Pitchford: Around Half of Aliens: Colonial Marines Was Outsourced
Specifically, the claim was that Gearbox had outsourced the development of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ critically panned single-player portion to TimeGate Studios, the developer of such games like Section 8 and the F.E.A.R. expansion packs.
The discovery was made by internet sleuth and the resident Kotaku writer who goes by the alias “Superannuation” (via Gameranx), has always been a reliable source of information in the game industry.
The former Gearbox developer, who goes by “mugwurt” described the game’s development process as a “trainwreck” in a forum post on TexAgs. He wrote:
Hate to say it, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high for Colonial Marines. 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 report would have it that Gearbox focused mainly on the development of the game’s multiplayer aspects, with its single player campaign outsourced to TimeGate, and possibly other studios.
TimeGate Studios features Aliens: Colonial Marines quite heavily on their official website, with the game gracing the front page on several slides. On one slide, the studio refers to itself as the “team of ultimate badasses working on Aliens: Colonial Marines.”
SEGA has since issued a partial denial that Aliens: Colonial Marines was outsourced or developed by anyone other than Gearbox. Speaking to DSOGaming (via Destructoid), a SEGA spokesperson is quoted as saying that the game “has been developed by Gearbox Software. Other studios [like TimeGate] helped Gearbox on the production of single and multiplayer.”
Regardless of SEGA’s official line, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has himself admitted that a huge chunk of the game’s development was outsourced. Speaking at the DICE summit last week, Pitchford stated that TimeGate studios worked on a significant portion of the game.
Pitchford revealed that the Houston-based TimeGate Studios worked on “probably about 20 or 25 percent of the total time,” who added that “if you take preproduction out of it, their effort’s probably equivalent to ours. Now, it’s not fair to take preproduction out of it, but that says a lot about how much horsepower those guys put into it.” (via IGN)
In other words, they made around half of the game. SEGA can claim what it likes about who developed what, but at this point, there’s more than enough blame to go around.