Aliens: Colonial Marines – The Whole Train Wreck, Explained

Aliens: Colonial Marines was hyped to a great degree, and its release was met with little more than disappointment by the games press, gamers, and fans of the Aliens franchise alike. Though touted a great deal by its developers, including Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford, the game appears to lack a lot of the elements that appeared in demonstrations previously shown to the public.

The game itself is a showcase of bugs, poorly animated characters, uninspired levels, and gameplay reminiscent of a shooter from the last generation, as our Ben Richardson points out in his Aliens: Colonial Marines review.

As Jim Sterling points out in this episode of Jimqusition, demos of Colonial Marines shown at conventions such as E3 and PAX differ significantly from what players actually experience in the game:

Other videos have been made that point out graphical issues and various big changes between supposed “in-game demos” of Colonial Marines and the shipped product.

What happened to Aliens: Colonial Marines during its development? Where is the gorgeous, intelligent, and extraordinarily fun homage to the Aliens movies Pitchford boasted about during his presentations?

In an attempt to answer these questions, or perhaps in anticipation of the questions that would surely surface just hours after the game’s release, Internet sleuth Superannuation discovered a forum post allegedly by a former developer at Gearbox, the studio chiefly responsible for the development of Colonial Marines. In his post on the (via Gameranx) forum community, the supposed ex-developer claimed that primary development of the game had been outsourced to a lesser-known studio called TimeGate (developers Demiurge and Nerve also were involved in development). Prior to their work on Colonial Marines, TimeGate had been responsible for the FEAR expansion packs, Section 8 and Section 8: Prejudice.

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9 Comments on Aliens: Colonial Marines – The Whole Train Wreck, Explained


On February 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Haha, I just have to say. This is pretty hysterical. The amount of finger-pointing that coincides claiming of the project is pretty damn entertaining. Everybody wants to enjoy being part of a big-budget project and deflect any blame for the mess that the project turned into. But bragging about the game in a help wanted ad, then suggesting that they don’t deserve any blame as the development was mostly done by somebody else? That just…that takes the cake.

Wow. This is just…amazing and sad at the same time. I have a feeling that Gearbox really really stepped in it this time, and that they’re going to have to face a few things down with Sega. I would be SUPREMELY pissed off if the people that I hired to make a game subsequently passed said game off so that they could deal with their own . Too much stupidity all around.

Jake Kencke

On February 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

So I just spent 65 dollars on what seems to be playable on multiplayer and by that I mean the campaign was . I was super hyped for this game the 2011 build for this looked fantastic well I have to say they should of released it that year because they spent another year ruining the game.


On February 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Basically confirming what anyone who’s payed attention for the last six years already knew. This game has been in and out of development hell for a long time and no one took it and made it their baby.


On February 15, 2013 at 11:59 am

Sadly this was as inevitable as the cluster-mission the Colonial marines encounted on LV426 in James Camerons masterpiece, perhaps Sega and Gearbox should have left this game in eternal slumber in those sleep-pods on the Sulaco.


On February 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I find it interesting that much of what hurt Duke Nukem Forever happened here. Even though Gearbox was the last of several companies to work on that game, the experience really should have told them that a project going in and out of development for years and being farmed out was going to result in a poor game. Sometimes, you just have to admit when something isn’t going to be made satisfactorily, and try something new.


On February 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

How dare you POS release this game knowing it sucked and still charge the same price as people who actually take pride in their work and give us a real game. how dare you!!!! HOw DARe YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I hope y’all rot in hell.. seriously… like you knew it sucked and you stil had the audacity to charge us the full amount. if I figure out how… I will sue the out of you, take over your company, and either dismantle it, or do my dream and create my own video game. you guys should be executed. thanks for tryna f&$&@ us even harder during this crappy economy- sincerely a gamer who waited practically 9 years for this crap to come out and I still wasn’t that upset till I saw the oct 2012 beta played next to the final product.. my god… y’all should be shot!!!!!!!!!


On February 17, 2013 at 7:11 am

I’ve kind of enjoyed what little I’ve played of A:CM. But thats the Aliens Fanboy in me creaming his pants over being able to customise his own M41A pulse rifle. its not worth anywhere near the £35 I paid for it though. I’d peg it at Earth Defence Force prices, £15-20. (Though the aiming in EDF is better, BOOM BOOM :)

What still surprises me the most, is that Sega continued to release the game the week after Dead Space 3 was released. Which is inspired by Aliens saga in its own way and is actually, you know, good.


On February 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Ouch. Gearbox seems to be trying to turn itself into the company who originally f*cked up with Duke Nukem Forever. It’s doing a great job so far. Lies, delays, ignoring criticism, shipping a product… okay maybe only the delays is from the original studio. Wow gearbox, you guys are sh!t.


On February 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hrm. seems the “shipping a sh!t product” sentence got altered. Gamefront, is it too much to ask that truth be spoken on this site?