Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit filed against Sega and Gearbox

The critically-mauled game has been accused of false advertising in a Californian court.

The disappointing Aliens: Colonial Marines is now the subject of a class action lawsuit, with both Gearbox Software and Sega accused of misrepresenting the game to consumers with false advertising.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in a Californian court and spotted by Polygon, alleges that the final game "bore little resemblance" to the early footage of the game shown in demos and gameplay trailers.

"Each of the 'actual gameplay' demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities," reads the claim filed by law firm Edelson LLC on behalf of plaintiff Damion Perrine.

"Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants never told anyone--consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters--that their 'actual gameplay' demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers."

Another complaint to the UK's Advertising Standards Agency has previously forced Sega to add disclaimers to the game's trailers stating that the footage shown in commercials was not indicative of the final product.

Other sources told GameSpot earlier this year that Gearbox neglected development on Aliens: Colonial Marines in favour of Borderlands 2, the company's own IP.

Gearbox President Randy Pitchford has acknowledged the criticisms. Responding earlier in the year on Twitter, he called the complaints "fair" and said the studio was "looking at that."

"Lots of info to parse, lots of stake holders to respect," he added.

The long-delayed Aliens: Colonial Marines finally launched this year to a largely negative reception. In the wake of its release annoyed ex-developers expressed their frustration with the way the title was handled, and reported that much of the game was outsourced to other studios.

The Wii U port of the game, once promised as the definitive version, was also cancelled.

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350 comments
Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

Quality of the game aside... da fuq?

Seriously, this is ridiculous. Or rather, for this game to be the target of something that could be levelled at NEARLY EVERY DAMN MARKETING CAMPAIGN EVER is ridiculous.

Take MMOs like WoW or ToR. Do those games feature gameplay at all similar to their trailers?

I'm not defending the quality of the game but I oppose the STUPID litigious mentality going on here.

DH-Biker
DH-Biker

I think I'm legitimately one of the few people who thoroughly enjoyed this game. None of my friends, nor anyone else I've talked to for that matter and supported by a vast consensus on the internet/magazine articles all claim this game was poorly done and never came close to expectations. 

I know of no other person (at least that I've talked to) who enjoyed this and to be fair, its not hard to see why. My opinion obviously will never counter the consensus, but at least they've got my support, I enjoyed it an awful lot but I can also see where they went wrong and where people would find criticisms with it. 

Still, I think suing them is a step to far. I hope they don't win, this seems an eccentric action for a largely pointless venture, obviously this is just the American "where there's blame, there's claim!" mantras taking their toll again. This is ludicrous, there's a hundred trailers I've seen which over-shot the game, I hardly think this is a false advertising case; if I sold an alcoholic drink that I didn't label as alcoholic, that would be false advertising, not showing a game's alpha progress stages before a myriad of factors took up against it and forced its backdraft. 

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

To whom it may concern at Gearbox, 

I as a financially conscientious gamer will be very wary of any future games you release.

I love Borderlands, it's a really fun game. But the DLC is just ridiculous.  There is just too much of it and you NEVER put it on sale. The season pass went on sale for 22.50 for one day on Steam last Xmas, I think it was a mistake, and I'm still kicking myself for not getting it.  My brother bought me The Hammerlock DLC and now I don't even want to buy the season pass b/c it offers me no savings anymore... So I will be waiting to buy any DLC for BL2. I might not buy any at all.

This Aliens debacle leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.  I'm not even a fan of the franchise. However, seeing you participate in such shady, scummy business practices makes me want to boycott you altogether.  You made a deal with Sega, and you welched on it. Sega, IMHO, has every right to sue the pants off of you as well.

There aren't any other games you make that I care about. BL2 is it. And you left yet another really bad taste in my mouth releasing a ridiculous amount of overpriced, half-assed DLC.  If it was half the price, and you offered more bundles, this would be different. But it's just too much. And a season pass is worthless to anyone who bought or had gifted even a single DLC.   And a season pass is also worthless if it doesn't give you all the DLC you offer for a game. That seems like pretty blatant false advertising to me.

Gearbox, please don't go down the nickle and dime road that EA and their ilk have paved. Please.  Make a good game that sells well. It's actually pretty simple.

Yours, 

A gamer who will spend his hard earned money on games like Kerbal Space Program, and wait for games from companies like you to hit the bargain bin a year or two later. Keep in mind Gearbox, this gamer has enough backlogged, unplayed games that I could not buy a game for a year or two and still have plenty of new games to play.

duffc25
duffc25

Well of couse people are wanting their money back after a poorly constructed game

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

A lawsuit against shady business practices ? Oh yes, please set an exzempel and let it be a warning to all publishers to only do truthful marketing.

- Product not working as advertised ? -> Money back guarantee
- Functionality missing in release ? -> Money back guarantee
- DRM requirements not made absolutely clear ? -> Money back guarantee
.. and that shit would stop in an instant

That's what you get for straight up lying, false advertising and dragging the name of an awesome franchise through the dirt, then releasing a half-assed bugfest game and even being fully aware of that, asking full price for it.

Let's hope they won't get away with it, next up in the line of class action lawsuits could easily be SimCity, which also does not work as advertised and seems to be getting worse with each new patch.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Even if the lawsuit fails it should be an eye opener for Gearbox. If they don't learn anything from this and continue to make one good game every 3 years or so(B-Lands of course) then they deserve whatever losses come their way. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when companies come out with multiple bad games and they never seem to learn from it. I guess you could apply that to a lot of other things, but it's the whole not learning from your mistakes. That to me is  part of what makes a smart person as opposed to idiots.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I still think it's hilarious that the Wii U version was supposed to be the best version of all the consoles and it was the only one cancelled. The sad part is that it would've sold a boat-loads of copies because those poor bastards don't have any other games to play on the Wii U.

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

Gearbox need to distance themselves from projects like this. It's mind blowing that the same dev can develop something like Borderlands and co-develop something as terrible as this. How does this happen, or maybe more importantly how has this happened again?

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

(Deep narrative voice) House of the Dead Overkill. Randy Pitchford is under fire for false advertisement that women are just sidescrapers while showing off sexy men and aliens instead. Ok, the men in the game doesn't look hot but the women do. Randy Pitchford escape with zombies turned against him with Agent G and Isaac Washington not far behind for revenge. Also Randy's stupidity for broken promise for the Wii U version over a beautiful girl.

If you ain't dead yet, you will be. It's payback for Alien Overkill.

xolivierx
xolivierx

let's be honest, everybody knew this game was going to be extremely bad.

hadlee73
hadlee73

As much as people like to bag Sega and Gearbox for this awful game, a lawsuit like this could set a dangerous precedent that could see a number of lawsuits against developers and studios who actually make good games, because trailers and ads which showed a PC version are played to represent all versions of a game without disclaimers. While I hope this acts as a wake-up call to Sega and Gearbox I really hope this case goes nowhere.

silvergol
silvergol

Hey! Why did you block people from post videos Only in THIS article?

cynicalundead
cynicalundead

I hope gearbox gets soaked on this, and I get my money back for the collector's edition I bought.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

I think their middleware failed them. Making a cross platform game across 4 different machine types can't be easy. Something's got to give. Too bad they couldn't make it PC only ala Chris Roberts.

holenjd
holenjd

I'm surprised it took this long.  I called a lawsuit the week it came out.  I played it on PC for about 30 minutes and was blown away by how totally different it looked than everything I had been following for the past several years.  Sega and Gearbox should be ashamed about how poorly this was all handled.

IronD3vil2
IronD3vil2

@Shanks_D_Chop Agreed. Read or watch a review before buying a game if you're uncertain. A lawsuit is just ridiculous

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@bloody-hell Alien has stopped being an awesome franchise a long time ago, since Alien 3 if I recall properly.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@bloody-hell I know a lot of people are calling this lawsuit BS, but it sure as hell has to happen. Until we (As gamers) can buy a game, and come back the next day to return it because it's a PoS or it doesn't even work at all (e.g. SimCity), the only option we have are lawsuits against those who abuse it.

I'd be far more lenient if I was able to return a turd. When you can't even trust reviews (SimCity, reviewed on private servers, obviously never had any real-world issues) for a product that has a "no return" policy, gamers will just become more and more cautious, and that will only hurt publishers in the long run.

Give us the same consumer rights as every other market out there and we won't be so quick to anger.

Saketume
Saketume

@bloody-hell It would be nice wouldn't it.

These days they can lie as much as they want in ads.

silvergol
silvergol

@ALLoY1717 It is All fault from Randy

( Tell me Sweet Little Lies Mr. Pitchford).

Enundr
Enundr

read some of the articles , gearbox put more focus into their own game (borderlands 2) while neglecting this game and in turn because of how many times they asked to have its release date pushed back , some idiot went in and deleted a good portion of the game and they had to throw it together from scratch since they were not going to get anymore time. it was their own neglegence that they chose to do that , where they could have just simply pushed BL2 back long enough for them to have finished aliens FIRST since it wasnt their game title like BL2. Gearbox made faults here , dont act like they didnt by saying the game that it was supposed to be was terrible , when in turn gearbox neglected it and it got destroyed due to that neglegance.

silvergol
silvergol

@hadlee73 No only scams! Real good games developers always show the game true content!.

Saketume
Saketume

@silvergol Not only here.. Seems every youtube link get's a "pending" today.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

@Daemoroth @bloody-hell We are programmed from being kids though, and kids don't have the point of reference to understand consumer rights.... now that we've grown up, the battle is 10 times as hard b/c it's gone on for so long.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

@Enundr How does a huge company like that delete mission critical data "on accident." They should have backups of backups of backups.... such BS excuses they are coming up with. Let em fry!

hadlee73
hadlee73

@silvergol @hadlee73 That's the problem I see with this though. Let's say if Sega and Gearbox get sued successfully here, then some pillock might go after stuff like Skyrim ("There weren't any real people in the game like there were in the trailer!") or even Bioshock Infinite ("The trailer clearly showed a level of detail that wasn't in the console versions, and yet there was no disclaimer saying this footage was from the PC version only!") etc. Its nitpicking sure, but a case like this could set the nitwits ablaze with unnecessary lawsuits.

silvergol
silvergol

@Stebsis You forgot Gearbox outsourced so many parts of the game.

Resulting in several flaws even techniques fails.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

@Devils-DIVISION Or perhaps you haven't played House of the Dead Overkill. I'm just doing that silly parody of the deep voice narrator of that game. Lighten up! If I wanted to troll I would've done so already. Anyway this is just done for fun.

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

@tightwad34 

I know what you mean. 

The guy was probably multitasking when he typed that: tyring to put out a fire whilst watching Aliens with sexy men and playing Zombies with Agent G and Isaac Washington.

That, or just a not so obvious troll.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

@hadlee73 @aajep @silvergol I actually kind of thought the same thing about Bioshock Infinite when I read this article, cuz the many, many videos they released looked so different from the end result. The videos I saw in  2012 an 2011 looked like it had better combat... but that's me.

maceman1984
maceman1984

@hadlee73 @silvergol I agree with this, and no aajep, it is not over thinking this. Most of you probably have no idea how game development works and for that matter, no idea how the development cycle works. Take bioshock infinite for example... The stuff they showed off at at E3 was, for the most part, not in the game. The whole part where Elizabeth puts Bookers hand around her neck and says that he cannot keep that promise was in an entirely different level that was not in the final game with events leading up to it that were not even in the final game. There are a number of situations like this in infinite and many other games because of how game development works. You need to change things, retool things, remove things, etc... I mean, people could just as easily sue ubisoft for taking out the torture scene of the upcoming splinter cell game due to the fact that it was shown more than once at press conferences. There are so many instances of this happening because of how the cycle works that this law suite will set a very dangerous precedent if successful. Only people who are ignorant and/or want to see this industry fail could possibly think this is a good idea.

Enundr
Enundr

@hadlee73 @silvergol but then theres this , its not entirely just a trailer being diff from actual gameplay footage ,last i heard they did have a stage demo , and NOTHING was as it turned out to be after release , though some events in stage demos dont occur , you do have a generally more polished off version (still subject to change) when you put one out on the stage demo, and when the game was releeased it was NOTHING like as it was demonstrated to be. And you might see a problem with this for every random idiot trying to abuse such a thing , it can be turned around by the developers to continue producing shotty products while making trailers completely diff then it actually is. while still charging the $60ish you have to pay , and some companies already gouge their game to death to resell it as DLC. theres an issue here where these cases MUST be looked at carefully , so random idiots cant sue anything they want for random reason like (game did not have bananas in it) , nor give the companies the feel of immunity of real punishment from throwing out shoddy products like this while demoing it as far better then it turns out as.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@aajep @hadlee73 @silvergol You're probably right. I tend to over-think things. Maybe its more of a matter of me over-sharing my over-thinkings. Whoops, there I go again lol