Sega and Gearbox respond to Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit

Developer Gearbox calls the lawsuit alleging false advertising "beyond meritless."

Aliens: Colonial Marines publisher Sega and developer Gearbox Software have responded to the false advertising claims alleged in a class action lawsuit.

"Sega cannot comment on specifics of ongoing litigation, but we are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously," said a Sega spokesperson to Kotaku.

Gearbox also called the suit "beyond meritless" in a statement. "Attempting to wring a class action lawsuit out of a demonstration is beyond meritless. We continue to support the game, and will defend the rights of entertainers to share their works-in-progress without fear of frivolous litigation," said a spokesperson for the Borderlands 2 developer.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week in a Californian court by firm Edelson LLC, claimed that the final game "bore little resemblance" to the early footage of Aliens: Colonial Marines shown in demos and gameplay trailers.

Aliens: Colonial Marines launched this year to a negative reception: GameSpot awarded the game a 4.5 in its review. Controversy surrounding the game continued, with posts by frustrated ex-developers, and questions over how much of the game was outsourced to other studios.

One of the Aliens: Colonial Marines developers, TimeGate Studios, has recently filed for bankruptcy protection.

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220 comments
June-GS
June-GS

I'm usually on Gearbox's side, but NOT on this one. Seriously guys, that's how bad the game was, that you deserve to be sued, one way or the other. By Sega, most especially.

I still love you, but the sooner you fellas admit to how badly you really screwed this one up, the better it is for everybody.

M4karov
M4karov

All this lawsuit would ever accomplish is a little blurb in future trailers that says "footage subject to change." 

This lawsuit is being warped into some sort of moral crusade when really it boils down to someone not liking the game.

How often is promotional material better than actual product?  All.  The.  Time.  If you can't wait for reviews, then don't complain when the game doesn't meet your expectations.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

This lawsuit should continue - these guys (And the fans supporting them) are trying to warp the reason for the lawsuit into something that would be frivolous.

This lawsuit is NOT because of Alpha footage that didn't match gameplay, this lawsuit is because demo footage was ENHANCED, "doctored" and given a HUUUGE amount of post-production to make it look BETTER than it actually was - graphical/gameplay effects that just don't exist in ANY version of the game.

Do you really think gamers would sue because Alpha footage didn't look AS GOOD as the final game? In what world would this set a precedent that if the game doesn't look like the alpha a lawsuit should occur.

This lawsuit is about a company who took gameplay footage, then touched it up, enhanced it, added effects that don't exist, increased the fidelity, and then released it as gameplay footage. What they released wasn't even REMOTELY gameplay footage, yet they labelled it as such. The retail version is WORSE than the released footage, and THAT is why this lawsuit is happening.

Navardo95
Navardo95

Gearbox should simply rename their company as "TheBorderlandsCompany"...that is the only game they make that is relatively decent...everything else they make is a colossal pile of shit that everyone should stay as far away as possible....

Also Randy Pitchford is one of the most annoying people I've seen in the gaming industry.

RavageCobra
RavageCobra

Come on, it took them six (maybe more?) years to develop that horrible game, Sega giving them chance after chance to make it and in the end Sega had enough of their excuses and made a final deadline, and Gearbox outsourced to not one, not two, but THREE companies. But oh, don't let me make the mistake of missing the multiplayer part actually made by Gearbox (which was decent from what I understand.)

Come on people, you're smarter than this, Gearbox screwed them hard. I'm fully with Sega on this particular situation.

fallin75
fallin75

All the trailers that I saw about this game here on Gamespot, made the game look like shit, I wans't surprised at all when the game came out and got really bad reviews.

Martyr77
Martyr77

I want to know when the lawsuit against WarZ is going to come.

hadlee73
hadlee73

This law suit needs to be squashed. It doesn't just set a bad precedent for the games industry, but also for the rest of the entertainment industry (film, TV etc).

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I don't like the way Sega and Gearbox are portraying the lawsuit as hurting game makers ability to share work in progress. There are at least two very distinct forms of preview material: one is a glimpse of work in progress, shared by the creator without any guarantee and accepted by the audience without specific expectations; the other is promotional material either stated or strongly implied to be representative of a product and used in a advertising capacity. While it is indeed meritless to take someone to court for the former, abusing the later has very specific legal ramifications: namely, false advertising, or to put it in a broader context, fraud.

I haven't kept track of A: CM, so I don't know what Sega or Gearbox might have done that constitute false advertising. However, given how many people feel they were misled when buying the game, I think it's very necessary for the court to address their grievances. Reaching beyond this one game, I hope the court's ruling will help to clarify the boundary between work in progress, advertising material, and the first used as the second. In addition to resolve conflict between two parties, our courts clarify the laws that govern our daily lives so that fewer and fewer obfuscation with the intent for harmful gain can be perpetrated.

lunarwolfaaron
lunarwolfaaron

if this law suit did win it would only hurt us the consumer. i mean video game companies would no longer take risk  on new i.p. games. they would only go for the thing that makes them money for sure with little risk. This suit should loose as i do not want to see even more yearly sequels to call of duty, halo,  uncharted, and gears of war.  Also what the supposed suit is over graphic presentation not gameplay at all. in the demo on one part your going through this docking tube that has clear glass and you can see outside in space. In the demo something hits the tube you you can clearly see the crack in the glass. Also the object was a marine and alot of blood was smeared on the cracked glass. in actual the game graphics are toned down and the scene plays out the same. I agree with another's comment that the demo was recorded from a very high end pc with alot of spit and polish to get people interested. In no way do i feel cheated by this game. In fact i still own my copy and have been playing since day one. The only thing that i see people possibly getting a refund from the season pass dlc content. So far 1 dlc has come out and they originally said all 3 would be out by june 2013.

Gamerguy2915
Gamerguy2915

To Gearbox, some advice from a loyal fan who also happens to be a law student. Yes, the suit is without merit. Yes, allowing it to proceed could inflict a negative precedent on designers who significantly change a game after showing off demo footage. And yes, the Court will most likely dismiss the suit or grant them summary judgment (dismissal more likely). 

But here's the thing. In this case, the firm bringing the suit is ABSOLUTELY right. The experience promised to me and thousands of other Alien movie fans was ripped away from us because the game was not given a priority by the developing game studio. Borderlands 2 was not even a significant offshoot of Borderlands 1: we have a group of characters working together to get rich. The Aliens game could have been great with the proper amount of devoted time,effort, and a dedicated staff. So I think this suit should proceed because everyone who bought that game was SO disappointed with it that they had to return it the next day. The value of the game is practically a negative number because GameStop is having such a hard time getting rid of the used copies of it. There should be consequences when a game loses so much potential overnight, and the fans unaware of the loss buy the game anyway thinking they'll have the rewarding gaming experience they were promised. 

And Colonial Marines had some of the biggest plot holes I've ever seen in a game. Even bigger than the ones in Prometheus. Congratulations, Sega and Gearbox. You managed to make a poorly written prequel movie look better by comparison. That's not something to be proud of. 

xolivierx
xolivierx

Sega should make Sonic games and that's about it.

Polygon_Pariah
Polygon_Pariah

"beyond meritless"

So blatantly obvious video comparisons of demo footage and actual game footage, and outsourcing 2/3rds of the development to a 3rd party developer is meritless?  Take responsibility for yourselves. 

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

This isn't exactly like "The Finale" on Seinfeld, but I'm shock and chagrin! Mortified and stupefied! Outrageous and preposterous! Ryan Pitchford is lying and laughing. Laughing and lying.

Well I stuffed up my lines but that's as close as I can get.

AlexFili
AlexFili

What's the point in slapping your company's name on a title if you have done less than 10% of the work? It's a joke

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

"beyond meritless" could also be used to describe ALIENS : Colonial Marines itself.  I pre-ordered that game based on my love of the Aliens canon and the pre-release trailers and 'gameplay' footage. After what I experienced with the game, I'd say false advertising applies here. What an utter piece of shit.....

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

This is defintely an interesting topic and i am kinda glad peeps are getting called on this practice. Happens WAY too often. The worst example i can think of false advertising was when sony showing off the PSP with  football clips...and then acting all surprised when peeps mistook what they were showing as a Madden demo.

you mean you people mistook the media in OUR GAMING DEVICE AS A VIDEOGAME? oh dear no...this is just football clips to demonstrate that you can watch clips of sports in short intervals on handheld devices, yaknow..like how Cowboy fans usually watch their games.

peteuplink
peteuplink

Gearbox are a poor development house anyway. Their only other games of note are from the Borderlands series, and they're a steaming turd pile as well...

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

This is big I heard their are people who arent going to buy Borderlands 2 because of the lies Gear Box put out.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

Well, I haven't played Colonial Marines, so I don't know what the deal is with the difference between the game and the early trailers. Regardless, I really don't think people have the right to sue over a difference between pre-release promotional videos/demos and a final product, outside of an extreme difference.

For instance, if they promised a modern-day Aliens FPS where you play as a Colonial Marine and the disc contained a 2D side-scroller with an Alien gathering flowers for Love Points with 4 levels which could be beaten in 10 minutes, I could understand a lawsuit. Outside of "LoveLoveAlien", there really isn't grounds for "small" (as I see it) differences.

This feels similar to the Mass Effect 3 Ending Incident. BioWare talked about their plans for the series early on, and ended up not being able to deliver on them. Which feels similar to Peter M., his big mouth and Fable. Is it super fair? Not so much. Is it false advertizing? Not so much.

As for Gearbox... I don't know. Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Brothers in Arms and Borderlands 1/2 were great games. Then there is Duke Nukem, 007: Nightfire, and Colonial Marines. Interestingly enough though, the bad games they are connected with are "collaborations" with other studios. The good ones are pure in-house development titles. Maybe they have bad luck with other studio's involvement? *sigh* I just don't know.

billlabowski
billlabowski

I'm sure Sega is pissed off royally at those idiots at Gearbox. Their only claim to fame is Borderlands and even that IP sucks ass. They used Sega's time and money to produce garbage, lied to everyone who bought the game, and then defends it? I'm sorry but if you can't admit that your game is shit, and you keep selling it at anything above $9.99, than what you and your company is doing is meritless, and your studio is meritless. They want to throw that word around? ...well it makes sense. 

MoK86
MoK86

I strongly agree with who ever is suing GEARBOX ive never did get my appology for such a poor excuse of a game like DUKE NUKEM and ALIENS and if you went to the COMMUNITY EVENT that GEARBOX has in dallas it is the biggest scam of a show. and they promote the crap out of those games and that jerk off from GEARBOX i think his name is RANDY PITCHFORK and the rest of the crew claim all these promises that the game is this and that the game is that and how awesome of a game its going to be and we get shafted being $64.11 less and angry at how crap the game is. they are full of it man and i hope that GEARBOX gets sued for releasing such a crappy game. and i hope that it shows every other game developer that this is what happens when you release a terrible game that doesn't even live up to the hype and not even the demo's that were shown. 

Sarcasm101
Sarcasm101

So does this mean if I see a movie trailer that makes a statement like "You'll laugh your ass off" or "It will make you see the world in a different way." and that movie does not fulfill those claims then I have the right to sue the studio because of false advertising?

The entertainment industry which includes video games makes bold claims about their products and they always have. The fact they they don't always deliver on their promises does not mean anyone has the right to sue them simply because they didn't live up to their expectations. When you buy a movie ticket, buy a book, buy a video game or purchase any other form of entertainment you are taking the risk that it will or it will not entertain you. If it doesn't how is that somehow the creators fault? They have no idea what you like or do not like they are creating a mass produced form of entertainment and are hoping to hit the mark with it. If they don't then they don't and the product stinks.

But no one has the right to file a suit against a company simply because you didn't know ahead of time that you were not going to like their product.


commando1992
commando1992

There's a Latin saying that translates to "Let the buyer beware". That's how capitalism works. There's hardly such a thing as a legal assurance of quality, at least when it comes to video games. This games was a screw up, but you take that risk when you pre order. People bet on the reputations of the devs and the publisher, and they lost out. Nothing they can do but consider that the next time they buy a game from these companies. 

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

If the preview videos for the game are better (in every way) than the end result (for example, the infamous sentry gun in the tunnel scene)...that's false advertising. Especially if there was a review embargo. The fact that it's digital media prevents returns to the store. And to top it all off, they probably sold more than a few Season Passes with no refunds available, that they probably have no intention of honoring with the release of any actual content. If they don't lose the lawsuit, they damn sure should be driven out of the industry for being lowlife crooks.

naomha1
naomha1

Big companies number ONE rule. Deny Everything. Of course they shouldn't be held liable for lying to the general public. Of course that gameplay you showed and previewed wasn't actual in game gameplay. What the hell were we, as gamers, possibly thinking?  All that tech you showed, yeah, give us the lowest possible common denominator. Heck, in fact, just change the whole damn thing and never tell us. Yeah, you're not liable. Not at all. 

Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

I don't know.  One side of me would like to see the gamers win. Simply to make the developers and publishers think twice about releasing crap. 

The other side of me is weary about the hell storm of stupidity that this could bring if the gamers did win. It will become a standard for people to sue for bad quality which would lead to developers mostly sticking to safe plays rather than experimenting even further stagnating the gaming industry. More and more CoD business models will emerge and companies will eventually keep any R&D to a minimum.

Seems like a double edged sword to me.

worksa10
worksa10

@Daemoroth This^ 

In other situations you would be right, but they have a real case on this one.

LtReviews
LtReviews

@Navardo95  

Brothers in Arms

Half Life: Opposing Force

You have no clue what you are talking about.

 

_Silent_Jay_
_Silent_Jay_

@Unfallen_SatanActually, a lot of industry people are concerned about this, as it would set a really dangerous precedence if Sega and Gearbox should lose, however unlikely that is.  Basically, the already risk adverse industry would end up having to circle the wagons, and not actually show any work in progress until release for fear of somebody pulling this again.   So, goodbye demos, gameplay trailers, and gaming press.


That said, it's highly unlikely this case will make it to trial, as it is really ridiculous, but who knows?  (Companies are already almost completely protected from this thanks to some prior cases that make the whole ACM thing look like two kindergarteners going "Did not.  Did too.")

Enundr
Enundr

@lunarwolfaaron incase you havent notice , they sorta dont take those risks already , they make mock ups of CoD in lots of cases , or just go into how many sequels , prequels , side stories , etc. this lawsuit can be good and bad for both sides , but saying the companies wont take a risk on a new i.p. game? no , its already too late on that. the good : it can make companies actually take time to make sure their game is as advertised , the bad: like many things , idiots will abuse it to no end for their personal gain , wasting everyones time and money.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

@xolivierx No sega should continue to make all different ips as they have done for years. From sonic to streets of rage to panzar dragoon to shenmue, Jet set radio baku baku animal binary domain, headhunter and lots of quality ips they have put out over the years.

Uri-Z
Uri-Z

@AlexFili And they want all the credit for it before it launches, then proclaim they did only 10% when it fails. That's the real joke

Cristhian_Cobas
Cristhian_Cobas

@SlowMotionKarma Well the point is that, for game developers and gamers alike, when you are promised dynamic lighting, movie atmosphere and overall a true aliens feel in a GAMEPLAY demo, and you end up getting plain colors, no dinamic lighting whatsoever, and no graphics similar to the demo, then it's false advertising. The issue here is: the gameplay demo actually did not look anything like the game, giving the impression that the "gameplay" was, in fact, a render tweaked up to look awesome and boost preorder sales, and what customers got was nothing like the demo. I've played hundreds of games from the demos to the final products, and when there's a gameplay demo, almost always the final product looks very much alike the demo. This was not the case, hence the lawsuit.

Polygon_Pariah
Polygon_Pariah

@SlowMotionKarma

SlowMotionKarma says: "Well, I haven't played Colonial Marines, so I don't know what the deal is"

Which is probably why you should do the minimal research before forming an open opinion on it. This lawsuit is about false advertisement, it is an illegal practice.  Its kinda like you responding to a car ad for a red Corvette and show up to find a rusted out lime green Sentra. 

Would you be happy about your wasted time? That's how people feel about this, not to mention a great movie license being trashed and wasted.

LtReviews
LtReviews

@billlabowski  

Brothers in Arms and the Half-Life expansions were made by Gearbox. 

If you are saying their only claim to fame is Borderlands, you are clearly too uninformed to post on the topic.

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

@billlabowski Sorry - while I agree with much of what you said, Borderlands most definitely does NOT suck ass. That's a pretty damn incredible IP right there......

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

@Sarcasm101 While I don't agree much with the lawsuit, It's not merely about people not getting what they expect. This is about a company promising something, actually showing a demonstration of what they were promising, taking pre-orders of their product only for gamers to find out that what they were given wasn't even on par with what they showed.

Again, don't agree with the lawsuit, but it's pretty shitty to see developers devote so much time into decieving their future fanbase into buying something rather than devoting that time into improving the product.

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

@commando1992 While i do agree with you on some level..it seems that only electronic media is able to get away with things of this nature. In any other industry i can think of this would be consumer fraud.

Cristhian_Cobas
Cristhian_Cobas

@Dizzy1976 take a look at Bioshock Infinite. they were very clear on what was "actual gameplay" and "not actual gameplay" in their promotional videos... what gearbox did here was selling something as "actual gameplay" and delivering a whole lot of crap after they sold a bunch of preorder packages. This, in ANY OTHER industry is fraud. 

Think of it like this: a pharmaceutical company tells you they are developing a cancer cure. then they say that in controlled patients, the drug has showed some impressive results. Then they say they have effectively eradicated cancer in some control patients. Then they sell the drug, and it does not cure a single patient taking it... Not even getting close to "impressive results". The company immediately get sued for their damage to the people and fraud. 

Of course my analogy is a little extreme, but as some people already said here, it's about digital media being one of the few industries getting away with things like this... And it's not like it's a small investment. 60 bucks is approximately what I spend in one week of supermarket food for me and my sister. If I don't get the promised product, I've got the right to complain and get a refund in most cases.

naomha1
naomha1

@Dizzy1976 Or rather, companies won't LIE about actual in game tech and in game assets and gameplay they supposedly are showing and claiming genuine for release. 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@_Silent_Jay_ There is also merit to the argument, and no doubt businesses will make it, that consumers in doubt should wait for the game to be out and reviewed before buying. That previews/demos are not guarantees as a matter of course. That's how I approach my purchases. On the other hand, to create and maintain an atmosphere of trust in this industry, both sellers and buyers have to do their part. Simply asking buyers beware on all preview material will only generate an atmosphere of cynicism beneficial to no one. I don't recall many examples of old day demos not representing the final game despite their prevalence a decade or two ago. Legal merit aside, the dispute surrounding A: CM is an opportunity for game makers to see just how seriously some buyers take the truthful AND up-to-date information on the game they buy.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@_Silent_Jay_ I think it's equally likely it will set a great precedence, even if the industry becomes fearful. Perhaps it should. Using the case in the UK as example, some restriction, either statutory or self-regulating, on how preview materials can be presented will do the industry good. Consumers will be protected, and businesses will try extra hard to be honest.

I don't want a ruling that makes all previews binding, with disclaimer or not. I think there is no chance such a ruling will occur. I think it highly unlike the lawsuit is based on that argument. I do want companies to think twice before insinuating a demo represents the final product when they don't know if it will AND to take extra care to make consumers aware of changing product quality when production no longer matches the quality of previous demos. This later part is especially important in this pre-order, digital age of ours where, at least on paper, refund is all but impossible.

sreed315
sreed315

@Polygon_Pariah  

Maybe you should read what slowmotionkarma said and realize what you just commented on is exactly what he said in his post. Or maybe you did not read anything after his first sentence you quoted and didn't realize his post is far more intellectual and opinionated than your pathetic troll comment. 

Polygon_Pariah
Polygon_Pariah

@DETfaninATL 

Borderlands was kinda stupid. 

1.Cell shaded games went out back in 1999.

2. If its a post apocalyptic waste land, then why are there soo many guns, ammo and items out there?

3. Enemies got repetitive and it was too easy to level up.

4. Claptrap is the Borderlands version of Jar Jar Binks

Point is, Gearbox/Pitchford dropped the ball one too many times.  If I were a publisher, I wouldn't work with him.

Sarcasm101
Sarcasm101

@RAD_RADIO While i do understand that view point it still comes down to people wanting compensation simply because they don't like something. Basically they judged the game before they played it and now they feel like idiots and want to place blame. Often times we assume that judging a game only goes one way. Someone hating a game without playing it...which could lead to them missing out on something they would enjoy, but judging a game to be awesome before playing it can be even more detrimental...especially to your pocket book.

When I see something like ACM all I can think of is the movie Pearl Harbor....when it was being advertised with trailers and commercials all they showed was the sequences from the attack and at no time did any of those trailers indicate that Pearl Harbor was nothing more than a copy of Titanic. A love story set during the time frame before, during, and after the historic event. 

When I finally saw the film all I could think about was those sneaky sobs lured me in with the notion that the film was a TORA TORA TORA style film and i was totally off the mark. At no time did i even remotely consider that it was their fault for me not liking the film. i blamed myself for just not doing enough research on the film to see what it was really about....lesson learned and as such with ACM...lesson learned by many others. 

For me the game never looked like a 60 dollar game and I was watching the same trailers and hearing the same promises so I was gonna wait for it to drop in price but now I will most likely wait to even consider purchasing the game only when it's a bargain bin game and even then may still not buy it.

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Polygon_Pariah Your number 1 and 2 arguments are dumb as hell, art direction has nothing to do with the quality of a game, and Borderlands does NOT take place in a post apocalyptic wasteland, it takes place on a backwater planet,

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

@Sarcasm101 @RAD_RADIO 
The Pearl Harbor trailer failed to properly portray the story of the film, however in the case of ACM the gameplay teaser and interviews of staff actually described and showed off things that WERE NOT EVEN IN THE FINAL PRODUCT (caps are for emphasis, not volume).

I think there's a huge difference there. Again, the lawsuit is still stupid and I still disagree with it, but there is some merit to feeling deceived, and quite pissed off.