Great Scott – Gearbox Talk Aliens: Colonial Marines

By John Walker on August 1st, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

It'd be good if the game was just marines getting killed and eaten all the time.

I have to admit, I do default to somewhat ignoring Aliens-based games these days. So many ploppy ones in a row hasn’t done the license any favours. But of course Aliens: Colonial Marines is Gearbox, and if we just rather quietly forget about Duke, they make splendid action games. I should probably catch up a little. A good way to do that is via their first edition of a rather overblown developer diary, that along with high-def shots of developers adjusting their glasses as a computer readout from 1989 scans them, shows some in-game footage. Also, they were going to make a Bladerunner game?! I WANT THAT ONE!

There’s lots of emphasis on how this is a direct sequel to the Aliens film, rather than a remake. And they also seem incredibly keen to make sure you’ve noticed that they all draw on their monitors with laserpens.

It’s perhaps a little unfortunate that they’re describing how their direction and design matches James Cameron’s, as the camera awkwardly rotates above a room filled with crates.

It’s currently set for release on the 12th Feb, next year.

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97 Comments »

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  1. Flukie says:

    I’ve just realised they are currently working on 3 games all FPS ones mind.

  2. primatewithagun says:

    This looks incredibly generic, and I don’t understand why they had to add a HUD to the interviews.
    Oh well

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Mostly because the Firefall guys are doing it.

    • Malk_Content says:

      When you have only 1 minute of content to show but want to make a nearly 5 minute long trailer you need fwooshy hud effects and transitions to pad it out.

    • S Jay says:

      Yeah, the interview HUD was quite embarrassing.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Yeah. There isn’t much about Aliens in this video, but there sure is tons of glamour shots of schlubby middle aged guys.

    • Askeladd says:

      Isn’t that like half of the shows in the USA? I can’t stand their TV shows…

  3. Guvornator says:

    So are there going to girls in it, or are they still ignoring the fairer sex? I mean, fair enough, no strong female characters in the Alien movies…

    • Gregg B says:

      There appears to be a few ladies in the concept art at about 1:14. One looks like Ferro and other more like Vasquez.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      There have always been female marines in it. The issue is specifically that there aren’t any playable female marines (which is doubly dumb since there are female marines).

    • f1x says:

      Not sure if serious…

      Regarding the movies, isn’t Ripley a strong female characther? or talking about marines only?
      I would say Alien queen was quite a strong one aswell ;D

  4. CrookedLittleVein says:

    Meh. This entire game is meh.

    • Guvornator says:

      To be fair, if it’s a whole game like AvPs marine sections, I would be all over that.

    • mondomau says:

      The multiplayer is actually really good fun. This trailer is doing a really good job of making the game look wank though.

      • CrookedLittleVein says:

        “The multiplayer is actually really good fun.”

        That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that the single player mode looks like dross and the story is barely worthy of a twelve year old’s overexcited fan fiction. The “Charger” for instance, looks terrible.

        Hmm, came across a bit aggressive there. Sorry : )

    • Baines says:

      Gearbox seems to be about meh that gets attention.

      Good, bad, it is all the same in the end. Something that had some kind of hook or attention, but design decisions make it fall short of its potential. In that regard, Duke Nukem Forever was no different than Borderlands. It is just that Borderlands aimed higher, so when it fell short, it still was more than DNF.

      • elevown says:

        Except that borderlands is probably the greatest co-op game ever made, and not bad single player- but duke is a big pile of shit that they didnt even make just tried to finish off you mean?

        Seriously what you been smoking?? Or did you just escape from an institute of some sort?

        • dE says:

          Borderlands IS a rather mediocre game.
          MMO Style Quests, paired with a dull levelling system (lack of choice for active skills), uninteresting guns with no character, not that great gunplay, a static unchanging world (with very few exceptions) and a story falling flat thanks to the way Quests were constructed.
          It was fun enough for a while but certainly not out there with the best of the coop games.

        • CrookedLittleVein says:

          “Except that borderlands is probably the greatest co-op game ever made”

          Hyperbole, thy name is elevown. Please let’s try to stay on the same level of reality here. The co-op was mildly diverting at best. As a single player game it’s an utterly hollow experience.

          • Nick says:

            In your opinion. Personally I and friends had a great time with Borderlands and all (but the Moxxy) DLC and I personally enjoyed it in Single player quite a lot as well.

            I wouldn’t say it was the greatest coop game ever, but its certainly one I have had the most hours of fun with thus far.

        • Baines says:

          dE said it well enough.

          Borderlands was a good idea. A really good idea. But Gearbox stumbled on the design.

          Lots of weapons? They can advertise a large number, but the weapons are mechanically all pretty much the same. With the exception of properties that were tied only to uniques, you can find more mechanical variety in a Modern Warfare title.

          RPG? For Gearbox, that meant lots of levels. And the ability to power level past a challenge. Levels not only give you more power, they scale damage. You aren’t just facing tougher foes in tougher areas, you are getting a curve applied based on your level versus the area. Weapons also have levels (which lets them inflate the weapon count number in a fairly meaningless matter) and the great gun you found ten levels ago is junk compared to the stuff you find in this higher level area. And thanks to that poorly designed leveling system, if you play the DLCs, you throw off the leveling curve for the game.

          Open world? Not really. A pretty dull and lifeless world, that you travel in a fairly set path (as the level system means lower level areas give junk). Doesn’t measure up to the idea portrayed in some of the early PR pieces.

          Borderlands is fun for a while, but it has a lot of flaws, and those flaws weigh down on the game.

          Borderlands *is* a mediocre game. That it has no competition doesn’t change that it is mediocre.

      • f1x says:

        Borderlands a mediocre game…. allright… yeah…

        • max_1111 says:

          It was.
          Having played both Single Player and 3-way Multiplayer with some buddies of mine i can’t really say i understand what the big hoo-hah about the game is.

  5. lijenstina says:

    Aliens Colonoscopy Marines.

  6. db1331 says:

    The Aliens and James Bond licenses are the most bewildering things when it comes to games. It should be so easy to make an awesome game out of such rich source material, but more often than not, the games are absolutely abysmal. Hopefully Gearbox can bring some of that Borderlands magic to this one.

    • Guvornator says:

      Why spend time and money on something that will sell anyway? I mean obviously self-respect and the possibility that it might sell more if it was, you know, actually good don’t seem to be good reasons.

      Also the new Goldeneye and the old PC AVP are very, very good.

      • Baines says:

        You mean the Goldeneye that plays like a reskin of Call of Duty?

        At least that is the impression I got from the multiplayer and the demo. The demo even had an on-rails shooter section that you seemingly couldn’t die in even if you weren’t shooting enemies, at least until you ram a truck at the end. (A friend playing the demo *did* stop shooting during the on-rails section, and indeed did not die until hitting the fuel truck.)

        • Guvornator says:

          I had a lot of consistent fun with it (something that never happened with COD as it tended to be more set piece based). I thought there were enough nods to the old Goldeneye to twitch the nostalgia nerve and enough new stuff to keep it interesting. Bit weird to see Daniel Craig running around in it, but still…

      • Premium User Badge

        Dilapinated says:

        The new AvP wasn’t bad, per say; But there was a reason it only held me through the Marine sections of SP. The Predator seemed too reliant on the cludgy close-combat R/P/S system. I remember the first level of the Predator from AvP2 very fondly; Stalking through misty forests, decapitating bewildered marines from afar before going in to collect the spear rounds and heads nailed to trees.

        • Guvornator says:

          Agreed – also the predator was too resilient so you never really felt in danger. The Alien sections were utterly, utterly rubbish, which was a shame as I loved being one in the the first one. The ceilings were just way too cluttered for drop down attacks and the vision modes just hobbled you too much. I finished the marine campaign, got to the end boss on Predator but didn’t get past level 2 on Alien as I just couldn’t give a crap.

    • woodsey says:

      I’ve always thought a Bond game should be a mix of Deus Ex and Hitman: Blood Money. A Bond FPS isn’t a Bond game, it’s just a FPS ‘starring’ Bond. Unfortunately, the license is held by Activision, so we’ll never seen anything like that.

      • Andrew says:

        A Bond FPS should be a First Person Seducer :-)

        • Askeladd says:

          Bond hardly has to try… boring game. Everywhere he goes the women just spread their legs. Why? Because it’s in the script of the woman lead character.

  7. serioussgtstu says:

    I’m calling it first: Facehugger quick-time events.

    • Godwhacker says:

      I’ll go one better: you will find a new type of alien, and then Weyland-Yutani commandos will arrive and start trying to kill you. That will happen just after the half-way mark.

      I saw Aliens again a little while back- it’s essentially Corridor Shooter: The Movie, so I think I can imagine what this game is going to be without playing it.

      • Askeladd says:

        Did you also wonder why they send only 12 marines that consisted of rednecks with guns on a mission to capture and bring home a unknown alien species that is extremely dangerous and can reproduce very rapidly?

        Did I mention they only had 12 marines on a big spaceship? Rednecks? Still can’t believe it. Oh, well I have changed.

        • max_1111 says:

          Unless my memory is waaaay off, the only person who planned to bring back Alien specimens was Burke. The Marines were there strictly to secure the compound (and civilians) if something had in fact gone awry.

  8. Prince says:

    Ow, I would love for this to be great, but this is just yet another video pointing towards forthcoming 6/10 meh-ness.
    Having an alien jump into your face or getting hit by acid should equal death, not a quick time event or loss of 5 (recharging) health points. They needed to go Dark Souls on the player’s asses with this franchise.

    • Toberoth says:

      Agreed.

    • Guvornator says:

      Yes, exactly!. Old AVP was happy to one shot kill you. The sound of a facehugger scampering around…somewhere… still gives me nightmares….

      • mondomau says:

        When I played the multiplayer, it was pretty much one or two hits for the xenos to kill you, and they had a least one insta-kill move. Campaign might be different though.

      • db1331 says:

        Oh my goodness. That game could really create some tension. Nothing like getting 95% of the way through a level, then getting one-shotted and having to do the whole thing over again.

        • Guvornator says:

          Yes, what I liked about it was the thing that, in other, lesser games I moan and whinge about. It was harsh and cruel and sometimes just plain unfair but that’s ok because it made sense – if you were the only person surrounded by flesh eating aliens you wouldn’t be able to save, you would be crapping yourself and you would get killed unexpectedly. I remember being amazed at the target times on the end screen – no way could you get through that level in 5 minutes. Then I’d remember I took at least 4 mins backed into a corner, desperately waving my assault rifle around because I’d heard the terrible, terrible scratching sound of a facehugger….

      • dE says:

        I remember Alien Swarm had a couple of really deadly Facehuggers, often situated in dark vents. If your medic wasn’t closeby, you were dead. Gosh did that ever go well with the community… so many tears…

  9. fish99 says:

    A L4D style aliens game sounds like a decent idea, but unfortunately the footage I’ve seen from this game just looks so mediocre, which I’m sure is why it keeps getting delayed.

  10. grundus says:

    Sega’s publishing this one, right?

  11. Snids says:

    “Laserpens” is but one letter away from “Laserpenis”.

  12. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    The last bladerunner game was perfection, I’d love to get my hands on the source code & assets and swap the voxels for just the original art straight up.

  13. Sunjammer says:

    Aliens vs Predator (the first PC one) was absolutely brilliant, best remembered for its Marine section, and that was a corridor shooter with no story to speak of whatsoever.

    What the hell, exactly, do you expect from your Aliens game other than gruff army men and pitched up elephant shouts, and also probably androids and an evil corporation? The template is about as defined as it gets. Other previews also point out that the game _is_ quite happy to one-shot kill you, so… I don’t understand all the skepticism.

    It’s like someone’s making a Mario game and people worry that it’s just going to be about jumping on turtles and collecting coins.

    More worrying is Randy Pitchford’s serious-face. I was not aware he had one.

    • dE says:

      But there’s a distinct difference between a good Alien Adaptation and a bad one. That goes for movies just as much as games in this case. The basic recipe is based on quite primal subjects: Uncertainty and the Hunt.

      Now what the other guys are making, those that hold the rights to the modern adaptations have decided to go for other things instead. Visual Shock and Combat. Why hint at someone having a cruel fate when you can just show it, in all its gory mess. Great, kids love that. They laugh at it and brofist their buddies. And combat, well it’s all for the trailer I guess. Makes for great explosions and action scenes but I can’t help but think it’s often times repetitive and dull. Combat hasn’t managed to interest me for combats sake alone since… well over 15 years by now?

      For an Alien Game to be great, it would need to be bold and make combat far less dominant. Have combat be short but intense bursts, preluded by long sections of suspense. Be bold enough to include misdirection and bait. And it would have to step off the violence pedal. Which isn’t going to happen. Kids love it too much.

      For reference, the most intense and scaryiest parts of the Alien Movies happened when there was NO alien in sight.

      • Guvornator says:

        There was a lot of brofisting in Aliens.Which turned to abject terror. There was also a lot of aliens exploding and gore, so that stuff in the trailer doesn’t have to be bad. It all depends on how they’re handling it, but as it’s Colonial Marines, I’d guess Aliens would be the film that it’s mostly based on. Mostly…

      • DocSeuss says:

        You appear to have forgotten that Alien is, in fact, not an Alien story, nor is it Alien 3, nor is it Prometheus. It is considered by many, in fact, to be one of the greatest ACTION games of all time. To suggest that Aliens should be like Alien is to miss the point of what Aliens is all about.

  14. sfaok says:

    “Authentic” Aliens should stalk you, try to get as close as possible without being detected. They should only start shrieking, charging and jumping around when they’re spotted.

    If an Alien jumps on top of you, it should not trigger a sweet in your face QTE – you should be dead.

    • piesmagicos says:

      Well…..except thats not true. Several, albeit rare, times a marine grappled with a alien and got away in Aliens. It *can* be done. Ripley escaped a facehugger and held it off, Vasquez grappled with one and killed it…like a badass. So its not like the source material prevents this from happening.

      • Toberoth says:

        Sure, but it shouldn’t give you the chance every single time, otherwise it’ll stop being scary.

  15. Vagrant says:

    I like Gearbox well enough, and I’ve got some hopes for this game, but I don’t think Gearbox is who I want to make a Blade Runner game! Actually, I can’t really think of any major developer I’d want to make one. Maybe Rockstar.

  16. mondomau says:

    A lot of negativity on here from people that don’t appear to have actually had any hands-on with the game, and are judging it solely on this (admittedly terrible) dev video.
    I have played it (the multiplayer, anyway) and it’s very promising. What I saw/played at Rezzed pushed it from ‘possibly buy at some point if enough of my friends do’ to a ‘must buy unless they drop the ball at the last minute’.
    The feel of the guns and the atmosphere are bang on, and the aliens move fantastically – we couldn’t get any game time as the Xenomorphs, but the switch to 3rd person controls we saw in action is a big, big plus.

    • Dervish says:

      There have been other videos already and they’ve also been bad. Worse, actually.

  17. Shooop says:

    This looks even more bland and uninspired than Worfighter.

    • theblazeuk says:

      Worf Fighter is an awesome concept. Join the ranks of all the guys who handed the Enterprise’s most overrated hardass over the years – how can you resist

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        I see you`ve omitted DS9, likely because Worf was actually competent on DS9.

  18. TwwIX says:

    This looks very lackluster. Can’t say that i am impressed by any of the gameplay footage so far.

  19. Alexander Norris says:

    This is a silly nitpick, but…

    Ironsights, really? I don’t know why, but that just bugs me. It feels distinctly un-AvP2000-like. :(

    • buzzmong says:

      To be fair, if you dive into the extended universe stuff with the books, there’s plenty of sighting down sights going on.

      I think trying to say that it shouldn’t have it because AVP2000 didn’t is wrong. AVP2000 was made in 1999 afterall, I can’t really recall games back then having iron sights as a near essential feature.

  20. sybrid says:

    Well, the video cleared up how they thought ‘no female player option’ was sensible for a franchise known for its strong female lead protagonist; the development team in the video appears to be a group of all white men. The only women in that video were concept art. Perhaps the team is unfamiliar with the theory (unproven) that there might be a second gender in humans.

    I’m holding out hope the game will be good. The AvP PC game from the late 90s had a fantastic marine section. Hopefully it’ll be as unforgiving.

    • dE says:

      appears to be a group of all white men
      People, especially those pouncing the gender bandwagon, need to stop doing that. YOU are quite guilty of sexism and xenophobia by doing that, as YOU are attaching negative attributes to both, gender and colour of skin.

      • sybrid says:

        really.

        So, let me get this straight. I’m sexist, and xenophobic, because I’m annoyed that a game that dares to situate itself as a sequel to Aliens, a film in a series notable for the only recurring character in all four films being a woman, lacks even the option to play as a female character, and by suggesting that it might have something to do with the apparently lack of women involved, that just shows my bias (against white men, I guess?)

        Let me turn this around on you. If the team was 100% women, do you think this game would have no female avatar option? If not, why do you so easily discount the idea that the (apparent) lack of women on the team might be linked to the (known) lack of playable female characters?

        • dE says:

          No, you’re sexist and xenophobic because you attach negative attributes to gender and colour of skin. The rest of your post is irrelevant to my point, as I have not argued your point about a lack of female character option. Only how you attribute it to colour of skin and gender.
          Had you said “There seems to be a definite lack of awareness concerning equal gender in the development team, seeing as there is no female character option”. I would have agreed wholeheartedly. But you instead chose to make the assumption that the lack of awareness is purely based on skin and gender. Hence, white males.

          • svge says:

            You are right, he is wrong. I can agree with the “no option to play as a woman in a franchise that has a strong anti-female stereotype theme” (i could have worded that better) as being stupid. But blaming it on the developers being white males instead of realising that the decision is based on market research on player preference or just sheer oversight is stupid.

          • Pantsman says:

            You are wrong and he is right. You have mistakenly attributed sexism and racism (which you refer to as xenophobia since apparently you don’t know what that word means, unless you think he is not white and rarely encounters white people) to him because you misunderstood him to be saying that the presence of white males was itself the problem. Clearly, though, this was not his point. The problem is the homogeneity of the development team. If you get a bunch of creators of art together who are all or mostly of race X and gender Y, they will mostly create art about people of race X and gender Y, for any given value of X and Y. This is simply human nature, and acknowledging it isn’t racism or sexism. It’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that this would play a role in the decision not to have playable female characters. Nowhere did he deny that there might be other factors, such as market research, at play as well.

          • dE says:

            This is ridiculous. I’m perfectly aware what Xenophobia means, thank you.

            Now about the rest of your post:
            It was entirely his point. He dismissed the game and then went on and attached the failings on the race and gender of the development team. Which neither you nor him nor I know enough about. We’ve seen a handful of guys in a bad video that shows almost nothing about the game. Those are a tiny part of the development team. Not THE development team. If you believe you can extrapolate from such a tiny amount of people to the entirety of the development team, please never opt for a scientific career. There’s enough bad studies as it is.

            Further, you claim:
            This is simply human nature

            No, it’s not. Like I said, race and gender have no influence on these things. Cultural context has. So according to your logic, a “black” woman born in Kenia, raised in Tokyo, having studied in Austria and now working in New York would create art about black women in Kenia. Whereas it’s more likely she’d create art about the multitude of cultures forming her experience and pick from what she likes and avoid what she dislikes.
            Quite a distinct difference. Assuming the first option is reducing a person to genetic traits (gender, colour). Realising the second option, is taking her development and upbringing as a person into account.

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      So how do you think it would be, if it was made by a group of all BLACK men?

      :D

      • derbefrier says:

        that would be impossible. Only white males are capable of sexism, and racism too. Its the evil rich white men sitting in their big chair smoking big cigars is laughing at us right now because they manipulated the game industry so that the next aliens game wont have a prominent female figure. I heard their hope is that the adolescent boys that play this game will learn to hate woman and accept all they are good for are BJs and making sandwiches.

    • max_1111 says:

      Wow… Nobody’s gone all Godwin’s law up in this thread yet.

  21. Maxheadroom says:

    i want a remake of the 80’s Aliens game!

    Just thought i’d throw that out there

    • Prince says:

      Electric Dreams or Activision?

      • Maxheadroom says:

        Electric Dreams. I’d totally forgotten there was an Avcivision version!

    • sybrid says:

      Totally forgot that was a thing until you brought it up. I had the Apple IIe one Activision made; I didn’t even know there were two different “Aliens: The Computer Game”s out at about the same time.

      • Prince says:

        Yup, the European game was a pretty good strategic shooter, and the American version was a rather poor collection of mini-games. Though, were any of the games to be remade, I’d much rather see a new version of the Activision game, as the shooter formula would seem horribly outdated by now.
        Coincidentally, there’s actually a decent-ish remake of the Electric Dreams game out:
        Check it out here

  22. svge says:

    How can it be true to the canon when in the film they blew the nuclear reactor as the only way to be sure they destroyed all the aliens? Fucking leave this shit alone and stop trying to make money off of stuff that I love and is already complete. I would imagine that this will annoy most fans with it’s story and most of them will say it’s not canon like with a lot of the comics.

    • max_1111 says:

      “In nineteen minutes, this area’s gonna be a cloud of vapor the size of Nebraska.”
      I think they’re hoping most people would conveniently forget that.
      That said, if the game isn’t completely terrible i MIGHT be willing to overlook that glaring issue.

  23. stupid_mcgee says:

    The technical name for the Laserpens is Wacom Contiq

  24. HellHitZ says:

    Why the hell did they mirror the shot of the guy playing with the 360 controller at ~1:39?! I was watching the trailer and actually had to go back to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me… well, I guess they had to make the catch my attention somehow, because other than that there wasn’t much there…

    EDIT: typos.

  25. buzzmong says:

    I think all the putting-on-glasses schtick is Gearbox taking a pop at other video devs and/or having a laugh, it happens FAR to frequently and is made to be so incredibly obvious that can’t be anything else.

    As for the brief game footage, what worried me most was little X’s popping up to show hits on the enemies and what looked to be achievement pop ups.

    The former I hope *really* is just a debug feature and doesn’t make it into the game. It’s a real bug bear of mine and I regard it as holding the player’s hand. The latter I hope is just MP based, if it’s in the SP I’ll be rather disappointed as there’s no quicker way to ruin the immersion in a story driven game than having an achievement pop up remind you it’s simply a game.

    I just really hope Gearbox are actually taking heed of the comments like they’ve said they are. If I see the “Quick, flee from this unkillable boss by escaping to the safe zone via a singular linear route” section shown in one of the previous trailers, I’ll know that Gearbox are just cashing out and chasing the money.

    If however, Gearbox pull a bit of magic like they’ve done with Borderlands (and the impressive looking upcoming sequel), we could have a very good game on our hands.
    The fact it was delayed by nearly 12 months from earlier this year hopefully has resulted in a lot more polishing, tweaking and general improvements.

  26. Higgy says:

    So… It’s a sequel, is it? Probably not gonna be too much fun considering they nuked the site from orbit.

  27. pocketlint60 says:

    The Aliens have a WARFACE INSIDE THEIR WARFACE!!!

  28. MeestaNob says:

    We don’t even need to forget about Duke, this game looks lousy enough on it’s own to sway opinion.

  29. RegisteredUser says:

    Is ploppy english for pretty good?
    Because both the original Aliens vs Predator was good (Marine and Predator both, Alien was a bit meh), as well as the more recent, modern remake. And the ancient sidescrolling 2D sideways arcade brawler?
    Also good fun.

  30. Motorheadache says:

    Only 12 ‘redneck’ marines ( really? ) on the ship seemed a bit off, until you
    realize that the company was only sending them in as scouts for the main force
    to follow, if anything came of it.
    Which they knew it would, as shown by their prior knowledge of the species in the first film.
    Sending Ripley was a convenient way to get rid of her.
    Burke’s a douche, and likely demanded to go.
    Company likely wouldn’t shed any tears there either.

    I hope the game turns out to be good, regardless of some of the ‘trailers’.