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.

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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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