Aliens: Colonial Marines development was a 'total train wreck' says ex-dev

Former Gearbox staffer blasts long development process, says Gearbox outsourced single-player campaign to TimeGate Studios.

A "total train wreck" of development saw Gearbox outsource the entire single-player campaign of Aliens: Colonial Marines to TimeGate Studios, a recently surfaced forum post by an alleged ex-staffer at Gearbox has claimed.

The long-dormant post from May 2012 (spotted by Superannuation) pours cold water on another poster's anticipation for the title. "Hate to say it, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high for Colonial Marines," it said.

"I used to work at Gearbox, and the development of that game has been a total train wreck, going on what, 6 years now? Gearbox isn't even making the game, except for the multiplayer. Primary development was outsourced to TimeGate Studios, which has a less than stellar past."

"I hope it proves me wrong, as I still have alot of friends still working at Gearbox, but I am expecting it to be average at best."

The author of the comment said he now works for Austin-based startup Armature Studio, a team founded by some of the ex-Retro staff behind Metroid Prime and responsible for the PS Vita port of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.

TimeGate Studios is credited for development in Aliens: Colonial Marines, alongside Shoot Many Robots developer Demiurge Studios and Nerve, who handled the multiplayer for id's Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The claims that TimeGate Studios handled so much of the game's development clashes with previous statements. Speaking to Gamasutra last year, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford said that "roughly 80 percent of the work on Colonial Marines is being done in-house at Gearbox, with the rest being done by outside developers."

Sega did not respond to comment when approached by GameSpot.

In his 4.5 GameSpot review, Kevin VanOrd said, "The first two Alien films are steeped in mystery and anxiety, qualities all but absent in developer Gearbox's lackluster interpretation. Instead, Aliens: Colonial Marines is a shallow bit of science-fiction fluff with cheap production values and an indifferent attitude. It's forgettable enough to deem unnecessary, which is a grievous sin for a game in a universe brimming with so much potential."

Multiplayer, however, gets a more positive appraisal. "Competitive play finds more success," said Kevin, "because the unpredictability of other players leads to occasional moments of tension. All four modes pit a team of marines against a team of aliens, though Escape is the standout among them. Here, four marines make their way through alien-infested territory from one mark to the next, hoping to escape the wrath of the acid-spitting, sharp-clawed opposition."

Aliens: Colonial Marines is available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. A Wii U version will be released in March. A season pass for the game's multiplayer modes is also available.

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Discussion

288 comments
ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

and they sell you a frikin season pass... buuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrpp

Gle4se
Gle4se

since my last comment 4 pages down I still come back to this just because... I know have a bright side of this, comments are funny C:

And I want to thank everyone that liked my comment, it shows that 16 people have understand.

silverteam2003
silverteam2003

All these hate comments , I would like to point out, this game is pretty good. I enjoyed it.

Single player and Multiplayer is constantly 60fps, it uses the unreal engine, which is a fair few years old now, there are bugs yes with the AI and some clipping issues.

Problems with multiplatform development, they are memory constrained, The xbox360 have about 384mb total system and video memory and less on the ps3? I think I stand to be corrected there even so, this is a low amount of memory compared to the modern PC of 512/2gb GPU video memory, nowa days and it attributes vastly to the textural details of the game and the content the consoles can handle.

I have just witnessed the completion of the game on the xbox360 on hardened now im going to run thru on the pc and I know from the off there will be vastly more detail and more in scene objects but this is all limited to the unreal3 engines polygon handle count.

we arnt likely too see improvements in games until unreal4 engine games come along and even then half the bells and whistles wont be usable on the xbox and the ps3.  just the modern dx11 gpu with 512 ppu's minimum.

so people give gearbox and the people some love, they brought me hicks's shotgun, ripleys flamethrower, hudsons pulserifle, to my screen, the sounds were glorious, the upgrades path was a bit pants but forgiven as it was very enjoyable.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

this has been happening a lot lately...

they hype a game up for years and years, talking about how it'll be the biggest success ever then it releases and flops miserably and then the developers, publishers and PR guys all confess that it was a trainwreck from the start and they made all these mistakes.


pride kills

tinglep
tinglep

Thank God, when you pay for a game at gamestop, you have the option to change and put it towards a different game. God of War...here I come

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

Never ever bet on console game companies, i laugh how crap these games are, POOR console gamers should play such a junk always :D

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

I really dont get why people run out and buy games without reading a few opinions and reviews first. Most games these days have a few reviews out almost at the same time as release. Stop being stupid Fan boys!!

LiquidGold
LiquidGold

Every one should have known better to but their trust in gearbox aka shitbox including my self. The game took 6 years to come out,  no demo, game play was show behind closed doors to a select few, which they probably selected best the looking bits from the game. Randy's usual hype bullshit.The game looks decent enough on PC but the console version looks dreadful. I went to my friends to see it on his 360 and laughed out loud, I then showed him what it looks like on my on PC. A tear of sadness rolled down his face.  I beat the game on badass"hardest setting"  in just over 5hrs. Worth a play through once an that's pushing it, even with the stupid AI and NCP's getting stuck in walls an been able to walk through them like their invisible. AI escaping out of a door on the sulaco in to thin air lol. You could see through the glass there was no escape pods so where were they going? Randy and gearbox I hate you even more now is there any thing you can't F***k up.Please leave gaming altogether. I hear McDonald's is hiring but you would probably F**k the burgers up to. 

itchyflop
itchyflop

gamespot i dare to do a feed backula about this topic, maybe the cmpanies will listen to THEIR LOYAL FANS THEY VE JUST CRUSHED WITH THE I DONT GIVE A F#CK ATTITUDE. what if we dont and stop buying YOUR software cos its SH#T

Dougsmoog
Dougsmoog

Total and absolute money grabbing bastards, Aliens could have been amazing what is the fucking problem?  Did no one at any point say..... 'ahhhhh guys you know what? this is absolute shit we need to start again....'  The conversation did probably happen but the old 'how much would that cost' statement meant that they were prepared to take devaluation of the companies reputation vs money!  Slap a big non disclosure ruling on the project until release day and make as much money as possible.... Gearbox hasn't done this once but twice! now with Duke Nukem Forever unofficially or officially the shitist game of all time, ACM is a close second. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

Finally started playing it last night and I don't think it's quite as bad as most people make out. It has little good about it either. It is just the most 'Meh' game ever. The one thing that annoys me most is that i've spent more time killing other humans rather than Xenos so far. Why do you think I bought a game with 'Aliens' in the title? If I wanted to spend most of a game wailing on other humans I would have kept BF3!!!


Well, that started out rather level headed and quickly became a rant which for me means, this game aint no good! it even uses 'spawn rooms' for the enemy mercs. come on guys! What is this? 1997?

russelloh
russelloh

80% and year old forum posts aside, Timegate's own website front page lists them as the developer of Aliens, and makes no mention of Gearbox. 

souther_hill
souther_hill

Let's just face it. Doing games based on movies, has rarely been successful. And by rarely I mean 1 out of 50 games.

saber310
saber310

lol thats why you do not pre purchase games

Merseyak
Merseyak

Agree 100% bought this on steam launch night want my money back played it for 45 minutes and to be honest felt a bit sick that they wasted such an opportunity

Nzilla
Nzilla

fail.  massive fail gearbox!

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

Randy Pitchford should fire himself after allowing this festering pile of shit to be released to the public. I will never buy another Gearbox game again.

DeusAlex
DeusAlex

Man, I wanted this to be good and I thought about buying it on the release date, but I did my research and I'm glad I didn't. This sounds like Duke Nukem all over again. O.k., maybe not THAT bad.

Tyloe
Tyloe

I loved Aliens CM and appreciate them for making a game that brings back the memmories of the milestones of cinema. I found myself enjoying both the campaign and multiplayer and it deserves much more positive praise. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

It's obvious someone really fucked up here. If I knew my game wasn't up to par I wouldn't release it until it was fixed. Maybe this game was beyond fixing and they decided to release it to try and cut their losses as much as they could. I just really hope everyone involved can learn from their mistakes. If you can't do that, you are either comepletely ignorant, or you are not very smart and shouldn't be in the industry.

EvilShabazz
EvilShabazz

@ZoTrAcK That's the new normal, donchaknow.  Gaming is all about season-passes and micro-transactions now.

larsinii
larsinii

@silverteam2003 

Why do people have such difficulty differentiating liking something from something being good? Every artistic endeavour on earth has some people that absolutely love it but that does not indicate universal quality. maybe you have crappy taste?

silvergol
silvergol


@silverteam2003 For me playing the entire game in ultimate difficulty WITH NO DAMAGE AFTER 14 HOURS YOU ARE LYING.

ekul1021
ekul1021

@silverteam2003 I'm glad you enjoy the game and hope you believe you got your money worth for it. However, dropping $60 is very hard nowadays and for me since I am a PC gamer, selling the game used isn't an option and seeing how the game was reviewed by many gamers, I just don't see how this game is good.

Kenuty
Kenuty

@silverteam2003

its ok, and 60 fps thats it? If you edit the ini you can run at 60 - 120 fps even smoother, also note the shaders look good in this game but

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3z2qVebxlUo

Theres also numerous article telling you that you've been given a game thats been put together with glue and cardboard as the finished product. You were promised sophisticated AI, great graphics, and the atmospheric feel of an aliens game. Also note 7 years development. You can literally beat the game just running past aliens at certain times even in ultimate badass.

If they're going to fix this game at all, they need to overhaul it hard.

ekul1021
ekul1021

@mischiefmeerkat Randy Pitchforth is no doubt a great business man, he should work at a used car selling lemon ones and the people will still be buying from him.

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

@666NightsInHell WFT are you talking about? This is a multi system release! PC ALSO. Go back to Kansas little boy and leave the rest of us in peace.

jonajacket
jonajacket

@KingofCabal You are completely right. However, the problem with being a fanboy is that your brain doesn't work. I couldn't help myself, I refused the warnings and now I've been burned for the last time...until something else looks so awesome and makes me have a brain fart. 

It didn't help that Play-Asia had ACM on pre-order for $45. If your brain works you get suspicious. As an Aliens fanboy, I walked right into their trap.

fume0101
fume0101

@KingofCabal That's why developers push so hard for preorders--offering incentives and the like--Most people would wait for the review before purchasing if there were no incentives to order in advance. That would hurt sales across the board. I suspect that to be the true reason the industry has grown in the past decade. The rise of the pre-order.

silvergol
silvergol


@LiquidGold DUKE NUKEM FOREVER TAKED MORE.

acesp1
acesp1

@itchyflop  i totaly agree theyve had six years to get this right .i know a lot of people been waiting for this and theyve fucked it up.. how can dead space 3 be so good and ACM be so shit?

itchyflop
itchyflop

@The-Neon-Seal and what about the suspense killer of the radar short bling before any enemy comes warning you!! thats why i have the radar to look when i need to adding suspense. im so annoyed with time gate im at the point of writing hate mail to them. And as for sega, they re barmy putting their name on it. but then again they probably dont give a f#ck either like the other corporate giants, they went bumo fir a reason.

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

@souther_hill The problem is that their has been some very good Alien and Predator games. Case in point Alien vs. Predator released in 1999.

kohle36
kohle36

Even the PC version huh? Out of sheer morbid curiosity, what's the deal? What makes it so garbage?

itchyflop
itchyflop

@Merseyak you played it that long, it took longer to install it on my ps3 than me to play it. 

itchyflop
itchyflop

@ChiefFreeman trust needs to re established another proper game needs to ne made if they have any sense. 

fume0101
fume0101

@Tyloe Would it be considered crass for one to hypothetically say they hate people like you? Probably face a moderator warning for such a comment, no?

russelloh
russelloh

@Tyloe No you didn't. Go play Aliens Infestation on DS if you want a claustrophobic, anti-Weyland Yulani scary action fest. 

HitmanDante
HitmanDante

@tightwad34 You would've thought they would have learned from their mistakes with Duke Nukem Forever. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice....

ForeignPHI
ForeignPHI

@KingofCabal Awh, I'm from Kansas. Trust me, we don't want people like @666NightsInHell either. 

LE5LO
LE5LO

@fume0101- Agree with the first statement, incentives increase day 1 sales, but the last part about the industry growing because of pre-orders? The industry is growing simply because the quality of games is too. Retail pre-orders can always be cancelled, you're not forced into buying them and can always transfer/refund the money. Reviews often come early and give us the chance to decide whether that pre-order is worth claiming. My guess is sadly that a lot of the collectors edition pre-orders on this one will go unclaimed :,( and you'll be able to pick up one quite cheaply soon enough. That said pre-orders only work if the game gets good reviews upon release, otherwise, the retailers are gonna have a lot of extra copies in the bargain bin in no time!

justenw37
justenw37

@kohle36 Back when Alien first came out, even just ONE of them were enough to instill fear, to scare the living shit out of you, and you actually had to think twice before shooting and killing them anywhere near you, as it could potentially be fatal because of their acid blood splash alone. The Aliens we know, are terrifying. They looked better in 1979 than they do in this game. In this game, they're tiny, and weak as hell. I'd go as far to say that the Aliens in this game are nothing but fodder, that only manage to occasionally get in a lucky shot to actually do damage.

twztid13
twztid13

@LE5LO @fume0101 You must not play PC games, nor buy games from local retail stores, as you can't transfer/refund the money on a crap game unless you shop at Gamestop (which sells you used games for new prices). Most casual gamers preorder with the intent of buying, and they get rewarded with DLC or whatever junk the publishers decide to cut from the game to give out. Otherwise, what's the point? Most don't preorder only to cancel right before it's released. That is what the previous commenter was referring to.