A lot of you are (rightfully) upset at the final product that is A:CM. Maybe I can shed some light as to how it got the way it is.
First off, due to me breaking NDA, I can't provide any proof that I'm mot just talking out of my ass. But I figure you'd be interested on hearing what I have to say regardless. I've been in the project for around a year and a half, so some of the following are things I've heard from more senior guys.
Pecan (the internal name for ACM) has a pretty long history. SEGA, GBX and 20th Century FOX came to am agreement to produce an Aliens game around 6 years ago, after which SEGA almost immediately announced it, long before Pecan had even started production. The game has been in active development in the past, only to be shelved in favor of another project (Borderlands, Duke, etc), and each time it would undergo a major content overhaul.
SEGA, naturally wasn't super pleased about the delays, but GBX got away with it for a long time and the contract between SEGA and GBX kept getting augmented to push the projected release further and further back. The last time it was resurrected, GBX outsourced a good portion of the game to outside companies. Initially, the plan was for TimeGate to take the majority of the campaign, GBX would take the MP, Demiurge and Nerve would handle DLC and various other focused tasks. This decision was made mostly so that most of the developers at GBX could continue working on Borderlands 2, while a small group of LDs, coders and designers worked on Pecan.
Somehow the schedules for Pecan and Borderlands 2 managed to line up and GBX realized that there was no f***ing way they could cert and ship two titles at the same time. Additionally, campaign (which was being developed by TimeGate) was extremely far behind, even as Pecan's Beta deadline got closer and closer. On April or May (can't remember which one), Pecan was supposed to hit beta, but GBX instead came to agreement with SEGA that they would push the release date back one more time, buying GBX around 9 mos extension.
About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping Borderlands 2. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 had shipped and GBX turned it's attention to Pecan, it became pretty apparent that what had been made was in a pretty horrid state. Campaign didn't make much sense, the boss rights weren't implemented, PS3 was way over memory etcetcetc. GBX was unhappy with TG's work, and some of the Campaign maps were just completely redesigned from scratch. There were some last minute feature requests, most notably female marines, and the general consensus among GBX devs was that there was no way this game was going to be good by ship. There just wasn't enough time.
Considering that SEGA was pretty close to taking legal action against GBX, asking for an extension wasn't an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping. Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn't cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn't because GBX didn't care, mind you. At certain point, they couldn't risk changing ANYTHING that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get.
Beyond gameplay, the story has been raised as an issue several times. I can't really comment without feeling bad beyond saying that the script was approved by 20th Century FOX, and that the rush to throw a playable product together came at the cost of the story. Campaign does a pretty bad job of explaining a lot of the questions raised at the start of the game, and so hopefully there will be DLC to flesh that out a bit better.
Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)
Feb 24, 13 at 1:42pm
I think the Aliens franchise should just be left to the movie industry.
I don't agree with this. ACM could've been something good, IF Gearbox would've given it the attention it deserved. I hope that SEGA learned from this, and will give an Aliens - game to a developer that actually cares about the franchise and the Xenomorph universe.
And, to be honest, I'd like to see SEGA show that they care about how the game ends up. Have people supervise the development... Make sure that things go the right direction. Not just throw money at it without seeing that the money goes into making it.
Dude, I love Angry Joe. The only reviewer I respect and who's opinion I agree with, like everytime time.
I think the Aliens franchise should just be left to the movie industry. It has never managed to find good footing with video games.
As for Gearbox... look. I bought both Borderlands and Borderlands 2 used and I always felt bad about it because they were good games and I really regretted not having bought a new copy, but now that they've screwed me over with this title I honestly am really happy they didn't get my money .
Feb 24, 13 at 6:47am
quote black doom
A part of me really wants to 'study/play' this game for the hell of it...
Same for me... I've read all about it, looked at reviews and watched gameplay footage... I know it's far from good... But a part of me is saying, "it can't be that bad..."
I know it is that bad, but damn... It's Aliens!
Feb 22, 13 at 7:13pm
I had no interest in this game until I saw people talking about whether it's bad reviews would get the Wii-U version cancelled. A part of me really wants to 'study/play' this game for the hell of it...
At this point I feel like going to sit in a corner, close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and hum really loudly...
Feb 22, 13 at 8:18am
Have you guys seen this article? The difference is really amazing. I have no idea how a game can go from looking so good to so terrible. It's especially worse when you think about how the demo is from an 'unfinished product', and the quality actually declines.
Feb 21, 13 at 7:10pm
Am I the only one that absolutely loved Aliens: Colonial Marines? I mean, it did have some issues but what game doesn't? I thought it was a very fun game to play, remarkably well done.
The campaign didn't make much sense, they were missing a few textures here and there and the allied AI was sometimes retarded. But the atmosphere of the game, the Alien AI, the weapons, the sounds, the environments, the graphics, the game modes of multiplayer, all spot on.
Definitely worth the mere 40 NZD I paid. Not a huge amount to shell out for such a fun game.