Gearbox Lied About Aliens - Article

#1 Edited by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

http://www.destructoid.com/gearbox-lied-about-aliens-from-e3-demo-to-retail-product-244966.phtml

I'm just wondering at what point does this become a legal matter? False/Touched-up demo versions to the press and then a series of interviews with statements about the game that turns out to be nothing but lies to create hype.

And the lies didn't even stop at the E3 demo. Gearbox and Sega kept showing a screenshot of the Alien Queen fighting a Power Loader. This scene does not happen in the game.

Also, now apparently TripWire of Red Orchestra/Killing Floor seems to have been involved? Can someone confirm whether that's the case?

#2 Posted by coakroach (2492 posts) -

Nothing new in this industry, although this is probably an egregious example.

I guess this is why reviews still matter and also why you should never pre-order anything ever.

#3 Posted by ThePaleKing (613 posts) -

I didn't even know, and I think quite a few people didn't, that a large part of the game would be focused on fighting human enemies until the release day. When I look at the steam page they don't show a single screenshot or mention that fact. It's not out-right lying...but it sort of goes against how they presented the game. All in all it's just a massive fuckup. Fucked up and down. All around.

#4 Posted by AndrewB (7685 posts) -

Have you guys seen a lot of the early Half-Life footage? What about Half-Life 2? Both early demo bits were heavily scripted to look more amazing than anything from the final product (even though both ended up ultimately being fantastic games either way, and I suppose that's the difference and why this fact doesn't negate the argument).

#5 Edited by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

@coakroach: Yes! This calls for a full shift of the current consumers' behavior around video game pre-purchasing. When apparently PR representatives can say what they want in front of a camera, and even do staged demos of versions that aren't the real thing then it is probably best that we as a response stop pre-ordering games. Disregard pre-release PR campaigns with interviews, trailers and whatnot else, because if there are no laws preventing lies then we are basing our purchase on equivalents of quicksand; especially on Steam as they usually don't give refunds on pre-orders, once you make that step, your money is gone.

#6 Posted by DystopiaX (5351 posts) -

@funkydupe: As Jeff pointed out on his tumblr often games go through redesigns, shit gets cut, graphics tuned down for performance, stuff like that, so although this example is particularly shady it doesn't necessarily mean that they lied in pre-release videos.

#7 Edited by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

@dystopiax: Isn't it also their responsibility to update outdated information? If they released official information intended to promote their game, aka facts to make us pre-order, don't you suppose that it is their responsibility when this at any point differs from truth in present time?

#8 Posted by punkxblaze (2990 posts) -

Killzone 2.

#9 Posted by Superfriend (1577 posts) -

Yeah, a lot of stuff can happen during development and some of these demos are clearly not indicative of the final product-

BUT in this case, they showed that demo to the public and nothing in that demo seems to have made it to the final product. There is no excuse for showing this and the screenshots up until the very release of a game that has almost nothing to do with the hype they built up for it.

I´m sorry but in this case there is no big evil corporation behind all this. It´s the devs fault. It´s Randy Pitchfords fault. I don´t expect them to come out and say "oh well we fucked up", but I sure as hell expect them to stop lying about their product at some point. That video they put out with that Mike Neumann kid and Randy talking up the game is just freaking embarrassing now. Yeah yeah, marketing told them.. blah blah. No, at some point you have to come clean and stop telling blatant lies about your game- or at the very least say nothing and don´t make it seem like the second coming of Christ.

#10 Posted by Nictel (2430 posts) -

@coakroach: Yes! This calls for a full shift of the current consumers' behavior around video game pre-purchasing. When apparently PR representatives can say what they want in front of a camera, and even do staged demos of versions that aren't the real thing then it is probably best that we as a response stop pre-ordering games. Disregard pre-release PR campaigns with interviews, trailers and whatnot else, because if there are no laws preventing lies then we are basing our purchase on equivalents of quicksand; especially on Steam as they usually don't give refunds on pre-orders, once you make that step, your money is gone.

I would like to hear him about Kickstarter -> Putting $60+ down for a game which might never be released at all.

As for this whole demo not being anything like the game, that sounds like they really made a demo specifically to cheat the public.

#11 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

Withholding information about substantial changes / Reluctance to update the consumer of down-grades in quality compared to the promised product is fraudulent behavior. Who can confirm whether Aliens: Colonial Marines ever was a priority for Gearbox? Their outsourcing reveals otherwise across the board.

Like the video above mentions, Aliens: Colonial Marines was an on and off Steam best-seller for quite some time; so a lot of people paid full price; trusting the released information and the words of the Gearbox representatives. Gamers need to change, myself included; pre-ordering a game doesn't make it better nor arrive sooner; pre-order bonuses are often worthless and they appear as DLC for the public at later dates most often than not anyway. Some stores do not provide refunds for pre-orders and once you have pre-ordered, you are committed.

#12 Edited by Ghostiet (5289 posts) -

@punkxblaze said:

Killzone 2.

Thing is that ultimately, Killzone 2 came out and was one of the prettiest games of this generation and that apart from that reveal trailer, they were showing real footage and screenshots. Here, not so much.

#13 Edited by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

The best new rule of 2013 so far is to stop pre-ordering video games.

In journalism and public relations, a news embargo or press embargo is a request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met. The understanding is that if the embargo is broken by reporting before then, the source will retaliate by restricting access to further information by that journalist or his publication, giving them a long-term disadvantage relative to more cooperative outlets. They are often used by businesses making a product announcement, by medical journals, and by government officials announcing policy initiatives; the media is given advance knowledge of details being held secret so that reports can be prepared to coincide with the announcement date and yet still meet press time. In theory, press embargoes reduce inaccuracy in the reporting of breaking stories by reducing the incentive for journalists to cut corners in hopes of "scooping" the competition.

Embargoes are usually arranged in advance as "gentlemen's agreements." However, sometimes publicists will send embargoed press releases to newsrooms unsolicited in hopes that they will respect the embargo date without having first agreed to do so — the phrase "For Immediate Release" often found at the top of press releases indicates that the information in the release is not embargoed.

Are press embargos part of the problem? Publishers/developers operate using general threats to silence video game preview/review sites for as many gamers to pre-order or buy the game prior to views coming out that reveal insight of a game in order for consumers to make more qualified and informed decisions.

#14 Edited by DystopiaX (5351 posts) -

@funkydupe: No... press embargoes are in place so that reviewers can have reviews out day of and actually have played the games. No embargoes, and you'll have outlets rush through games on the date of so they can be first to get the reviews out.

And don't say "give them the game in advance and let them publish whenever" because that makes no sense for game companies. They don't want that shit getting in the way of their marketing plans or spoilers getting out early.

Bottom line, preorder something if you know it's gonna be good/you'll like it regardless (next Wii U mario game, GTA, etc.). If you preorder something as shaky as an Aliens game (cause those have always been inconsistent), especially one 6 years in development, then you really have no one to blame but yourself.

You also make it sound so shady, "threats"? It's an agreement. Both sides get something. Media gets to have a review out day 1, devs get the assurance their game doesn't get leaked. Without those "threats" (and I don't consider them threats) you'd get a one sided bargain where press gets the game early and the devs get no assurance about anything.

#15 Edited by Tennmuerti (8170 posts) -

Game came out. Panned in reviews. I don't feel lied to.

Why would I care that game journalists saw a different better demo some whatever time ago? It's their responsibility to base reviews not on demos but on the finished product, which they mstly did and the game got a fair spanking. It's my responsibility to make my own decisions based on available information.

If people base their buying decisions solely on an unplayable, touched up demo showing rather then reviews or post release video coverage, sorry to be blunt but that's their problem. Preorder always at your own risk. And it's up to the individual to judge if the information they based their decision on is sufficient for them. I preorder from time to time but I always know that there is a risk of getting burned the more "faith" there is in my decision rather then facts.

Dragon Age 2 sold through the ass in terms of preorders easily outselling DA:O in the first week. Based on demos and slices of gameplay shown (none of which showed that combat would consist of trash waves spawning out of thin air, nor the reused environments several times over). Only when reviews and word of mouth started to spread did it's sales started to tank. The preorers for that game were pimped out on the Bombcast for extra DLC if the preorders were in by a set date.

There are actual massive lists compiled (by niche rpg devoted sites) for both Oblivion and Skyrim with point by point breakdown of lies and false marketing that Bethesda (mostly in the form of Todd Howard) touted as new or improved features in those games. A huge amount of which are not in the final games. And this isn't marketing from years ago when the games were still in early stages, a lot of that advertisement and boasting was getting pissed down consumers collective open moths a few weeks before ship. The funniest part is guess what, game journalists blindly hyped up and spread that marketing spiel driving people into a preorder frenzy. Where were they to point fingers at themselves for misleading those they were supposed to inform. Swept under the rug mostly.

Lets not even start on Peter M. The stream of lies and over promises of how awesome his games are going to be pre release is legendary. Yet he is still a lovable chum in most peoples eyes for some reason. Despite the lies. "Oh you cute visionary you, he's just overambitious" remember it's not on rails, har har, what a guy.

Most every game marketed for the past several years has only shown the much better looking PC version footage, and hi res touched up screenshots. The masses in video comments on various sites go "ooooh and aaah, this game looks so awesome, gonna buy it on my 360 or PS3", when the games actually look nothing like that on those consoles. Sure once in a while you get an honest "PC footage" of "360 footage" label on videos, but most of the time no such thing.

There are really countless examples one could go on forever describing.

And now Gearbox showed touched up demos, releasing a game with a bunch of cut out content. Par for the course for this industry. Marketing lies about their products pretty constantly. It's their job. Which is why you don't just take them on blind faith all the time.

I'm not saying it's good, or excusable. In fact I think it's slimy marketing and should be called to task when it occurs. Except i would rather people are more consistent about it. But legal matter? Nah not even close, or we would have a legal matter on half the games ever released.

#16 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

It does kinda seem like false advertisement KINDA. I think its more of them not really showing what was in the game and knowing if they had shown what was in it sales would have been worse.

So much gameplay that was shown was NEVER even in the game.

P.S I now hate the sound of pulse rifles. Good job game.

#17 Posted by jking47 (1241 posts) -

After Duke Nukem Forever was anyone really surprised? Even if this is not counted as false advertising, I am going to be very cautious about buying any Gearbox games in the future.

#18 Posted by pweidman (2347 posts) -

@tennmuerti: My thoughts exactly.

And this article seems like mostly sensationalism and hype unto itself, and feeding on some consumer disappointment, in an effort to get site hits. If you know you have to be an informed consumer, then you know you have to do some research and not blindly trust marketing hype. Buyer beware. Hell, that 2 hour livestream on IGN spoke volumes, and made it quite clear the game was going to be mediocre at best.

#19 Edited by WarlockEngineerMoreDakka (432 posts) -

@nictel said:

@funkydupe said:

@coakroach: Yes! This calls for a full shift of the current consumers' behavior around video game pre-purchasing. When apparently PR representatives can say what they want in front of a camera, and even do staged demos of versions that aren't the real thing then it is probably best that we as a response stop pre-ordering games. Disregard pre-release PR campaigns with interviews, trailers and whatnot else, because if there are no laws preventing lies then we are basing our purchase on equivalents of quicksand; especially on Steam as they usually don't give refunds on pre-orders, once you make that step, your money is gone.

I would like to hear him about Kickstarter -> Putting $60+ down for a game which might never be released at all.

As for this whole demo not being anything like the game, that sounds like they really made a demo specifically to cheat the public.

Well... >_>

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/301467916388405249

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/301448195827982336

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/301468649351413761

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/301429092803301376

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/301467719272894464

Basically, yes, the end result of putting down $60 on a pre-order or a kickstarter CAN be the same.

However, unlike pre-orders, there is an actual potential benefit from putting money into a Kickstarter. Cause that money will actually help the game reach the finish line (At least, in theory of course. :P ).

Pre-orders... Have little to no benefit, aside from paltry pre-order bonuses. :P

That would be the primary difference between the two. I can definitely see why many consider Kickstarter as the riskier option though.

#20 Edited by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

Kickstarter is risky, but my impression is that many projects on there are better at showing transparency at least in the funding stages of their projects; and that's what is needed for players to not get that 'we were lied to' feeling. Transparency. Gearbox in my opinion their situation required them to come out and give a statement about the problems surrounding their 6 years-in-the-making title and I'm sure there'd be a lot more understanding, rage and disappointment too, but more understanding nonetheless.

I feel that the press should be given opportunity to talk about their experiences previewing a game more so than today, if a developer or publisher is confident in their game why wouldn't they want that coverage? @dystopiax: I agree that press embargoes work for news, reveals and that type of thing, but for a game everyone knows exists, information can only be a good thing. Players could certainly benefit with regards to the whole culture of pre-ordering games. I wrote "threats" because that's how I feel they are conveyed, in any case it was wrong of me to bring them up in the case of promotion and pre-release information regarding a known game development project; as there are no "reveals" needed only illumination on whether the game is actually coming along as advertised by PR campaigns and reps in the weeks and months leading up to a release. Like was said earlier, we need to stop pre-ordering games starting now. I know a few here that never pre-order, and these instances are perfect examples of why they are right to keep their money until the game has been out for a while or at least been given a reception by the gaming media. It has finally gotten through to me how ignorant I've been to pre-order games aka paying stores money up front for minor bonuses or just a feel good feeling for having "secured" me a copy of a game.

#21 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Who can confirm whether Aliens: Colonial Marines ever was a priority for Gearbox? Their outsourcing reveals otherwise across the board.

If you believe the unconfirmed anonymous Gearbox employee Reddit rant, A:CM was never a priority for Gearbox who were purportedly focusing almost entirely on Borderlands. Seems almost fraudulent to even have the Gearbox logo on the thing since it seems like most of the game was created by other studios.

#22 Edited by DystopiaX (5351 posts) -

@funkydupe: eh

I will still preorder the 3ish games a year that I KNOW I'll play, because it's convenient and I get something and I'd want it no matter how shitty it is anyway. Like SCII HOTS, I'm gonna get that shit and play it with friends even if it sucks, so there's no reason for me to wait until the day it drops and go pick it up anyway.

I never preorder shit that just looks interesting anyway, so I guess if you're doing that you should stop, but for me games like SCII, GTA are must-buys no matter how bad so preordering them wouldn't hurt me.

#23 Edited by coakroach (2492 posts) -

@warlockengineermoredakka: I guess with kickstarter it's a little different, it's less about putting down money in advance for a product you believe is going to be good and more about expressing support for a project or developer that you sympathise with.

The means is the same though, and the direct 'put this much money in, get this stuff' model kickstarter uses formalizes what is essentially a donation.

So kickstarter is dumb for it's own reasons, but I still think it's pretty dumb.

#24 Posted by laserbolts (5336 posts) -

Cant say im surprised. Since Earned in blood the only thing gearbox has made that is worth playing are the Borderlands games.

#25 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3956 posts) -

This could suck depending on how long it went on.. this happens though.

I think the whole "take SEGAs money while we have other studios actually work on the game and we instead make Borderlands 2 with the money" angle is far worse. SEGA should be pissed about this.

How very Silicon Knights.

#26 Edited by shivermetimbers (785 posts) -

This is more of a business ethics issue and I can see multiple sides to the debate, but my stance is that it's fair game for them to show a demo, get everyone's hype up, and then throw it out the window. They didn't come out and blatantly state that you were going to play what was in the demo. In that sense, they weren't lying to you. In another sense they did show a much more polished and triple-a worthy product than what was given.

It's not lying, it's fair, but sleazy...if that makes any sense.

#27 Edited by BigBoss1911 (2523 posts) -

Classic example

#28 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

I'm trying to understand how they deliver BORDERLANDS then duke...nukem...forever... then BORDERLANDS 2 then aliens...colonial...marines...

How can they polish two games and make them so much fun yet release two absolutely horrific games? Alternating between quality and shittery from one title to the next?

Cannot compute.

#29 Edited by BisonHero (6774 posts) -

@officegamer said:

I'm trying to understand how they deliver BORDERLANDS then duke...nukem...forever... then BORDERLANDS 2 then aliens...colonial...marines...

How can they polish two games and make them so much fun yet release two absolutely horrific games? Alternating between quality and shittery from one title to the next?

Cannot compute.

Do a lot of people really blame Gearbox for how bad Duke Nukem Forever is?

Gearbox just couldn't afford to remake the entire game top-to-bottom. They bought the Duke Nukem IP rights, polished up the existing DNF code as much as possible, and put it out. That was ALWAYS going to be a bad game, and I almost treat Gearbox like they had this impossible port job, except they were porting the game TO consoles and computers FROM development hell, something that 3D Realms could never do.

They didn't buy those rights to just sit on them, so presumably they're going to make their own Duke Nukem game, from scratch, in the coming years. But I really don't see how anyone can blame Gearbox for DNF. I certainly understand why uninformed Kotaku commenters don't understand the difference, but it is different. Aliens: Colonial Marines is a project that Gearbox was in charge of from the start (unlike DNF), then they dicked around on it until Sega put their foot down and it came out in this awful, fucked up state.

#30 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Oh no! They showed off an event in the story that didn't make it into the final product! This is course for legal action and not at all something that happens in almost every game ever made.

#31 Posted by MB (12910 posts) -

I'm tempted to close this thread on the basis that the Destructiod article in question is fucking ridiculous. Thoughts?

Moderator
#32 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@mb said:

I'm tempted to close this thread on the basis that the Destructiod article in question is fucking ridiculous. Thoughts?

Do what you want, man. (I only added that music because I'm reading the Japanese script for FF7.)

#33 Posted by BisonHero (6774 posts) -

@mb said:

I'm tempted to close this thread on the basis that the Destructiod article in question is fucking ridiculous. Thoughts?

The article is SUPER dumb, but it's prompting the discussion about how ethical it is to show vertical slices of a game that are of a grossly higher quality than the final product. The discussion is worth it.

#34 Posted by Quarters (1803 posts) -

Went back and watched the 11 minute walkthrough showing the chase with the Crusher, having just played that part in the actual game. Holy crap. It is completely and utterly different. He even mentions in the demo that it's from Act 2 of the game. From the way they were talking, it didn't sound like test footage. I think something really jacked up happened to this game in development, more than just growing pains. Having beaten 6 missions thus far(split screen coop), it's been pretty mediocre. Not the absolute trash some make it out as, but nothing special. Just extremely disappointing, all the way around with this one. What happened? Makes me wonder if the Reddit dude's speaking truth...

#35 Edited by Barrock (3551 posts) -

Are the screenshots on Amazon.com from the game or from the demo?

#36 Posted by Quarters (1803 posts) -

@barrock: I don't recognize a single one of those from the game. Certainly not from cinematics. And the one picture with the three marines fighting, I recognize two of the characters, but the third doesn't look familiar at all. Unless it's an early version of Cruz. So yeah, not 100% sure, but probably from demos/earlier promotional materials.

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