Sega wanted Aliens: Colonial Marines to play like Call of Duty - Report

A new report investigates the relationship between Sega, Gearbox, and TimeGate Studios across Aliens: Colonial Marines' six-year development.


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Producers at Sega wanted the panned Aliens: Colonial Marines to take a leaf out of Call of Duty's playbook and be more about shooting marines and less about shooting aliens, sources close to the game's development have said to Kotaku.

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Developers Gearbox and TimeGate reportedly resisted the idea, but it was one of the many alleged disagreements between the various parties involved in the game's development as to how the ill-fated game should be made.

"There was also the 'too many chefs' syndrome when it came to gameplay, where too many people gave feedback on both ends and it ultimately led to further delays," said Kotaku's source. "In one case, working on a particular task took me a month to finalize, as there was inconsistent and delayed feedback."

Other claims are made in Kotaku's article, which attempts to shed some light on the game's reportedly troubled development. Earlier reports have accused Gearbox of prioritising its efforts more on Borderlands 2 than the six-year development saga of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

"Sega was very concerned that the bulk of Gearbox's resources/manpower was being spent on Borderlands and that they weren't investing the effort in Colonial Marines that they should have been," somebody close to Sega said to GameSpot earlier this month.

One of the key points is that Gearbox had to essentially remake the game in nine months, after finishing work on Borderlands 2 and inheriting an unoptimised build of Aliens: Colonial Marines from TimeGate Studios that couldn't run on the PlayStation 3.

Public demonstrations of the game were running in real time, but on a beefed-up PC with specifications far beyond the average console or PC configuration, the source said. Significant sacrifices to the game's visuals had to be made to ensure the game would be able to run on typical machines.

"[Gearbox made] big changes to lighting, texture and shader complexity," said an anonymous source. "Design elements were altered or redone entirely. It looks like a lot of [TimeGate's] assets remained intact, with the exception of lower-res textures and faster-performing shaders."

Gearbox knew Aliens: Colonial Marines wasn't up to scratch, a source alleges, but the developer felt it couldn't ask for another extension to the project after six years of development time.

"The game feels like it was made in nine months, and that's because it was," says Kotaku's source.

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