survivor is exclusive to GameStop. It's not available at any other retailer. Pre-ordering Alien: Isolation at any retailer guarantees you an upgrade to the Nostromo Edition, which comes with Crew Expendable, but only GameStop pre-orders are upgraded to the even more special Nostromo Edition that comes with both Crew Expendable and Last Survivor. It's better than Batman: Arkham City, I guess?

Granted, if we're to take previous pre-order DLC as evidence, both Crew Expendable and Last Survivor will become available as paid downloadable content in the future. It makes sense. Sega can drive pre-orders now, rightly figuring some fans won't take the risk of this DLC truly being a pre-order exclusive, and those inevitably late to the party will pay something like $5 per mission. That's having your cake and eating it, too.

It's like clockwork. Sad, cynical clockwork. Sega, sadly, has not yet responded to my request for clarification on whether the pre-order DLC will eventually be available outside of pre-orders. I'd take that bet, though.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
227 Comments Refresh
Posted by Bipa

I don't know how to feel about this.

Posted by nmarchan

I hate everything about the pre-order DLC business model. There is literally zero upside for the consumer.

Posted by KillNGer

"I don't know who's worse. You don't them fucking each other over a goddamn percentage!"

Edited by StriderNo9

Yup, I was not sure if this was a preorder I wanted to make but with this new DLC I'm in, fuck it.

For the record I hate these competing preorder bonuses but if there is something I think may be cool and I already want the game, it doesn't hurt.

Posted by csl316

I went from being sort of interested to begrudgingly having to decide if I just want to jump in. Which makes me needlessly stressed about a purchase.

Ah well, worst case I'll just force myself to like it like I did with Time Commando as a kid.

Edited by BaconBuTTy

First mention of Gamestop is misspelled as Gamespot.

Posted by Swaboo

The only time pre-ordering kinda makes sense is when you can pre-load the game so that you have it installed as soon as it launches, but then if feels kinda silly to have the entire game on your hard drive and not being able to play it.

Edited by goldenwayne

"Last Survivor is exclusive to GameSpot." Man Danny O'Dwyer must be so happy having an exclusive game!

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

Well, if you're going to make a piece of dlc with the intent of enticing consumers to pre order, then that's the right kind to offer. I couldn't give two shits about a weapon or character skin, but I do care about a couple of exclusives mission pulled directly out of one of my favorite movies. I feel the same way as that last tweet. I didn't want to pre order, but now I must.

Posted by TurboMan

You know, you CAN cancel preorders....

Posted by patrickklepek

"Last Survivor is exclusive to GameSpot." Man Danny O'Dwyer must be so happy having an exclusive game!

Shh, Danny paid me off! I have made that typo for decades. I can't be alone there.

Posted by KaiUnderneath

Priority One:

Insure maximum number of pre-orders before criticism.

All other priorities secondary.

Customers expendable.

Posted by Delta_Ass

Exclusive to GameSpot? What do I get for preordering on IGN?

Posted by BeachThunder

Hellllllllpp.... *voice distorts as he gets sucked into the fan-service vortex*

Posted by cooljammer00

Jim Sterling and GAF seem to be reporting that the exclusive pre order DLC WILL be available for purchase later, because of course it would, because SEGA isn't going to say no to more money.

Posted by TheLastGunslinger

I was going to wait on this game because of the Colonial Marines fiasco and because I already plan on picking up Dragon Age: Inquisition on October 7th. Not only has this gotten me to pre-order, it has gotten me to pre-order at Gamestop, I store I actively try to avoid.

You win Sega, I can't resist content like this when Alien is one of my favorite film franchises.

Posted by fargofallout

This is shitty, pre-ordering is pointless, and this actually suckers people into pre-ordering a game before they know if it's any good. I hate the fact that publishers can get people to buy games before anyone knows if the game is worthwhile - especially when there are so many reasons to be cautious (in this case, the publisher and the track record of the franchise).

Posted by Coolarman

I mean its not like Mass Effect 3 pre order dlc where large pieces of the lore were within that dlc and probably should have been in the main game

Posted by Twisted_Scot

I pre-order most games I want to pick up purely based on having it sitting in my mailbox or on my table waiting for me to play once I finish work as I am nowhere near a games store, so while I see the benefit of pre-orders but the DLC stuff is getting pretty dirty. If it's cosmetic I could care less but to hold off on full missions etc? If it was a timed FREE piece of DLC id be OK with it but I think we all know how these things play out :(

Edited by MannyMAR

As much as I like Alien, I'm going to hold out until the reviews are out. No point in getting that DLC if the game sucks in the long run.

Edited by Jojojimmeny

This won't sway me, but I have to admit it does sound better than the majority of pre-order bonuses I've seen.

The only time I'll pre-order a game these days is if I know I want to play it at launch regardless, and Steam is offering a small discount for pre-ordering... And even that doesn't happen very often.

Posted by liquidsnakegfer9

If the dlc is anything like other pre order dlc then it will be pretty light on depth even if it does have original cast members from alien. Also that whole gamestop exclusive thing is completely stupid for PC gamers, I mean do they really think I'm gonna go pre order a physical copy of a pc game in 2014?

Edited by MattBosten

Have no issue with Sega doing this, as it at least appears that significant effort is going into ensuring that the pre-order DLC is of a decent quality and as Patrick identifies, it will likely be put up for sale afterwards, thus fulfilling it's role as an incentive to pre-order but not making this DLC exclusive to those who do. I would rather something of actual quality is put up as an incentive, rather than a host of different skin/weapon packs.

The reality is that every consumer has a choice, do you really have to have the DLC on day one? Go ahead and pre-order, or you can exercise restraint and wait until the quality of said game and DLC is more of a known quantity before making your purchasing decision.

Posted by Benmo316

I'm starting to hate video games more and more these days.

Edited by Veektarius

No, the reason people hate preorder DLC is not because the quality sucks.

Posted by PoToSkull

I buy all my games digtially, and the DLC is only for GameStop Retail copies? Shouldn't Sega appease the people who buy digitally. We're the ones who won't sell our games a week later and cause GameStop to receive all the profits on future sales.

Edited by GaspoweR

It is a gamble but if the DLC ends up being fantastic anyway, then it's money well spent especially for those people who are already hyped for the game. For those who are tentative, well they can always play the patient game and wait for the price to drop and just buy the DLC separately and still end up paying for a lot less than the full price of the game at launch. Well, that is assuming that the pre-order DLCs would be available as a separate purchase.

Hopefully, SEGA not responding to inquiries if the DLC will be available as a separate purchase is a sign that they are planning on doing that after a set amount of time. If they didn't plan on doing that, I'm sure they would already have replied with a "no, this is not a timed exclusive" or something like that.

If it is a timed exclusive, they have to keep silent since this is a deal that they worked out with retailers. They wouldn't want to upset Gamestop by telling people ahead of release that Gamestop's "exclusive" DLC is only for a set amount of time.

Posted by RonnieBarzel

Has there ever been a DLC pre-order "prize" for a console video game that didn't later make it out as normal DLC available to everyone? (I had to add that "console" qualifier as I'm willing to be Blizzard has done something like that with the WoW expansions, or some MMO publisher for its PC game.)

Posted by subyman

The biggest problem with adding anything more than a few exclusive weapons/skins to a preorder DLC is that it nearly requires a preorder to get the full experience, especially with story missions such as these. The sad part is that they seem to be taking the most nostalgic missions from the full game and coercing fans to preorder to get what they wanted most from the game. For me, it just makes me feel disenfranchised from the absolutely transparent attempt to wring a preorder out of fans, for which I may pass entirely. I certainly won't preorder.

I skipped DA2's launch specifically because of the DLC mess. I ended up buying it a year later with all the DLC for around $5. I'll probably do the same here, although I would entertain purchasing it at launch if it came with the full game. This kind of stuff has the opposite effect on me. I'll refuse to buy out of spite; there are certainly plenty of other games to play.

Edited by Hassun

Fork Parker right on the money as usual.

Posted by Shivoa

I wonder how much content they're making with that cast. Maybe $40 of DLC. So pre-order now from Gamestop and you get this much game, plus (potentially) the nagging feeling you should spend $40 more on the post-launch DLC to complete the work hinted at from this announced content.

Or wait for a $20 digital sale for the GotY edition and enjoy it all, the complete package, for so much less. And this makes me want to pre-order now because?

Posted by ErinIsADrunk

What happened to the days when you ran out and pre-ordered a game because it looked really awesome and you just wanted to play it on day one. Now it is this constant scheming my publishers and retailers to try get you to pre-order something you might be okay with waiting to hear some opinions on after it is out.

This is an extra bummer because unlike most pre-order DLC this actually sounds kind of rad.

Posted by Jesus_Phish

@cooljammer00: Has there ever been exclusive pre-order content that didn't wind up for sale a few months down the line?

Posted by RazielCuts

I will say though, that render looks preeeeetty good.

Posted by JesterArbo

I do agree with Patrick that in this day and age, pre-orders are a very silly proposition. If people don't like these pre-order bonuses, then why not show publishers by not pre-ordering games. Just stop. I haven't pre-ordered a game in a few years because I really don't like the "exclusive" bonus idea, especially if I have to purchase the game at a certain retailer to receive a specific bonus. The only way this will change is if there is a major shift in how many pre-orders are received.

Edited by RuthLoose

I'm not going to use my comment to complain about the nature of pre-order DLC, instead I will state my concern that Signourney Weaver is going to sound like a mature-ass young woman as a now 64-year-old woman.

Then again, more power to SEGA for rounding up that legendary cast for another romp through one of the most incredible horror films of all time. I can't believe that many old-ass English/American actors would agree to such a project.

EDIT: I use the word ass as a grammatical modifier a lot.

Edited by DarthOrange

I agree with Jim Sterling. I no longer buy the first run of games from Bethesda and Warner for that same reason. What interest I had in this Alien game has now gone down the toilet. Congrats Sega!

Posted by Omnomnivore

I wish I care, but I don't. Happy to see people out there pissed off about this, though. Hopefully their displeasure is reflected, but I doubt it.

Posted by conmulligan

Eh, I find it kind of hard to get worked up about this. It'll be available for purchase shortly after launch, and probably won't be very good.

Posted by White

Why don't people pre-order and then cancel when the game reviews turns out shit?

Posted by Humanity

That sort of DLC is always available to purchase later so it's not a huge deal.

Posted by paulunga

I completely agree with Jim Sterling. I never preorder games and only very rarely buy them digitally at launch. It just seems so much smarter to buy them a year later with all the DLC for 40 bucks (or potentially much less if a Steam sale is involved) than paying full price for something, missing out on a bunch of stuff and going in almost blind, hoping it's gonna be a good game. For example, I was interested in Watch Dogs before it came out, now that it seems like kind of a mediocre open-world game I can wait until it's 20 bucks on Steam.

On PC there's the additional benefit that drivers have matured and you possibly upgraded your rig since the game originally came out so you can crank up the settings and make it look that much prettier.

Posted by Discoman

Neither DLC sounds like it is particularly long and worth a pre-order. Creative Assembly DLC has gone a little crazy, like for Fall of the Samurai (Shogun 2) the DLC game had pre-order DLC from specific retailers. I'm pretty sick of it this shit.

Posted by Corevi

@white: Review Embargos, if you preordered from an online retailer like Amazon chances are its already shipped by the time reviews come out.

Edited by SASnake

@nmarchan: ..what about those who were going to preorder it anyway?

Posted by mrsmiley

@patrick if you pre-order from amazon, you don't pay a dime until it is shipped. most games have reviews out a few days before launch, which allows you to see if it's something you really want to spend money on. if it looks like crap, just cancel the preorder, no harm done. i actually pre-ordered destiny WAAAY back in the day just so i could get into the beta to test it out. if i don't like it after playing the beta, i can cancel the pre-order. no harm, no foul. :)

Edited by mrsmiley

@patrickklepek if you pre-order from amazon, you don't pay a dime until it is shipped. most games have reviews out a few days before launch, which allows you to see if it's something you really want to spend money on. if it looks like crap, just cancel the preorder. i actually pre-ordered destiny WAAAY back in the day just so i could get into the beta to test it out. if i don't like it after playing the beta, i can cancel the pre-order. no harm, no foul. :)

Posted by Chrjz

Ugh, no, keep pre-order stuff inconsequential and dumb. Don't encourage them. Pre-orders are wholly unnecessary.