The Behemoth owner and artist Dan Paladin speaks with GamingBolt about the Alien Hominid re-imagination.
It’s been over a decade and a half since we first played The Behemoth’s co-op run ‘n gun shooter Alien Hominid, but soon, we’ll be revisiting its chaotic action with the unexpected re-imagination, Alien Hominid Invasion. With improvements and additions both visual and mechanical, the game is promising to modernize the original in an interesting way, and hoping to learn more about it, we recently some of our questions about the game to its developers. The questions below were answered by The Behemoth owner and artist Dan Paladin.
"Lots of people seem to think that we would never make a sequel for any of our games, but that simply isn’t true. We might make one someday, but it would have to absolutely hit all the right points at the right times."
What motivated the decision to revisit and reimagine Alien Hominid HD?
It’s been 16 years since Alien Hominid HD launched. During that time, a lot has changed for us. We first started noticing that the game wasn’t as accessible anymore due to generations of consoles fading out, and when we thought about how we wanted to make sure the “Alien” carried on, we realized that we now had the experience to make a game that was much improved from our earliest days — to take everything we’ve learned since then and rethink it. When we put together a prototype it ended up being too much fun for us to pass up!
Given that you’re revisiting this property, are you also considering taking it forward in the future with sequels and the like?
Lots of people seem to think that we would never make a sequel for any of our games, but that simply isn’t true. We might make one someday, but it would have to absolutely hit all the right points at the right times. If we ever do, we want it to be something that is greatly improved instead of just more of what we’ve already done, which means we need to keep gaining experience and growing as a team.
What sort of a balance are you looking to strike between older content that’s been redesigned and completely new content?
The original Alien Hominid HD by comparison was quite frankly brutal. It had one-hit-kills, getting locked on the screen with your threats, and very little wiggle room if any. All of those particular aspects are completely different in the new Alien Hominid Invasion — a health system with slow regeneration, complete freedom of movement, and just enough wiggle room to shake a stick at. We’ve also implemented 3 different difficulties to choose from, and up to 4 players online or offline (the original was up to 2 players)!
Making improvements to the game while maintaining the flavor was the key focus. Base abilities were rethought completely but carefully. For instance, the dig used to be a straight-down drill into the ground which then had you sitting in place. The new dig allows you to keep moving quickly underground, with the option to pop up from under enemies and knock them off balance. You can also not only dive through the air, but dive out of the air and smoothly transition right into dig-mode!
"There definitely are a lot of weapons for you to gain clearance to and try out as your invader grows."
Given that each individual player can set their own difficulty level even during co-op play, how does the game deal with balancing in terms of things like enemy health, progression, combat encounters and the like in such cases?
A player’s difficulty level directly ties in with their health system; for example, players on Insane only have 40% of the base health, while players on Friendly have 200%. Players in co-op games will retain their individual difficulty settings while playing together.
How much variety can players expect from Alien Hominid Invasion as far as weapons and their design are concerned?
There definitely are a lot of weapons for you to gain clearance to and try out as your invader grows. Just a sampling of them includes a photon gun, a shotgun, split laser, ice shot, and even a sword. Weapons have different strengths or weaknesses; where this gets extra interesting is that you can build your character around those strengths and weaknesses. The guns are really just the start of it, though!
Boosts, mutations, and heads all have different kinds of stats on them which are randomized on each drop of that item. I might find something that changes the way my gun works — a higher clip size or reload speed, or maybe more range or crit chance. Depending on what weapon I have and what my playstyle is I can build my alien to support a variety of tactics.
Each player experiences a different reward system as they level up; for instance, I might find the photon gun while you find the minigun at the same level. Rewards for levels are shuffled to enhance a multiplayer experience for each player while also making the solo experience exciting!
You’ve said that Alien Hominid Invasion is a non-linear experience- can you elaborate on that particular aspect of the game a little bit?
Players will find themselves creating their own destructive path through a city. From there, each level they select will be randomly generated from an assortment of handcrafted city-blocks. We want to create a different experience for players every time they play so that they’re always kept on their tiny alien toes!
"While there is a story, the focus is on rampaging around for as long as you’d like. There’s a big emphasis on replayability! "
Roughly how long will an average play through of Alien Hominid Invasion be?
While there is a story, the focus is on rampaging around for as long as you’d like. There’s a big emphasis on replayability!
Do you have any plans to launch on PS4?
We’d always like to bring our games to more platforms! This is going to be our first ever simultaneous launch to three platforms, and we’re excited by that challenge; after that, we’ll have to see where the future of the game takes us.
Given that next-gen consoles are right around the corner, have you given any thought to next-gen ports for the game?
We always like to bring our games to new platforms whenever we can! It’s still a bit too early to say, but we’ll have to see!