Sega’s forthcoming Alien: Isolation tells an original story about Amanda Ripley (briefly mentioned in Aliens) set 15 years after the first film. But Amanda is about to be overshadowed by her very famous mother: Sigourney Weaver will play Ellen Ripley for the first time since 1997’s Alien: Resurrection—albeit in digital form—in two pieces of downloadable content for the game.
“For us to have Sigourney Weaver reprise her role for the first time in videogames is something truly special,” says creative lead Alistair Hope.
“Crew Expendable” is free with preorders of Alien: Isolation, and it reunites Weaver with Alien costars Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, and Yaphet Kotto, who all lent their likenesses and voices to the game. The second mission, “Last Survivor,” is a GameStop preorder exclusive, and focuses on the final sequence of the film where Ripley must activate the ship’s self-destruct sequence and reach the escape pod. (Both episodes will also be available for purchase after the game’s release, for those who don’t preorder.)
EW talked with Weaver about rediscovering Ripley’s voice, cats, flamethrowers, cats with flamethrowers and the possibility of finishing the Alien saga with one final film.
EW: Can you tell me a bit about how you initially came to be involved with the game?
SIGOURNEY WEAVER: They basically sent me a sort of prospectus of the world of this game. Clearly, they were so knowledgeable of everything about Alien; they know much more than I do. [Laughs] That said, I remember as a young actor, when I was doing Alien, which was basically my first film experience, I was so astonished by just walking through this world. The sets of the ship itself, they were so incredibly beautiful, and basically I felt that these guys are giving everyone the opportunity to be in that world, to make decisions based on some of the same circumstances that I as Ripley once had to deal with.
What’s important about the game, I think—even though it is a game—is they really did their homework. It is an homage to the atmosphere and world and characters to a certain extent, the life in space that Ridley Scott created in the first one, and it takes it in a whole new direction with different characters and a different story that’s inspired by the original but very much is its own thing. And it’s actually an experience that you won’t get in a theater. You’ll only get it by immersing yourself in this game, and I thought that was a very cool other way of sorta being inspired by the whole Alien saga, a completely different experience. There’s so many people who really love the films, and now they’re gonna have a chance to be in my shoes or in the shoes of someone else who’s in space, and I think they’re gonna really dig it.
And it’s interactive, so they get to make their own mistakes and decisions.
I think you’ll even get to have your own flamethrower, which is awesome. And it will work.
Which as you can vouch, is probably pretty cool.
It is incredibly cool.
This is all part of the 35th anniversary celebration that is starting for the movie, and it’s the first time you’ll be playing Ripley in 17 years. What was it like to step back into that character?
Well, it was eerie, because it was like putting on an old pair of shoes. I sat down in the booth and I had looked at the first film again to reorient myself, but I didn’t quite expect Ripley to be, in a sense, waiting for this opportunity should I just open my mouth, and it was her voice. I think the game that they’ve created, the details of it, the world of it, was very inspiring to me as an actor, and kind of unearthed Ripley and brought her back in this kind of limited way. It was a great experience. I really, really enjoyed it, and I never thought I would get a chance to take the character in a new direction, and I thought I was able to.
You’ve done voiceover work for movies, but is this the first video game that you’ve worked on?
I think it is. [Weaver did a brief cutscene voiceover as Dr. Grace Augustine in 2009's Avatar: The Game.] And it’s certainly very different from, say, doing an animated film. When you do an animated film, one of the first things they do is they record the actors, and they really draw based on what you’ve kind of come up with vocally. With this one, I felt that after all the work that these guys had done fleshing out this world and taking it in this new direction, it was very exciting to add my input to it, and they are brilliant guys. If you want to go into space and have a true experience with the alien, you will get it with this, in a very cool, sophisticated way. Very visceral but also very elegant, in a way.
Yeah, the game’s terrifying. I played a demo of it, and it was all I could do not to yell out a couple times.
Oh, I’m so glad. Well, good.
What was it like to see that digital recreation of yourself? The first thing I thought was, wow, they really did an amazing job of capturing your hair and how great it was.
It’s a bit strange to see yourself in this world as an inmate of it. I agree with you, they caught her physicality, her presence, her watchfulness, and I think the hardest thing is to capture these emotions with the characters. I think it’s a very special skill. All the senses are used as an actor when you’re playing these parts, and I think that that’s what you find, is somehow they’ve been able to make you physically feel like you’re in that moment, not knowing what comes next, not knowing what the right decision is, having to follow your instincts, and to be very aware, to look and listen. I think all these things make it a very kind of different experience. It’s not like a shoot-em-up; it’s much eerier than that. It’s much lonelier than that, and I think therefore more terrifying.
And you’re in a booth without anyone to act off of really, and I believe one of the sequences is from the final scene of the movie, and at least in that you had the cat and the alien to act off of.
I didn’t even have a cat that day!
That might have been helpful if they could have brought in a Jones stand-in, some random orange tomcat.
I must say, I did like having a little mischievous companion [in the movie], and I think some of the footage with Jones seeing the alien is some of the most memorable footage ever, and I kinda hope that you get some of that in the game.
That would be great. You team up with Jones and try to take her out.
Maybe Jones has a flamethrower now.
You’ve done performance capture work for Avatar.
It’s very actor-friendly. It’s like an early theater rehearsal. You certainly don’t feel like you’re in a studio doing green screen or doing voicing or anything like that. It’s so much more profound than that, which is cool.
A lot of the newer games are doing that as well. If this Alien game is successful, I wonder whether that would be something that would potentially interest you, in stepping back into Ripley again and doing the whole performance. It would have to be a different perspective so you could actually see the character more.
If I were to do this again, I would play her as myself and it would be live-action. ‘Cause everyone has to get older, darling.
I think that would be pretty incredible.
It would be exciting. We never finished the story; it’d be fun to finish it. They’d probably give me a cane, though. Hobble around. It would be fun to complete it. I didn’t feel it was the right time back when we were doing [Alien: Resurrection], but I kind of feel like now we would do a good job.