Aliens: Crucible | Why Obsidian scrapped its RPG tie-in

alien crucible

Aliens: Crucible was billed as a “terrifying” RPG from Fallout: New Vegas developer, Obsidian. Its lead developer explains why it was cancelled.


We’ve seen all kinds of Alien video game tie-ins over the decades since the first film came out in 1979. There’s been the fantastic (Alien: Isolation), the dreadful (Aliens: Colonial Marines), and the relatively obscure (see Concept Software’s surprisingly unsettling ZX Spectrum strategy title, Alien).

Then there’s Aliens: Crucible – an RPG in development at Fallout: New Vegas studio Obsidian Entertainment. In the works between the years 2006-2009, the project was previously described by Obsidian’s Chris Avellone as “basically Mass Effect but more terrifying,” according to an old VG247 interview. He then added that the project ended at the prototyping stage due to a strained relationship with publisher, Sega.

More recently, however, project lead Josh Sawyer has talked a bit more about what exactly happened to Aliens: Crucible. Writing on Twitter, Sawyer described a “lot of dysfunction” at Obsidian, partly because the studio “didn’t have directors at the time.”

“Progress on the game was very slow,” Sawyer continued, “especially when it came to creating workable game levels. We had another game in development with Sega at the time, Alpha Protocol, and Sega (understandably IMO) shelved Aliens in favour of AP.”

Sawyer later explained that, while Aliens: Crucible had a valuable name attached to it, Alpha Protocol was “much further along overall” when it came to development.

“There were a lot of cool ideas in the works, but you don’t ship ideas!” wrote Sawyer. “The biggest lesson I learned from the experience is that if you don’t have playable levels, you don’t have much of a game.”

You can see Sawyer’s full Twitter thread above.

If you’re looking for a more cerebral Alien-themed experience, fear not – Tindalos Interactive has its real-time strategy opus, Aliens: Dark Descent coming up on 20 June 2023.

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