Creative Assembly's upcoming console game - which features the 20th Century Fox Alien license - is aiming for the very top, according to the developer.
"We want to make a 90% game, and we want it to be in a world that the mass market absolutely gets," said Tim Heaton, Creative Assembly studio director, in an interview with VideoGamer.com last week.
It's absolutely essential for a core game to be well received in current market conditions, too. "I don't think it's fair to say that everybody needs to be getting 90% Metacritic etc to be successful - we can see that from the charts. But for a core game? Absolutely. We want to make a great game that will compete at the highest level, and the fact that we have the Alien IP is just a bonus."
Creative Assembly's last console game was 2008's Viking: Battle for Asgard - which received a 7/10 from VideoGamer.com. Is Creative Assembly a much different console developer in 2011? "We've transmogrified," says Heaton. "We have brought in some fantastic experience over the past three years - new staff, experienced staff. But I also think that we understand what we're trying to do a little bit better as well."
So what's Creative Assembly like as a console developer in 2011? "Creative Assembly is absolutely all about quality - at every level. We don't talk about quality as something we just polish in at the last stage. It is rife in the studio. I joined two and a half years ago, and the only reason I joined the studio is because I could see that. That's the only way to victory - to be thinking 'how do you get to 90%?' all the time. The Total War team deliver it time and time again."
Heaton also thinks the developer's relations with SEGA are in a far better place than in the past. "I would go so far as to say the understanding between us and SEGA - between the developer and the publisher, which is always difficult - is probably in the best place it's ever been. They totally get the game we want to deliver. They've given us a budget that absolutely supports it. Now we just need to deliver it."
Creative Assembly's latest title was leaked ahead of schedule by MP Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries. The Alien game graphics are "out of this world," says Vaizey - and if you can't trust a politican, who can you trust?
Despite a string of lukewarm console titles, Creative Assembly is no stranger to high scores on the PC - its Total War series has routinely seen itself perching at the top end of the scale. The latest game in the series, Shogun 2, recieved 9/10 from VideoGamer.com. "The quality of Shogun 2 is undeniable," wrote Dave Brown in his Shogun 2 Review.