Video shot by Justin Wolfson and edited by Lee Manansala. Click here for transcript.

Welcome to the latest edition of “War Stories,” where we sit down with video game developers and cajole them into talking about the gameplay design elements that almost broke their brains. In this episode, we’re chatting up Tim Jones, the lead artist and producer of 1999’s Aliens versus Predator.

Jumping on the brand wagon

The Aliens versus Predator brand is a childhood fever dream brought to life—who hasn’t had playground arguments over who’d win in a fight between some of the biggest and baddest bad guys of them all? The idea of watching supernal figures battle it out is both fun and endlessly attractive, because everyone likes a spectacle, and the biggest spectacle of all comes from watching one irresistible alien force slam into another unmovable alien object. Sparks fly, things explode, and we’re happy.

The “Aliens versus Predator” concept first appeared in graphic novel form, but it was catapulted into mainstream consciousness by a series of films in the 2000s. Though definitely spectacular in the most literal sense of the word, the movies all ultimately fall short in just about every other area; only the first, released in 2004, is (arguably) watchable without the aid of alcohol or other drugs.

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