Aliens: Dark Descent is a squad action game inspired by CRPGs

Aliens: Dark Descent squad game screenshot

With real-time skirmishes

Our first game reveal of Summer Game Fest 2022 involved Xenomorphs, and that had to be on someone’s bingo card, right? Tindalos Interactive and Focus Entertainment showed off a cinematic trailer for Aliens: Dark Descent with soldiers facing a seemingly hopeless situation — you know the one! — and a sneaky bit of isometric gameplay footage at the end. It’s a (single-player) squad-based action game. Not what I was expecting, at all.

The game’s official site fills in more info, with a mention of “permanent” death, “shortcuts” and “safe zones,” and “setting up motion trackers in a persistent world where your actions impact levels forever.” Aliens: Dark Descent will have threats like Facehuggers, Alien Queens, rogue humans, and a “host of horrifying creatures new to the Alien franchise.” On that note, this is an “original” story, so things could get… experimental.

As little as the trailer gives away, I like the sound of needing to manage “health, resources, and sanity, to avoid permanent team losses and mental breakdowns” between missions. Granted, I’d do a terrible job if games like XCOM are any indication, but this alien-infested train could derail in a memorable way. Can I name my squad after friends and family?

Fly me to the moon, Lethe

“The gameplay we have developed is unique, inspired from our favorite tactical and CRPG games and packaged in nerve-wracking, real-time action,” said Focus Entertainment managing director John Bert. The lighting looks good, I will say. Here’s another screen:

While this might not be the Alien: Isolation sequel we’ve all been waiting for, and the story trailer does little for me, the actual gameplay foundation here seems like a potentially strong setup. Until proven otherwise, I think it’s a decent use of the license. Part of it is going to come down to the controls, though, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Aliens: Dark Descent is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in 2023.

Jordan Devore
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random.