- Alien Hominid Invasion and Alien Hominid HD were released on November 1, 2023.
- The Behemoth released both games to ensure the series lived on in the next-gen consoles.
- We interview the Co-Founder of The Behemoth to discuss some behind-the-scenes details.
Alien Hominid has a fair bit of history to its name, starting afresh all the way back in 2002 as an Adobe Flash game that you could boot up on your trusty internet browser. As time went on and The Behemoth’s interest in the IP started to take flight, Alien Hominid snowballed into a larger project, until finally, the developers announced a reimagining of the title right from the ground up.
As November kicked off, The Behemoth launched two Alien Hominid games, with one being an HD remaster and the other a straight-up sequel. In recent times, eXputer had the opportunity to sit down with John Baez, the developer studio’s Co-Founder, to go over some of the key details behind the iconic project as it went under the works.
Read ahead for the full discussion between eXputer and John.
Questions: It has been nearly 2 decades since the first game came out. I am curious to know when the idea to make the Alien Hominid Invasion came about.
John Baez: After finishing up our last update for Pit People in 2018, we wanted to make sure Alien Hominid was not lost to new generations, as it was only available for purchase on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade or as the OG disk on PS2, GameCube, Xbox, or GameBoy Advance (if you happen to live in Europe). While beginning to prepare the original AH for modern consoles, we quickly shifted to a new idea where we explored what Alien Hominid would be like if it was created by our team today, highlighting all we’ve learned throughout these 20 years. The new idea became so broad and different that we decided to make it into its own standalone game so as not to confuse gamers that we’d changed something with the original.
Questions: What were some of the challenges that the team faced during the development? And how did you manage to get through them?
John Baez: Well, we never anticipated that the pandemic would last years, not months, so that was definitely something new for the team to navigate. Luckily, as a small team, we could move relatively quickly to a work-from-home situation, which lasted for about 15 months. I think it slowed development somewhat, but we weren’t impacted as hard as other game developers. I think this was mostly because our game was already in production. It is hard to reach creative flow if you have to work in a distributed environment because small, impromptu discussions can have a big impact on game design.
Questions: In another interview, Ian Moreno mentioned that the studio doesn’t typically do sequels, and The Behemoth has mostly been jumping into different genres. So, with the studio revisiting its debut game, can we expect Castle Crashers, BattleBlock Theater, or Pit People to receive the same treatment?
John Baez: Alien Hominid was sort of a unique case since the idea for Invasion came to us while our main focus was to bring Alien Hominid HD to new audiences. The new game introduces modern game mechanics while existing within the setting of the old game, so is Invasion really a sequel or a re-imagination? Or is it a new game in the same universe? Probably somewhere in between! Our other games are already on the other platforms at high resolution, so there is no need to revisit them on a technical level at this time.
As a studio, we still have many ideas we want to bring to our fans, so doing a sequel is not too attractive to us right now. We might work within the universe of one of our games in the future because they truly have a life of their own with so many characters, storylines, and detailed environments. But for now, we want to keep bringing new things to our fans and explore more of what makes us happy to be gamers.
Questions: Speaking of different genres, The Behemoth has done run-and-gun, side-scrolling hack-and-slash, side-scrolling shooter, and role-playing strategy games; what other genre would you love to explore?
Well, as the saying goes, if we tell you, we’d have to shoot you. Just kidding! I think, in general terms, it is exciting to look at the game dev scene and see so much fluidity between genres as creative developers push new ideas to gamers. It is a super interesting time to be a game developer since there are so many things to explore. On a personal level, I’d love to get back to making a text-based adventure, but do people really read anymore?
Questions: The first game became very popular at the time, and so the expectations for this entry were quite high. How has the general reception been for this one after release?
John Baez: The reception has been great so far, and we love hearing about which weapons and playstyles our fans resonate with most! It’s one week out, and we’ve already been making changes and planning balance tweaks for the game. What has been the most fun is the nostalgia factor – Alien Hominid was released on Newgrounds in 2002, and we’ve had many people tell us that they remember playing it in middle school. And now they are in their late twenties, so bringing some fun memories back to them has been great.
Questions: Moving onto the other recent release, Alien Hominid HD, is it a traditional next-gen port, or has the team added something different for fans to enjoy?
John Baez: The original has mostly stayed the same, providing longtime fans a more purist experience compared to Invasion, which implements more modern gameplay mechanics to the run ‘n’ gun genre. In Alien Hominid HD, players can expect to see much better resolution (4k!), and we slightly tweaked some NPCs so they didn’t cheap-shot as much.
Questions: Alien Hominid was the first title, and the titular character has since appeared across other games from The Behemoth. And after so long, we are revisiting the franchise once more. So, can we call Alien Hominid the favorite game of the studio?
John Baez: Alien Hominid was first an Adobe Flash game developed for Newgrounds that later inspired the formation of our studio. Rather than our favorite game, it’s one that deeply inspired the team and led to all of the other Behemoth adventures as we know them today! It’ll always be a special title in our hearts, for sure.
Questions: Now, with the full release of the game, what’s next in line for the studio? Can you tell us what we can expect?
John Baez: We actually don’t have any plans to share what we are working on with the world just yet! We’ve spent most of 2023 finishing up Invasion and polishing it for the world, and now we’re busy implementing changes from player feedback to make it even better! Who knows what the future holds, but the possibilities are almost endless for this big chicken.
Questions: Is there anything you would like to say to the audience? Something we haven’t touched upon?
John Baez: Don’t forget to dig, and you can’t win against the agents if you don’t drink your mutation juice! For reals! But joking aside, if it weren’t for our fans, we wouldn’t be as inspired as we are to come to work every day and make games. Game development is a two-way street – with developers and gamers interacting to make memorable experiences. We are celebrating our 20th year of existence in 2023, and knowing our fans love what we do makes it easy to keep working for them.
The Behemoth has done some serious work to ensure that not only does the Alien Hominid continue to thrive in the next-gen consoles but that people also get to enjoy a re-imagination of the original Alien Hominid. While not many developers would go so far as to preserve its games, Alien Hominid is a unique case that inspired the creation of The Behemoth, as told by Baez.
While the studio has yet to reveal its future plans, I am extremely curious to see what the “text-based adventure” would look like from Baez. Regardless, it will likely be something completely new, as The Behemoth does not feel the need to revisit any of its other games.
Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡
How could we improve this post? Please Help us. ✍