How Aliens: Colonial Marines Fell Apart (Kotaku)

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#1 Posted by megadeth1117 (1830 posts) -

A very interesting article on how a game full of great potential was ultimately destroyed by it's own developers.

According to one person familiar with the project who spoke to Kotaku under condition of anonymity, Gearbox outsourced the bulk of Colonial Marines (codenamed Pecan) to a studio called TimeGate, most recently responsible for the shooter Section 8 and its sequel.

The Redditor explains that TimeGate left the single-player campaign in "a pretty horrid state," and that last September after Borderlands 2 shipped, Gearbox was unhappy with what TimeGate had left them. Sega was already upset with Gearbox for asking for multiple extensions since the project launched in 2006, so Gearbox had to buckle down and release a game they knew wasn't going to be very good, the Redditor said.

The post on Reddit matches what our source has told us, but there's more. When TimeGate took over the project, our source said, they threw out most of what Gearbox had done beforehand. All of the art and design that Gearbox had produced during the previous four years was gone.

People at Gearbox knew the bad reviews were coming, our source said. They knew that the game wasn't good.

Somehow the schedules for Pecan (codename fore Aliens: Colonial Marines) and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no f**king way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan's Beta deadline got closer and closer. In April or May (can't remember which), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to an agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.


More in the actual article.

Such a god damn shame.

#2 Posted by Rattlesnake_8 (18434 posts) -
Wow so TimeGate through out previous work? Sounds horrible.. shame the game turned out the way it did, butit does explain things. Hopefully next time GearBox don't outsource and will wait until they are done with one game before starting the next (or get a bigger dev team).
#3 Posted by tagyhag (15867 posts) -
Ew Sh*taku.
#4 Posted by DarkLink77 (31983 posts) -

On the one hand, this is Kotaku.

On the other hand, that sounds very plausible, and a lot of it comes from that Reddit post.

#5 Posted by Masculus (2878 posts) -

You have to wonder how this information came after the launch and not before. Good job informing people.

#6 Posted by bobbetybob (19308 posts) -
That's a shame, but it's a bit weird, Timegate aren't THAT bad, their past few games have gotten increasingly better and overall they have an average score of 73 on Metacritic, seems weird for them to suddenly go insane with this.
#7 Posted by lamprey263 (26457 posts) -
So why didn't they just tell Sega they'd fund the rest of the development themselves with their revenues from Borderland 2, that's what they should have done considering they referred to this game as their pet project, seems to me like Sega gave them money to make an Aliens game back in 2006 and they probably used that money to work on Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and working on Borderlands DLC... seriously though were they surprised the TimeGate game sucked? I mean I could have looked at their game history to know that was a mistake. What probably happened is Gearbox deliberately screwed Sega, Sega fronted money for a game to be produced, instead Gearbox makes Borderlands 1 and 2 and all that DLC, finished Duke Nukem (seriously why didn't they outsource that), but they had to fulfill their contract with Sega so they outsourced the game for someone to do a hatchet job that they could probably hire cheaply so they could give the publisher and end product, they probably had no intention of making a good game but just a game to fulfill the contract that fronted them the money for their other projects. Maybe Sega is right to an extent and they don't know Gearbox outsourced it to TimeGate, as a part of this project in both financial support, as the holder of the licensing rights, and as the publisher shouldn't they be kept in the loop on key decisions like this? I wonder if a lawsuit from Sega is coming.
#8 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38219 posts) -

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

#9 Posted by GD1551 (9645 posts) -

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

seanmcloughlin

They said because sega was at the point of suing them, so they couldn't ask for another extension.

#10 Posted by crimsonman1245 (4253 posts) -

From the outside looking in, it doesnt look like Timegate is the problem, it looks like Gearbox is the problem. Their reputation is going to take a huge hit after this.

 

#11 Posted by Rattlesnake_8 (18434 posts) -
Even if Timegate screwed the game up, Gearbox outsourced it and it's their name on the box. You'd think they would be checking in often and play testing the current version periodically to make sure the game is shaping up to what they want. Geabox didn't care since they just wanted to get Borderlands 2 out as they knew it would make them money.
#12 Posted by psymon100 (6835 posts) -

The post on Reddit matches what our source has told us, but there's more. When TimeGate took over the project, our source said, they threw out most of what Gearbox had done beforehand. All of the art and design that Gearbox had produced during the previous four years was gone.megadeth1117

No sympathy. 

So easy to copy files. Give them a copy and retain a backup copy - TimeGate could have destroyed the data and Gearbox would have been OK. 

If this is really what happened, then I've no sympathy whatsoever for them. 100% preventable and there is a whole segment of the IT services market devoted to backing up data. 

#13 Posted by Crazyguy105 (9513 posts) -

From the outside looking in, it doesnt look like Timegate is the problem, it looks like Gearbox is the problem. Their reputation is going to take a huge hit after this.

 

crimsonman1245

Of course Gearbox is the problem. They put all of the work into Borderlands 2, (a game they knew was going to sell far more than Aliens) and left A:CM in the hands of an incompetent developer.

#14 Posted by Baranga (14217 posts) -

The Reddit post says TimeGate made 85% of the campaign in 5 months. That contradicts Kotaku's source, but Kotaku uses both statements to sh*t on TimeGate. Meanwhile, TG devs don't even know how much of their build is in the final game.

This is all going to blow up in their face, isn't it? Gearbox will just announce Borderlands 3 and everybody will be happy.

#15 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

This games actually cool the only things i think kinda sucked in the movies they didnt look down the sight lol they just hipfired the guns feel kinda like call of duty the look of the sights and the guns paint on them are crap ghetto.

The stealth mission is dumb as hell your supposed to walk past aliens and they just walk and they actually walk directly into you and they dont see you? wtf is that crap lol and if you start running the aliens will case you and explode into a cloud of acid and kill you.

#16 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

ripley looked alongside the gun at one point in the movie but never directly down some sight neither did the marines.

#17 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

Also the smart gun doesnt auto target in the movie and it has a motion tracker on the side of the gun which is missing from the game.

They only replicated hutsons motion tracker which is just a motion tracker by itself.

#18 Posted by Rattlesnake_8 (18434 posts) -

The Reddit post says TimeGate made 85% of the campaign in 5 months. That contradicts Kotaku's source, but Kotaku uses both statements to sh*t on TimeGate. Meanwhile, TG devs don't even know how much of their build is in the final game.

This is all going to blow up in their face, isn't it? Gearbox will just announce Borderlands 3 and everybody will be happy.

Baranga
Sadly true.. and they lied with Borderlands 2. They said it was longer than the first, it was WAY shorter.
#19 Posted by DarkLink77 (31983 posts) -

[QUOTE="megadeth1117"]

The post on Reddit matches what our source has told us, but there's more. When TimeGate took over the project, our source said, they threw out most of what Gearbox had done beforehand. All of the art and design that Gearbox had produced during the previous four years was gone.psymon100

No sympathy. 

So easy to copy files. Give them a copy and retain a backup copy - TimeGate could have destroyed the data and Gearbox would have been OK. 

If this is really what happened, then I've no sympathy whatsoever for them. 100% preventable and there is a whole segment of the IT services market devoted to backing up data. 

Pretty freakin' much. The more I hear about the way development was handled, the more respect I lose for Gearbox.
#20 Posted by mems_1224 (49327 posts) -

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

seanmcloughlin
because of money. They game has already been in development for like 6 years. Gearbox and Sega figured they might as well cut their losses. Unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world where devs have all the time in the world to work on games
#21 Posted by mems_1224 (49327 posts) -
At least they focused all their time on Borderlands 2. If they would have split their focus then Borderlands 2 probably wouldn't have been as awesome.
#22 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -
[QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

mems_1224
because of money. They game has already been in development for like 6 years. Gearbox and Sega figured they might as well cut their losses. Unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world where devs have all the time in the world to work on games

lol this game was first announced in 2002.
#23 Posted by RawDeal_basic (1957 posts) -

Ew Sh*taku.tagyhag

#24 Posted by clyde46 (47872 posts) -

From the outside looking in, it doesnt look like Timegate is the problem, it looks like Gearbox is the problem. Their reputation is going to take a huge hit after this.

 

crimsonman1245
Thats whats on the box.
#25 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIeLGifENbI

Aliens: Colonial Marine PS2  2002

#26 Posted by mems_1224 (49327 posts) -
[QUOTE="mems_1224"][QUOTE="seanmcloughlin"]

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

nextgenjoke
because of money. They game has already been in development for like 6 years. Gearbox and Sega figured they might as well cut their losses. Unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world where devs have all the time in the world to work on games

lol this game was first announced in 2002.

from the wikipedia page "A previous game titled Aliens: Colonial Marines was developed by Check Six Games and was to be published by Fox Interactive and Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, but was cancelled before its release. A more traditional first-person shooter, it shared the same subject matter and setting as the upcoming Gearbox-developed game. Its story was to be set between the events of Aliens and Alien 3, concerning a rescue team of Colonial Marines searching for the Sulaco. Despite the similarities in gameplay and story, however, Gearbox has claimed that their upcoming game is unrelated to this early version"
#27 Posted by faizan_faizan (7869 posts) -
GearBox failed, HARD.
#28 Posted by super600 (31248 posts) -

You should have just canceled this game gearbox.

#29 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

game was one of the reason i bought ps2 actually.

#30 Posted by clyde46 (47872 posts) -
GearBox failed, HARD.faizan_faizan
Pray tell why they failed? They didn't even make the SP side of the game.
#31 Posted by faizan_faizan (7869 posts) -
[QUOTE="faizan_faizan"]GearBox failed, HARD.clyde46
Pray tell why they failed? They didn't even make the SP side of the game.

Then who did?
#32 Posted by clyde46 (47872 posts) -
[QUOTE="clyde46"][QUOTE="faizan_faizan"]GearBox failed, HARD.faizan_faizan
Pray tell why they failed? They didn't even make the SP side of the game.

Then who did?

Didn't you read the OP?
#33 Posted by psymon100 (6835 posts) -

But whose name will go on the box though? Won't it be Gearbox who receives the credit? Surely the buck stops with Gearbox, and it's up to them to scrutinise the work of any third party going into a product credited to Gearbox?

#34 Posted by deangallop (3811 posts) -

Don't believe anything kotaku posts without photographic evidence. Sources are probably themselves, they are known for stirring up ****

#35 Posted by faizan_faizan (7869 posts) -
[QUOTE="clyde46"][QUOTE="faizan_faizan"][QUOTE="clyde46"] Pray tell why they failed? They didn't even make the SP side of the game.

Then who did?

Didn't you read the OP?

No. K imma read it.
#36 Posted by FireSpirit117 (1926 posts) -

At least they focused all their time on Borderlands 2. If they would have split their focus then Borderlands 2 probably wouldn't have been as awesome. mems_1224
This I can concur with. While I still think GBX should take their share of the blame, I'm still willing to give them another chance since the stuff they do right far exceeds the stuff they do wrong.

The game itself also doesn't seem that bad.

#37 Posted by Master_ShakeXXX (13361 posts) -

And now the blame game starts. Lets all just pardon the fine and respectable developers over at Gearbox. It's all TimeGate. They're the villains here!

#38 Posted by DarkLink77 (31983 posts) -

And now the blame game starts. Lets all just pardon the fine and respectable developers over at Gearbox. It's all TimeGate. They're the villains here!

Master_ShakeXXX
I know you're being sarcastic, but I think most people are going to blame Gearbox. They were in charge of this game's development. They completely and utterly failed. I don't think anyone is blind to this fact. But people will probably cut them some slack, because they've made some excellent games.
#39 Posted by Master_ShakeXXX (13361 posts) -

[QUOTE="Master_ShakeXXX"]

And now the blame game starts. Lets all just pardon the fine and respectable developers over at Gearbox. It's all TimeGate. They're the villains here!

DarkLink77

I know you're being sarcastic, but I think most people are going to blame Gearbox. They were in charge of this game's development. They completely and utterly failed. I don't think anyone is blind to this fact. But people will probably cut them some slack, because they've made some excellent games.

Oh fo sho.

#40 Posted by Heil68 (48762 posts) -

[QUOTE="megadeth1117"]

The post on Reddit matches what our source has told us, but there's more. When TimeGate took over the project, our source said, they threw out most of what Gearbox had done beforehand. All of the art and design that Gearbox had produced during the previous four years was gone.psymon100

No sympathy. 

So easy to copy files. Give them a copy and retain a backup copy - TimeGate could have destroyed the data and Gearbox would have been OK. 

If this is really what happened, then I've no sympathy whatsoever for them. 100% preventable and there is a whole segment of the IT services market devoted to backing up data. 

I agree, it still falls on gearbox and I'm not really into buying any future game that has their name on it.
#41 Posted by DarkLink77 (31983 posts) -
[QUOTE="psymon100"]

[QUOTE="megadeth1117"]

The post on Reddit matches what our source has told us, but there's more. When TimeGate took over the project, our source said, they threw out most of what Gearbox had done beforehand. All of the art and design that Gearbox had produced during the previous four years was gone.Heil68

No sympathy. 

So easy to copy files. Give them a copy and retain a backup copy - TimeGate could have destroyed the data and Gearbox would have been OK. 

If this is really what happened, then I've no sympathy whatsoever for them. 100% preventable and there is a whole segment of the IT services market devoted to backing up data. 

I agree, it still falls on gearbox and I'm not really into buying any future game that has their name on it.

Kind of how I feel too. Will definitely wait for reviews on every game they make from now on.
#42 Posted by Heil68 (48762 posts) -
[QUOTE="faizan_faizan"]GearBox failed, HARD.clyde46
Pray tell why they failed? They didn't even make the SP side of the game.

It has their name on it, they sourced it out, they are responsible.
#43 Posted by Pffrbt (6601 posts) -

I don't trust Kotaku or believe the sh*t that comes out of their mouth.

#44 Posted by HaloPimp978 (7329 posts) -

Why did this game even release? or why did it release when it did. They should have taken the time to do it right or not at all

seanmcloughlin

They didn't have a choice the game was in development for six years. It's like Duke Nukem Forever all over again.

#45 Posted by QQabitmoar (1892 posts) -

Although that sounds plausible...it's Kotaku, basing on a Reddit post...I can't decide who is worse, Kotaku or Reddit, but I wouldn't trust either.

#47 Posted by The_Last_Ride (75410 posts) -
Really? They just threw everything away? Wow...
#48 Posted by kozzy1234 (35423 posts) -

The Reddit post says TimeGate made 85% of the campaign in 5 months. That contradicts Kotaku's source, but Kotaku uses both statements to sh*t on TimeGate. Meanwhile, TG devs don't even know how much of their build is in the final game.

This is all going to blow up in their face, isn't it? Gearbox will just announce Borderlands 3 and everybody will be happy.

Baranga

I could see them continue to do this actually :lol:

Release a crap game (Duke Nukem), Release a good game (BL2), release a crap game again (Aliens) and then start again with a good gmae again (Maybe BL3 or Brothers in Arms).

#49 Posted by nextgenjoke (1676 posts) -

This video compares retail to the trailer graphics lol.

 

best video 

 

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