Aliens: Colonial Marines has been controversial ever since its release in February 2013. So controversial, in fact, that some people filed a class-action lawsuit against Gearbox and Sega, claiming that Sega falsely advertised to consumers and Gearbox directed funds for the game to other projects.
This week, Gearbox responded to the lawsuit via court filings (reported by Polygon) and stated that it had no responsibility in the matters raised by the suit. The developer's lawyers requested that the claims against Gearbox be dropped, stating that the company was not involved in the controversy and had no influence over the actions of Sega. Further, the attorneys said that the developer never misdirected funds and that such accusations were false.
In fact, Gearbox executives also revealed that the developer had to sink a significant amount of its own funds into the game, far beyond what Sega provided for its development. Vice president Steve Gibson said, "During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game; Gearbox's contributions to Aliens: Colonial Marines totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid."
"Gearbox's contributions to Aliens: Colonial Marines totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid."
Gibson went on to deny accusations of Gearbox building levels and even an engine for pre-launch marketing that didn't make it into the full game. "To develop the software, Gearbox utilized the Unreal game engine licensed from Epic Games; this was the only game engine Gearbox used in the design and development of the game," he said. "Contrary to what some believe, the pre-release demonstrations were not made using different game engines."
Discussion and backlash against Colonial Marines began before it was even released. The game received mediocre or bad scores from many reviewers, and publisher Sega was even concerned that developer Gearbox was not investing enough effort into the game. When complaints were filed that trailers for the game published pre-launch were misrepresentative of the final game, Sega admitted that the videos could have been misleading.
Since the launch of Colonial Marines, Sega has moved onto other Alien projects, enlisting the help of Creative Assembly to develop Alien: Isolation. The upcoming horror game launches on October 7 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and it looks promising. You can read our preview here.