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Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem

There's an informal postmortem for Aliens: Colonial Marines on Kotaku based on conversations with "people with connections to the game" since "despite weeks of fan and press requests for an explanation about what went wrong with this game, representatives from Sega and Gearbox both declined to comment for this story" (as hard as it is to imagine what form such comments would take). The takeaway continues the popular conjecture that the cultures of co-developers Gearbox and TimeGate were not in sync, with differing development and management styles. The story says TimeGate was surprised how little was complete when they took over, and in turn, Gearbox had to throw out and rework a lot of TimGate's efforts when they got it back. They also report disagreements among SEGA and the two developers over the type of game they were making, and say along the way various bits of artwork and gameplay were discarded by each developer in an effort to complete the project. There is also an explanation of why the shipping game looks worse than the E3 demo, saying it was coded for high-end PCs, and was way over "performance budget" for older PCs, much less consoles (though this is something that every game made contends with, and is usually handled with lowered graphics on consoles and quality sliders for PCs). Thanks nin.

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30. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 17:57 deqer
 
Sempai wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 17:24:
And yet SEGA certified and passed it through to retail.
Yup, because it's all about money.

Just like development, same goes for publishing; it's all about money, and not about the "heart of it"

Money is the only thing that matters, in the world.
 
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29. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 17:54 Tipsy McStagger
 
I'll tell you one good thing that came out of this game sucking so bad. The people who purchased it will probably not make the same stupid mistake again of pre-ordering based off Trailer hype.

Well, at least I hope so.
 
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28. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 17:36 Overon
 
Lesson here is beware of tech demos. They can easily mislead. Based on the article it looks to me that they had cut back graphics because of console ps3 limitations. I wonder if the game would have looked better if they didn't "lower common denominator" the game.  
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27. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 17:24 Sempai
 
And yet SEGA certified and passed it through to retail.
Both Gearbox and Sega should be sued for this scam.

Where's my refund for assholes?
 
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26. So... Feb 25, 2013, 17:03 Shataan
 
Create the game on high end PCs. And find out later that you absolutely suck at coding for the consoles = you can`t make it look good on a freaking console system. Then to fix the situation..... you hamstring the visuals to port to the consoles. And THEN????

THEN you port a crap looking console version straight back to the PC????? And THIS.... is what you`d call a good sound business decision? And here we are today.

Ya can`t make the excuse ya can`t get it to run on lower powered PCs, cause say by golly, THAT is what turning down the rez and turning down the vid quality is for, to allow the PC gamer to tailer to HIS system specs.

But nope.... let`s dumb it all down. Cause this is 2002.... erm I mean 2013. ;p

Stupid is, as Stupid does!
 
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25. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:59 Flatline
 
bigspender wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:01:
I'm not buying those comments from "people that have connections to the game"
Especially about the graphics. It wasn't just coding, lighting and texture quality that are different between the e3 demo and real thing. You levels themselves are entirely different layouts with different art assets etc
The e3 demo is defs a "This is how we want the game to be" scripted/orchastrated or even pre-rendered sequence. And then they tried to make the game that way and failed. miserably.

I also don't buy the "SEGA and the two developers couldnt agree on the type of game they were making" you're telling they didnt have things planned out?

Actually if you look at the youtube "what the hell went wrong" video, the geometry architecture is actually almost A/B identical in most places, with a few sections completely overhauled and changed.

And if you don't buy the communications SNAFU, you obviously haven't read enough postmortems about the clusterf*ck that goes on between publishers and devs. It's pretty common. Not nearly to this extent, but it still happens a lot.
 
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24. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:53 space admiral
 
ASeven wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:47:
space admiral wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:34:
and yet it still made money

Did it? I don't think so.

I think it did

do you have some kind of evidence i can look over? id love to be wrong about the fact that a piece of shit game can skate by with an entirely false demo driving sales
 
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23. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:48 Wallshadows
 
I bought it but I can say that I regret doing so. For someone who doesn't often fall for the pre-order hype, this has been one of those kick-in-the-ass realizations to not do it again. Shame it cost me $35 to learn my lesson the hard way, but that's what it sometimes takes when you're a big fan to a franchise and blind faith. Even if they released an improved AI and HD texture pack patch, I won't play it because the core mechanics are busted beyond measure.

Gearbox is on my shitlist for being part of this mess and I will likely never buy a product that's associated with Randy Pitchford. I just can't respect or trust him.

That said, the most entertainment I got out of this is lurking in the official forums and reading all the heat it's continuously taking.
 
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22. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:47 Asmo
 
space admiral wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:34:
Quinn wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:26:
Honestly.. that people actually pre-ordered this game let alone bought it after release is beyond me. All the available media before the release basically painted it on your monitor "This. Game. Will. SUCK!".

and yet it still made money

HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?

A lot of people who play games but aren't online everyday checking out everything about games...

I go fishing but I couldn't tell you what piece of kit is good value for money or trash. As long as it's got a hook at the right end I'm good.

It I were a layperson with a console, seeing an Alien game would be a no brainer for me, I'm a huge fan of the franchise. As an informed gamer who sees an AUD price tag of 79.99 (that's ~81 USD) and reads a couple of previews/reviews that say nothing good, the choice is easy to completely ignore it.
 
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21. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:47 ASeven
 
space admiral wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:34:
and yet it still made money

Did it? I don't think so.
 
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20. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:34 space admiral
 
Quinn wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:26:
Honestly.. that people actually pre-ordered this game let alone bought it after release is beyond me. All the available media before the release basically painted it on your monitor "This. Game. Will. SUCK!".

and yet it still made money

HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?
 
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19. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:26 Quinn
 
dumpy wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:19:
I'm glad I didn't buy it, but I am curious how many people here commenting have actually played it?

I've only been duped a couple of times from production companies because I got caught up in the hype. It's a good lesson I suppose.

Regarding outsourcing - I remember Deus Ex: HR outsourced the boss fights (correct me if I'm wrong), which were very out of place in the game. I assume it was due to bad communication.

You're correct with DE:HR's outsourcing. Those bossfights suffered. The game suffered. Still a marvelous game, though!

I pirated Aliens. Normally I use pirated copies as demos, buying the game (honestly ffs!) if I enjoy the illegal copy. Aliens, however, I pirated just to see how right I was saying this game was gonna suck so goddamn hard you'd physically feel the vaccuum.

Honestly.. that people actually pre-ordered this game let alone bought it after release is beyond me. All the available media before the release basically painted it on your monitor "This. Game. Will. SUCK!".
 
Avatar 57334
 
"Moo," she said.
And I trembled.
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18. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:25 space admiral
 
you know what they say about "all the way to the bank"?

timeless wisdom, there
 
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17. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:23 DangerDog
 
The only lesson that Gearbox/Randy Pitchford will take away from this mess is don't show any gameplay at E3 that's completely fictitious, or otherwise just use a disclaimer that the footage may not represent final product - like all other developers plaster on their advertisements/e3 demos.

The thing that got people raising up their pitchforks for Pitchfords head is the "100% in game footage" labeling right on through to official advertisements made for the game - well beyond that e3 demo.

dumpy wrote on Feb 25, 2013, 16:19:
I'm glad I didn't buy it, but I am curious how many people here commenting have actually played it?


I played it, and while it wasn't anywhere as cool as the infamous e3 demo it still wasn't a completely terrible game, I mostly just geeked out on the nostalgia factor - sights, sounds, and music. I also only paid $30 for it so I'm not as butthurt as the people who paid $50 or $60 for it.

Many people were able to get refunds from various places.

Now the people who purchased the season pass, they're pretty much screwed as it seems to be mostly multiplayer focused add-on content.

http://steamgraph.net/index.php?action=graph&appid=49540

This comment was edited on Feb 25, 2013, 16:29.
 
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16. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:19 dumpy
 
I'm glad I didn't buy it, but I am curious how many people here commenting have actually played it?

I've only been duped a couple of times from production companies because I got caught up in the hype. It's a good lesson I suppose.

Regarding outsourcing - I remember Deus Ex: HR outsourced the boss fights (correct me if I'm wrong), which were very out of place in the game. I assume it was due to bad communication.
 
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15. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:17 space admiral
 
gotta lock in those benefits, dont ya know

hehe... locked in
 
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14. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:10 Quinn
 
I hope my words were marked.

Sad thing for some hardheads in here, who pre-ordered the game those few days before release according to Steam.

Hehe.. so fucking stupid.
 
Avatar 57334
 
"Moo," she said.
And I trembled.
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13. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:09 Caslon
 
It's Duke Nukem Forever type development, marketing. I hope the sheet hits the fan on this one.  
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12. Re: you are joking... right? Feb 25, 2013, 16:05 Shataan
 
Well, it is pretty sad decisionwise in this day and age. Good thing some of us are able to tweak the ingame .inis to make the game look ALOT better. The idea is to make the game look/run better on any platform. Not hamstring your games quality. In the end, what and who did that serve by doing this?

No one. GearBox has been successful in shooting themselves in the azz tho. Real good business decision.
 
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11. Re: Aliens: Colonial Marines Postmortem Feb 25, 2013, 16:03 fujiJuice
 
I guess the question is did Gearbox use publisher funds to make games other than were contracted, and was SEGA aware they were basically paying Gearbox a referral fee?  
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