Aliens: Colonial Marines Development Was 'Total Train Wreck'

Ryan King


The review scores aren't looking good and stories of 'trainwreck development' have begun to emerge…

Published on Feb 12, 2013

Update: Matthew J. Powers, senior producer at Sega, has told Playnews that TimeGate was not primarily responsible for single player in Aliens: Colonial Marines. Responding to claims that Gearbox was solely responsible for multiplayer, he said "Absolutely not. The game has been developed by Gearbox Software. Other studios helped Gearbox on the production of single and multiplayer." [Source: DSOGaming]

Following the mediocre review scores flooding in for Aliens: Colonial Marines - we scored it 5.0 in our Aliens: Colonial Marines review - comes a report suggesting Gearbox didn't even have that much involvement with development.

Superannuation tweeted a link to a forum post suggesting Gearbox was only responsible for the multiplayer side of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

"Hate to say it but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high for Aliens: Colonial Marines," says mugwurt on TexAgs."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 steller past."

The post was made in May last year and attributed to an ex-Retro Studio employee who went on to form Armature Studio - so it's either art director Todd Keller, design director Mark Pacini or principal technology engineer Jack Matthews, although it's not clear who.

TimeGate Studios is best known for its FPS Section 8.

As recently as June last year, it was said that "roughly 80 percent of the work on Colonial Marines is being done in-house at Gearbox, with the rest being done by outside developers." [Source: Gamasutra].

While the involvement of TimeGate Studios isn't new - the studio's involvement with development was confirmed back in June 2011 - the revelation that TimeGate Studios was primarily responsible for the campaign in Aliens: Colonial Marines is a surprise.

Talking to IGN recently, Randy Pitchford explained the role of the other two studios in the development of Colonial Marines, who appear in the intro credits - Demiurge Studios and Nerve Software. "We're not contractually obligated to put anybody's credits there, but we value talent and respect talent," he said.

- Demiurge Studios (Shoot Many Robots, Rock Band DLC, Mass Effect Pinnacle Station): "[They were] with us at the very beginning, helping us to explore networking and multiplayer."

- Nerve Software (Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil): "We wanted more multiplayer stuff, more content and more features for the game that we shipped with rather than parcelling it all out for downloadable content. Nerve had some time and those guys are badass. They're right down the street. That just made sense. Some of my favourite multiplayer maps came out of that group."

It's not the first time Gearbox has outsourced work or not been responsible for the bulk of development. Duke Nukem Forever is the most famous example but the DLC for Borderlands 2 has also been outsourced - The Workshop Entertainment made Mr Torgue's Campaign Of Carnage, for example.



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