By now it’s clear that Aliens: Colonial Marines, a Gearbox game from 2013, got dealt a rough hand. However, on a recent podcast, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford went into more detail on the Aliens: Colonial Marines development process, and how there were a large number of other issues with the game.
Aliens: Colonial Marines got a lot of buzz when it first came out, as the possibility of being put in the role of a Colonial Marine dealing with Xenomorphs on a massive ship that was canon to the movies was an intriguing prospect. However, not only was the game nowhere near as good-looking as the trailer led us to believe, the game was also plagued with many bugs and poor AI.
On the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences podcast, host Ted Price chatted with Randy Pitchford briefly about the game, and Pitchford gave a tell-all of many things that went wrong. Along with the various issues in development, it seems like Sega, the publisher for the game, was also a significant reason for why the game failed.
Around the time of development, Borderlands 2 was also in development, which Gearbox had had their A-team on. However, Sega was pushing for Aliens: Colonial Marines development to be good to release in February. Pitchford pleaded with Sega to allow them six more months to iron the game out and get their more experienced developers to help, but Sega was adamant.
The result is one of the biggest black marks of Gearbox’s career, as the game was savaged for not being as graphically appealing as the trailer, had a large number of bugs, and had broken its AI due to a single typo in the game coding. Pitchford still believes that, if Gearbox had gotten those six months, the game could have at least been a seven out of ten.
However, Pitchford did learn one important lesson from the incident: To not make licensed movie game tie-ins again. You can get the full story by listening to the podcast episode yourself, following this link.