Today is the second birthday of the Alien Encyclopedia, and things have been good for the project in 2013… something which cannot be said about the Aliens franchise. So come with me on a short retrospective about what happened to the Encyclopedia and all things Alien this year!
The MU-TH-UR load
Before we talk about the major Aliens event this year (for better or worse), let’s take a look a tiny bit of catching-up the Encyclopedia had to do at the beginning of the year. By the beginning of 2013, the theatrical release of Prometheus has come and gone, followed by the home media release in October. So, there was a huge hole gaping the Encyclopedia where all the information about the latest movie entry in the franchise should have been.
When version 4 of the Alien Encyclopedia was finally released on March 16, it became obvious why the project had been lagging behind. Version 4 turned out to be the biggest update ever released, with almost 50 pages of new content. Not only did the update cover the movie itself in great detail, it also featured complete coverage on the viral media campaign launched for the movie. I am proud to say that, by version 4, the Alien Encyclopedia had become the definitive guide on all things Prometheus.
Size does matter
With version 4, the Alien Encyclopedia also introduced a new third appendix containing exclusive Alien-related scale charts. I am particularly proud of this one, not only because I think it’s a cool new feature, but also because it would not have been possible without the help of some amazing people who gave their kind permission for using their awesome Alien-related artwork as a basis for the chart graphics. A huge “Thank you!” goes out to Samantha, Mike Brown and Space Jockey!
Oorah to ashes!
Prometheus had now been dealt with, but there was no time to rest THE Aliens-related event of the year, the release of the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines, had taken place, and… well, I guess you know how that turned out. For completion’s sake: The game turned out to be the biggest disappointment of 2013, not only concerning the Aliens franchise, but also the whole gaming scene. The plot was sub-par, the graphics were outdated and the gameplay was nothing to write home about at best, irritating at worst. What little praise was left went to the faithful art design and the excellent score. As if the shortcomings of the game itself wasn’t enough, the release was followed by a shit-storm about the questionable handling of the project by Gearbox and the jarring differences and drop of quality between the demos and the final product.
This time, it is war
The whole affair prompted me to write a three-part review about the game – the first one of its kind, read it here. However, it was time to put my personal feelings aside and to dive head-first into Colonial Marines coverage for the Encyclopedia. Content was locked in a record time of one month, a writing marathon which would turn out to be an exhausting experience, an experience which would cause me to put the project into hibernation for the months that followed. Fortunately, as I had I was ahead of time, and so I could afford to take the break. On November 16, exactly eight months after the release of the previous update, version 5 was released, which completely covered the Colonial Marines storyline, weapon upgrades and even Xenomorph color schemes. It was another huge update, only barely missing the record set by version 4.
A word of thanks
I know I said it often in the past, but for good reason: I cannot repeat this enough, and so I would like to take the opportunity to send another “Thank you so much!” to Frans Hattingh, the proofreader of the Encyclopedia. He had come on board with version 3 (which did not prevent him from also proofreading version 2 for the release of version 3, which is much appreciated) and has stuck with the project ever since, doing a marvelous job with the juggernauts that were version 4 and 5. Thank you, Frans, and I hope you’ll be there for version 6, too 😉
The year of the… horse?!?
Speaking of which: What has the future in store for the Alien franchise and the Encyclopedia? Well, fore the first time in the history of this project, there’s not a huge Aliens-related project looming on the horizon. Sure, there will be novels and comics in 2014, and there’s another game in the works, Alien: Isolation. However, this game is the only thing comparable to the magnitude of Prometheus and Colonial Marines, but if I am not mistaken, the game hasn’t even been announced yet, let alone given a release date. This leaves me with a bit of breathing space for version 6. With the release of this version, I’ll finally leave LV-426 behind as it will feature complete coverage of the Stasis Interrupted DLC for Colonial Marines, Newt’s Tale and Aliens: Infestation.
What to expect after version 6? Well, originally, I wanted to cover all the new Dark Horse novels before moving on with the comics, but I decided to change priorities. Instead of sticking to the plan of covering the novels and moving on from there, I will instead prioritize future content according to its relevance to the canon, which means that all things related to the Earth War storyline will be next. This way, I will get the important stuff into the Encyclopedia a lot quicker instead of slowing things down with “unimportant” side stories.
As you see, there are some interesting things in store for the Encyclopedia, despite the relatively calm year 2014’s gonna be. I can’t wait to begin coverage on the Earth War, and I hope you’ll stick around for version 6 and beyond!
P.S. A great way to stay up-to-date on all things Alien Encyclopedia and more is its official Facebook page. Go pay a visit here!