To be honest, myself and everyone I played Alien with at Expo never got our info from the playfield LCD. As good of an initial idea as it was, the new giant screen is just easier to read. I know not looking up is helpful, but the font is small enough that I can't just make a quick glance to soak it all in anyway. I wish they would ditch the 3rd LCD and rather than mirror the backbox and playfield, they would make the playfield LCD more of a HUD with mode/shot related info. The reason they "need" the 3rd LCD is because they're not really optimizing how to use the two they already have.
I love Heighway and want both Alien and Full Throttle, but you can see this LCD thing is a victim of evolving their original concept rather than stepping back and rethinking.
I'm sure I have some of the details here wrong, but essentially:
Originally they ONLY had the playfield LCD, so it had to have all the info.
People clamored for a backbox LCD, so Heighway accommodated with the small version and the screens were mirrored.
Heighway surprised everyone with a full size backbox LCD. This is where they should have rethought the use of the two, but I think there were hardware issues with 2 video streams.
They teased a possible third screen, but this was to be for short clips, etc. and they still had an issue with the technical ability to add another video stream.
Now they apparently have figured out how to add another video stream for the third screen to show mode info. Isn't this exactly the info you want without having to look up. Sounds like a great role for the playfield LCD rather than putting general game info in front of the player and making them look to the back of the machine for the immediate mode related stuff.
I refuse to believe that if Heighway re-conceptualized everything knowing what they know now that they would purposely incorporate 3 LCD screens. Seems like it would be cheaper and a better end experience to re-think how they're using the screens they already have versus adding a new one to supplement what the playfield one could have been doing all along.