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mrchrislackey
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How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 14:12

I know it's up to each GM to figure that out for themselves, but I was curious as to what everyone else is doing?

Does Weyland-Yutani know about LV-223 (the planet from Prometheus)? What did they find there? How much do they know about the Engineers?

Does Weyland-Yutani know about Planet 4 (the planet from Covenant)? In the game world, there seems to be an understanding that Dr. Shaw's research got out, so that would mean WY is pretty in the know.

Just curious how everyone is sorting it out for their games.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 16:05

I would say that WY knows everything you mentioned - and more. What we see in the movies is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. WY is based on secrets. And we know from several of the novels that other corporations also know stuff. It’s a matter of taste and interpretation what you include in your canon. I see the basic rule set as just a suggestion. Actually, I’m kind of considering a very orthodox canon: just the original movie and nothing else. A bit too strict perhaps, but it gives you a lot of freedom. You don’t need to think about the prequels at all.

You can also say that it’s a matter of where you are on the time line. The rule book suggests a specific year. That doesn’t have to be your year. It’s reasonable to say that the body of knowledge is growing over time. I would say that WY knew quite much even before the events in the first film, but the derilict was probably a new discovery. WY was just very eager to be there first.

And then there are the space truckers (that’s the concept you are using, right?). Maybe they have heard some rumours from fellow truckers about some bug accident, but I guess not much more (if you don’t decide that it’s a specific point they know more). I’m sure WY deals with their most important discoveries very carefully, avoiding anything that might become a strategic setback. But, of course, there might be leaks.
 
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Johnny
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 17:27

My take is that they know as much as it's convenient for the game session or campaign. 
My take is that they are aware of the existence of the Alien, and more or less how its lifecycle works, beyond that? Whatever it works best.
Also, in regards to locations: of course they know about LV-426 and, if you include Alien 3 in your head-canon, about Fury 161 and more or less what happened there. But beyond that? Who knows. It's probably that the Prometheus adventure was kept more or less secret as it was an initiative by Weyland himself, there may be some record somewhere, but maybe not.
And in terms of finding an explanation as to what they know -or don't know- and why, it's simple: W-Y is a big company, in this kind of mega corporations it's usual to have departments or entire divisions working on things other parts of the company are not even aware of. Even within the same division there may be teams working on secret projects. Someone on a high enough position (C-level) maybe is aware of everything, but then again, maybe some info is need-to-know and the CEO doesn't need to know. Or the board. Maybe just the Chief Strategy Officer knows the whole picture, maybe just the Chief of Operations, maybe just the Special Projects Director....or maybe all know everything.
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Bengt Petter
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 17:36

I agree with Johnny. I would put it more simple: Weyland Yutani has exactly that amount of knowledge that makes your campaign cool. And there is also the meta aspect: your players have probably seen the movies. I would just find an explanation for how the PCs know at least some of that stuff. It’s just silly if they should be forced to not get that those eggs might be dangerous. That part could just be a story heard in a trucker bar or at a space station.
Last edited by Bengt Petter on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Gebohq
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 19:00

To sort of add or provide a parallel thought to what's been said already, I'd say you could have it both ways. On one hand, the company as a whole probably knows everything, or at least most everything, possibly with those high in the ranks (like Michael Bishop) exemplifying that sort of knowledge. On the other hand, the company is colossal, and there's probably plenty of people working for it that would have less than no idea, sheltered from even rumors passed around by marines or truckers or whatnot -- the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing sort of deal. So you might have an agent that's like "ooo never seen this before -- why I bet the bio-weapons division would love this" without realizing 20 other shmucks have had the same idea, with mountains of paperwork obfuscating the knowledge the company as a whole would have.

Even if you decide not to have your cake and eat it too, I think either approach is fitting for the narrative. A Big Brother company who has their hands in everything and is a scheming force behind all the woes of the world seems equally as "Alien" and whatnot as a lumbering idiot company that's driven by bureaucracy and the bottom line without any thought to information that you'd think they should have. in Lovecraft terms, it's the difference between the manipulative hands-on Nyarlathotep and the All Powerful Idiot God Azathoth.
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Diego
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 22:20

I think you have to assume that there is some factionism in WY, to the point in fighting actually is their downfall. Consider that in Alien they knew about the Alien, but then come Aliens they have lost it, building instead a colony rather than a research outpost. Burke in Alidns hears Riplys story and has enough doubt he sends out a survey team rather than WY security. But when you have a megacorp the size of a nation you are going to get the situation where one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.
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Bengt Petter
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Fri 24 Jan 2020, 08:20

I would like add another factor: the alien or Engineer timeline. We actually know nothing about it. All we have seen is a corporate timeline. It’s in the rule book, and you can figure it out from various books and other sources. But there has to be another, probably much older alien time line, with many other events, mostly unknown to mankind.

My intention is NOT to write such a time line, at least not a definite one. I think it would just kill the mystery that is the centre of this franchise. But just knowing that such a timeline must exist makes it possible answer the initial question in this thread in another way: WY, or at least some factions within the company, does for sure know about the eggs, the xenos, the engineers and the derelict. But I would say that it’s at least possible that someone is having an idea of even bigger things. Not an entire mythos chronology, but fragments of it. Perhaps an ancient war, events of interstellar migration, the building of certain facilities etc. At least there must be some theories about it. Being able to grasp parts of a huge unknown is also a kind of knowledge.

I imagine that WY probably has some kind of secret archive (an actual location, imagine a visit there) with bizarre artifacts. It would also seem resonable that an advanced corporate AI has done some calculations, trying to figure out some kind of alien chronology. So rather than actual knowledge, it could be a speculative hypothesis, or several. I imagine a possible mythos timeline with huge gaps.

In a way, this is a way to emphasize the Lovecraftian perspective: mankind is a insignificant part of something much bigger. There were others long before us, and they also have a history. But we will only be able to grasp it with our very limited human ways of understanding things.
 
S.M
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Fri 24 Jan 2020, 08:53

The Company would have several million employees.  A handful know about the Aliens.  If David's Advent transmission was received, someone would know about that.  There's no indication anyone knows what happened on LV-223 and only a small number of people would know where Prometheus was even going.  Whoever issued Special Order 937 might know something; or maybe they were just being opportunistic.  Much the same as Burke.  Whoever dispatched the Patna to Fiorina knew something.  There's some people in the Company and military who know about the Aliens as detailed in the Defiance, Resistance and Rescue comics.

But with millions of employees, it's rarely, if ever, the same people who connect the events.  The Company is very siloed.
My take is that they know as much as it's convenient for the game session or campaign. 
This is the best answer really.
 
Riggswolfe
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Fri 24 Jan 2020, 19:32

I think you have to assume that there is some factionism in WY, to the point in fighting actually is their downfall. Consider that in Alien they knew about the Alien, but then come Aliens they have lost it, building instead a colony rather than a research outpost. Burke in Alidns hears Riplys story and has enough doubt he sends out a survey team rather than WY security. But when you have a megacorp the size of a nation you are going to get the situation where one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.
The Alien novel River of Pain implies the company knew the derelict was on LV-426 but not where. There's WY scientists on the colony and they keep sending surveyors out in basically a grid search pattern. It's rumored by the colonists they're looking for something but they don't know what it is. What Burke did was basically give them coordinates to go to at last. It really makes what happened to the colonists even more monstrous.
But with millions of employees, it's rarely, if ever, the same people who connect the events.  The Company is very siloed.
My take is that they know as much as it's convenient for the game session or campaign.
This is the best answer really.
Agreed on both parts. For example, it's likely the people who were on Ripley's tribunal legitimately didn't know about the Alien but others in the company did. 
 
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HamsterOfWrath
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Re: How much do Weyland-Yutani know?

Fri 24 Jan 2020, 21:25

Yes, never underestimate a greedy corporate executive when it comes down to securing the exclusive rights to some bioweapons tech. Weyland Yutani might have the entire truth of the Xenomorphs but because everyone wants their cut of the profits the information is massively compartmentalised. Its a fun trope for big evil scifi corporations in that many cases the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.  

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