Aliens: Colonial Marines – The Whole Train Wreck, Explained

Since then, another individual claiming to be a current developer of the game constructed a post on Reddit’s LV426 subreddit, a community dedicated to the Aliens franchise, titled, “A lot of you are (rightfully) upset at the final product that is A:CM.” The ostensible developer referred to the game’s internal codename as “Pecan” in the post, a fact a source close to Game Front has independently verified, which may lend some credibility to the statements.

In the post, the alleged developer explained the game’s long and checkered history of development. He stated that the game’s development was shelved at one point by Gearbox to make room to work on other projects, including Borderlands and Duke Nukem Forever. Each time it resumed, the game would undergo a significant content overhaul, he claimed.

As a result of the delays, Sega continued to support Gearbox by pushing back the game’s release date, but was supposedly considering turning to legal action over the many delays — Colonial Marines was, in fact, first announced in 2006. Gearbox, in turn, is reported to have outsourced a “good portion” of the game to outside companies, including TimeGate, which the poster claims took on the responsibility of developing the majority of the campaign.

“This decision was made mostly so that most of the developers at [Gearbox] could continue working on Borderlands 2, while a small group of [level designers], coders and designers dealt with Pecan,” he wrote.

“Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and [Gearbox] realized that there was no [f--ing] way they could [certify] and ship two titles at the same time,” he wrote. “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 [Gearbox] instead came to an agreement with Sega that they would push the release date back one more time, buying [Gearbox] around 9 [month] extension.

“About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping [Borderlands 2]. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 shipped and [Gearbox] turned its attention to Pecan, it became pretty apparent that what had been made was in a pretty horrid state.”

The poster added that Gearbox was unhappy with the work TimeGate had delivered, and had to redesign entire maps from scratch. He claims that due to a few last minute requests, including the addition of female marines, the studio would be unable to make the game “good” by its shipping date.

Destructoid’s Allistair Pinsof has since discovered that TimeGate’s VP of business operations, Robert Siwiak, explained their relationship with Gearbox on the title, in which he described how the development of the game was conducted “horizontally.”

Horizontal development refers to how each section of the game was created by both studios, with content going back-and-forth. Instead of being tasked to work on a specific part of the game independently, the whole thing is done as a direct collaboration between the two studios.

Siwiak reportedly made his comments at a Houston IGDA event on Aug. 22 last year.

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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?