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.