Heighway Pinball: Alien

I don’t know what your beef is with Heighway, but throwing around comments like this on the basis of rumors that are not only unsubstantiated, but which you refuse to even talk about, is totally uncalled for.


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Then why do you keep bringing it up? When I see a comment like “I hope you got the money up front” I see someone basically saying “I believe this company is screwed enough that they will leave their employees in the lurch”. That is a far far cry from “I wish Heighway well”.

As far as the first thread, I believe the issues were not with the content of the comments, but the tone and anger which surrounded them, and the inability for the parties involved to just drop it and let it go.


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First off, most of the regular users here know Joe, and his job, and in fact have known him for years if not decades (I am one of those people.) So he actually does have credentials that you do not. Additionally, he is promoting his own work, which is a far cry from tearing down the work of someone else and refusing to even answer why. If you can’t see the difference there, then I suspect there may be other forums on the internet that are a better fit.


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Do you know how long heighway plans to run these? I need to start saving my pennies!!

While I do not know if any specifics were mentioned on licensing from Heighway, during Stern factory tour, our guide was in Accounting and spoke on the length of licenses that they negotiate for their games being 3 years. Meaning, for instance, that all ST they’re making now need to be sold before the end of this year as their license will then run out and they have to destroy any unsold machines.

Given that Roger Sharpe helped with licensing, which I believe he’s done on certain Stern titles, my guess is that they would have similar licensing agreement in place for Alien.


Whoa. Slow your roll. This is a legit company you’re talking about.


You’re not going to get locked or booted for expressing an opinion in a positive, respectful manner: http://tiltforums.com/faq


OK, hopefully we can steer this all back to what we all want to talk about… pinball! :slight_smile:

Just to be clear, I was simply answering @hisokajp’s question about how it played… later the thought crossed my mind that I should file a disclaimer in case any readers were unaware that I was involved in the project, thus my subsequent message. It is certainly not my intention to mislead anyone. (I’m a lousy product shill… if I didn’t like it, I would just shut up and go hide in the corner, not falsely praise it.)

Since this weekend was my first opportunity to actually play the game myself, I have to say that I was a bit nervous about how it would flip. It would’ve sucked if it didn’t feel good. But thankfully, I found all the shots to be satisfying. The majority of people I talked to had similar sentiments. There were a few hiccups, like the lip at the top of the left ramp that @Snailman mentioned, but I’ll be surprised if these can’t be easily fixed with minor tweaks.

I’m happy to answer any questions anyone might have about game play.

Disclaimer: I’m still the rules programmer for Alien. :wink:


No clue, sorry.

Sorry man, but come on. Nobody asks someone if they got their money up front without suggesting they won’t get paid otherwise. You even threw in a second zinger with “I hope he gets compensated”.

Posting that you know rumors you’re not willing to discuss is still rumor-mongering, and you’ve done it now both here and in the Houdini thread (“I know what is going on more than you do”). Those comments don’t advance discussion in any way; nobody can respond to them usefully. It would be better to omit those comments or be more open with what you intend to say.


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This is not the case. All the Houdini comments are still visible, and new threads can be started. The purpose of the thread lock is mainly to seek a productive restart to discussions that are moving in a negative direction.

Regarding Heighway, I’ve enjoyed playing Full Throttle quite a bit, and am hopeful that Alien will be a big success. From what I heard, people who played it at Expo found it quite fun to flip, and it looked like there was enough to do even in its pre-final form. @FunWithBonus posted multiple videos of live play.

I’ve noticed that licensed themes from new companies are thorny, and I’m not at all surprised by the lack of Sigourney Weaver, which would be a separate license from the property. In the Stern/Data East past this is similar to the removal of Michael J Fox from Back to the Future, or that one guy from Maverick, and many others. Licensed themes also require much back-and-forth with approved artwork, sounds, everything really. In some cases, even ones in the last few years, some audio or artwork may be denied by the licensor when the game is deep into its design and production cycle.

I don’t know anything about the other things you described, so hopefully people who do can chime in. The impression I have from the outside is that the licensing issues are dealt with, but I do not know enough to say this for sure.

Thanks for your posts!


I’m probably going out on a limb, since I absolutely do not speak officially for Heighway Pinball (I’m not even an employee, I’m a contractor), but a couple comments…

Yes, the game is very past due. Everyone knows that. It’s unfortunate. This problem seems to plague all the new pinball companies. “Pinball is hard.” If you put down pre-order money for a game, I believe that deposit is fully refundable, just contact them to get your deposit back if you’re unhappy with the delay.

The games that were shown at Expo were indeed late-stage prototypes, not shipping games. I’m not aware of anyone saying otherwise. If you talked to anyone who played them at Expo (I’ll exclude myself, since I’m biased :wink: – there is a ginormous thread on Pinside if you want other opinions) they’ll probably tell you that the games were extremely playable, both hardware and software. A couple mechanisms need to be finalized. A little software needs to be finished. A couple playfield hangups need to be smoothed out. I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you how long this stuff will take. One thing I can say is that I would not be embarrassed if today’s version of the software shipped. Every major planned feature is implemented right now except for the final wizard mode and a frenzy feature. Other than those things, my remaining work is polish: nicer A/V/lighting effects, tweaking score balance, stuff like that. The games were played pretty much non-stop over the Expo weekend, and I’m not aware of a major bug or crash. The most annoying bug I saw was an aesthetic glitch that has already been fixed.

It’s a slight disappointment that Sigourney isn’t in the game, but the team has actually been planning for that since early summer if not before, so when that became official, we said “oh well” and nothing changed. Kelly Mazurowski (animations) and David Thiel (audio) have done a spectacular job at creating an immersive A/V package, and none of those assets have ever included Sigourney. If we’d gotten her, we’d have a few extra A/V assets, but it wouldn’t fundamentally change the game.

I really don’t know what to make of your “wonder what other omissions were made” comment. There’s an infinite list of stuff that the game doesn’t have. It doesn’t have an actual live Alien (thank goodness!). It doesn’t have a pizza oven. It doesn’t have a fusion reactor. But seriously, we’ve tried to create a really fun, immersive experience that will be especially attractive to fans of the Alien/Aliens films, but hopefully is a great experience for any pinball player. Perhaps your favorite quote from the movies isn’t in there, or some scene you really like isn’t in there. Only you can judge if we’ve made a game that pleases you. If we have, great, thank you. If we haven’t, I’m sorry.

Does that address your concerns?

Disclaimer: Unless Andrew dislikes this message and chooses to fire me, I’m still the rules programmer for Alien. :wink:


Didn’t you all have to literally ask Sigourney herself, and she (or whoever represents her) said no?

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