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Posted by HarkinNecro

No one is infalible espeically game companies

Posted by paparoach

what a fuckfest

Posted by Buckydude

After Duke Nukem Forever, you'd think Gearbox would be less excited to pickup a troubled project like A:CM. Of course the success of Sleeping Dogs is just going to encourage more studios to try saving projects that can't be salvaged.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob

It is hard to not have your pre-Aliens impression of Randy Pitchford shattered by this game.

I've been a fan of Gearbox since Road to Hill 30, but after Hell's Highway, Duke Nukem, and this fiasco, Gearbox doesn't seem to be a big fan of doing right by me.

I will be cautious when they put their name on something.

Edited by RudeCubes

I'm betting Sega sues for that sweet, sweet Borderlands money.

Posted by Kamikaze_Tutor

Time to watch Spaceballs again.

Edited by MildMolasses

I think my favourite part of all this is the way people have turned on Randy Pitchford for being a snake oil salesman. I remember a few months ago on Quoted for Truth when Tom McShea referred to him as a blowhard that will "lie to your face for one more sale," and people jumped all over him for it. Now everyone is saying that

Posted by DaMisterChief

This was the Duke Nukem Forever of our generation

Posted by abdo

Posted by Mister_V

Randy Pitchford Comes across to me sometimes as Peter Molyneux without the charm.

Posted by Brutakas

Game companies have a bad habit of never learning from their past mistakes or from the mistakes of other companies.

Edited by joshthebear

Great article Alex. This whole situation is one giant clusterfuck, and I'll be weary of Gearbox from here on out.

Posted by FreedomTown

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

Edited by Paindamnation

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

Did we really need another comment about it? Probably not.

Posted by Cincaid

As the huge fan of Borderlands I am, I found myself swallowing whatever Randy was selling to me. Guess I learned a bitter lesson from all of this.

Posted by zoozilla

Nice article.

It does really seem like there was no way A:CM was going to turn out well. Such a shame - I don't doubt that if Gearbox devoted all of their time and energy into it, the game could have been really cool.

Posted by paparoach

This game is not as bad as they say. merely average.

I hope Sega will stop working with GBX, though and finally make that Aliens survival-horror first person RPG. Get on it, fools!

Edited by Spoonman671

I used to really enjoy Pitchford's enthusiasm when talking about his projects, and games in general, but I'm afraid that whenever I hear him talk now it will just remind me of this mess. Unfortunate.

Edited by csl316

Pitchford always seemed like a silver tongued salesmen to me. I've been weary of Gearbox since Duke Nukem, and I'm so glad I didn't preorder this (being a huge fan of the series). Sadly, this is now one of those developers where I'll have to wait for reviews. The demo-to-retail comparison video I saw was a god damn travesty.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

That video with the dancing Xenomorph is hilarious.

Moderator
Posted by JRock3x8

like many things that happen when the internet gets its drawers in a twist, I fail to see the exact problem. They made a game that game reviewers think is average at best and broken at worst.

But the way it's being discussed makes it sounds like the game won't even make it past the menu stage or that your game playing device will start smoking when you put the disc in.

I don't get it.

Edited by Max_Cherry

@Alex Don't associate "Alien" with "Aliens". You know why.

Posted by Incapability

I had not been privy to the development of that game in any way. When it came out, I thought about the last time I heard about a game involving the Alien name, and remembered it being garbage, so I just assumed this was some sort of shovelware.

Imagine my surprise when I found out this game had a rich and refined history, and a distinct aroma of bullshit. Since I had absolutely no investment in it, it hasn't really bothered me, but I certainly feel for the people who now feel ripped off.

Studied at arms length, though, it's interesting to see just how damaging shit like this is to a company. Overpromising and underdelivering is not easy to get away with - I like to think that there must have been some way of softening the blow, with some well-applied PR disaster management before and after, but the way they've handled all that, certainly hasn't helped them.

Then again, they probably have this strategized to some extent. I mean, people thought Duke Nukem: Forever was hot bullshit, right? That didn't stop them from throwing money at this game, or even putting another Duke Nukem game in development. I mean, at some point we should probably take responsibility ourselves, for enabling them to pull this shit off by buying their product.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

Loving this series. Keep em comin', Alex.

Finished Aliens on PC last night. Ugh.

Posted by m3ds334

@damisterchief: Wasn't Duke Nukem Forever the Duke Nukem Forever of our generation?

Posted by Laini

As someone who hadn't really followed the development I wasn't quite sure why it was reviewing so badly. Don't get me wrong, it's not a good game. Average perhaps but certainly not as terrible as everyone seems to think.

But when you look at those supposed gameplay demos I can see why people have turned on. That game looked great. The one I'm playing doesn't :/

I'm not gonna say I'll be boycotting Gearbox but I'll certainly be doing a lot more research on anything I purchase by (LOL like A:CM was MADE by Gearbox) them in the future.

Posted by seannao

Thanks for the article! I finished up the campaign recently and while it wasn't the complete horror story of a game everybody made it out to be, it was definitely a game that was very... perfunctory and plain and I do regret purchasing it.

Yes, it'll be interesting seeing the news coming out of this since it can stand as a business/social study to look back on and try to divine better guesses in the future when looking at previews.

One thing seems consistent enough though that games that were cancelled and change studios were probably cancelled for a fairly good reason.

Posted by Deusx

Great article Alex. It's a sad story that will leave a big mark on Gearbox, let's just hope it doesn't bring the to an end.

Posted by pbhawks45

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

It's a pretty big flop, dude. If you honestly think that...I would just hate living life with that much cynicism.

Edited by Laiv162560asse

I'm glad you didn't over-emphasise the difference between the preview demos and the final product, Alex. Certainly, the game appears to have gotten slightly worse-looking and some sections are completely absent from the final game. However, as you say, many games do this. As an example, everyone seems to be creaming their pants over Watch Dogs, even though the traffic lights hacking sequence, which was the most impressive part of that E3 presentation, was almost certainly scripted. Press demos are never truly representative.

Furthermore, those early demos of Aliens still looked bad. Okay, the environmental design looked nice and it's mysterious how the lighting looks superior to the final product, but if those were the only things wrong with the final product then there wouldn't be this big fuss. So many other parts of the early previews still looked bad: stilted animation, awkward models, stiff-looking combat, rubbish-looking acid, obnoxious fan-service moments everywhere and a nonsensical story premise were all clearly on display even back then. Not to mention the fact that so many of the decent-looking gameplay passages were, again, clearly scripted, so they were never going to be representative of anything at all.

Okay, this game was dishonestly marketed and due to insider stories there are serious questions to be asked about Gearbox's dev practices. I still think this whole thing of 'Randy lied to us' is a bit of a red herring. We get lied to by marketing all the time, but the difference is people tend to let the lies slide when the final product turns out to be at least average. If we make more of an effort not to get caught up in pre-release hype, then all the BS of the kind that Pitchford spouted becomes nothing more than one hand clapping.

Edited by huss

Great article Alex. The stark contrast between what was shown and said about this game by Gearbox, and by Pitchford in particular, is the craziest part of all this in my opinion. They seemed to really know what to say and what to show to make people excited and hopeful for this game. Although it's possible the marketing was done with the best intentions, many people probably pre-ordered based on the deceptive demos and carefully constructed statements from Pitchford and Gearbox.

Posted by Grimhild

I guess there's always Creative Assembly's take on the Alien IP. I'd cross my fingers but they're still sore from the years waiting for A:CM.

The unfortunate thing is that most of the mistakes with A:CM that detract from the game play could have been easily avoided. Purely AI-driven companions hardly ever turn out well, and the fact that they're simply utilitarian to spout terrible plot exposition makes them that much more annoying. That said, I think it's more the squandering of potential that everyone is upset about, not so much the fact that it's a sub-par shooter with a boatload of technical issues.

Isolate me and my co-op friends in the ruins of Hadley's Hope, and I'm good. You can keep your horrible plot and dialog. All that's left is to fix the terrible xeno AI, because people have already come up with ways to make it prettier by enabling modding in DX10 and .ini files for shaders. Release the SDK and we'll fix it.

(I would say "spoilers" for the attached video... but... really?)


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Posted by Abendlaender

Okay, here is what I want and what I will never get: Sega! Make an Alien (not Aliens!) game with Frictional Games. Hell, they basically already made it, just in a boring old castle with boring monsters instead of an Alien......*sigh* this will never happen, right? Maybe shortly after Konami teams up with Telltale to make Silent Hill....which will also never happen

Posted by rmanthorp

That video.

Moderator
Posted by Goopynose

Great read. Thanks, Alex!

Posted by Oldirtybearon

@freedomtown said:

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

Did we really need another comment about it? Probably not.

Freedomtown is right though. Alex isn't saying anything new nor has he dug up any info on what the hell happened to the game. It's just whinging for the sake of whinging.

I like Alex and I like this feature, but this article doesn't do anything but state the obvious.

Posted by FrostedMiniWheats

Maybe it says something good about our industry that it's such a big deal and such a surprise when a big AAA game comes out and sucks. I mean, if Lionsgate (or whoever your favorite movie studio may be) came out with a rotten movie would that be such a shocker? No, all movie studios release crummy movies. But here in video games where a "low" score for a big budget release is 3/5 stars or 7/10 critic points... suddenly everyone's flipping out when a single truly bad product comes out. I can't think of another medium (film, literature, music) where a single bad work would raise such a stink.

Well, except for Get Behind Me Satan but that's just because White Stripes fans were obsessive.

Edited by Slique

Everything about this situation (read as: debacle) just reminds me of Brother's in Arms: Hell's Highway, and how Gearbox pulled the same bait-and-switch manoeuvre with presentation materials. Does anyone else remember this video? It's even got Randy Pitchford talking up a storm again and promising scenes and features that just just didn't exist in the final product. Hopefully if any good does come from this situation it'll be that Gearbox now (finally) knows that hoodwinking the press and public doesn't make for a viable development strategy.

Edited by BlackLagoon

Reminds me of the early Dark Void gameplay demos, which showed a game full of polished Uncharted-like set pieces and a very stylish boss reveal. In the actual game the section didn't exist (you just flew past it with the jet pack), and the boss is just teleported in from nowhere.

Posted by nutter

A:CM is a profoundly flawed experience, though I had fun with my co-op playthrough, if not always for reasons Gearbox would like.

They will need to fight to gain back some lost trust. I thought Borderlands 2 was too safe and that Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 40 was the only really great BIA game. Duke was what we all expected, but Aliens...this game has moments where you could see what the developers (whoever they were) wanted to do, but just didn't have the time or chops make good on.

It's a sad experience, really. I enjoyed it in spite of some really awful core elements, but it's the PR vs product aspect that will haunt Gearbox without a string of games that outshine the hype.

Posted by Phatmac
Edited by The_Nubster

@jrock3x8 said:

like many things that happen when the internet gets its drawers in a twist, I fail to see the exact problem. They made a game that game reviewers think is average at best and broken at worst.

But the way it's being discussed makes it sounds like the game won't even make it past the menu stage or that your game playing device will start smoking when you put the disc in.

I don't get it.

Because people were promised, for 6 years, a game that was made by a super-fan of the Alien series; a game that would answer every lingering question, deliver the most intense, authentic Alien experience, and stand in league with Alien and Aliens as the best piece of canon that series had ever seen. And what they got was a glitchy mess filled with retcons, unintelligible story-telling, and gameplay and graphics that belonged back in 2006 when development started.

For an outsider, like myself, it just looks bland and ugly, but I can't really appreciate the minutia of the Alien franchise like some people can. I'd imagine that, if you have the eyes and ears for it, this game is something much, much worse than just bad-looking.

Online
Posted by Grimhild

@slique said:

Everything about the A:CM situation reminds me of Brother's in Arms: Hell's Highway, specifically the way Gearbox has touted overly polished "playable demos" as representation for the final game. Does anyone else remember this video? I can still remember being unbelievably pumped after that presentation. And again, it even has Randy Pitchford talking up a storm. It's honestly a shame to see the studio up still considers hoodwinking the press and public a viable production strategy. If anything good does come from this mess, hopefully it will have taught them to be more honest about their development process.

Exactly. Although I don't regret buying A:CM because of some of the fun I've had with co-op and MP (which speaks more to the IP and my friends), I still think GBX deserves the flak it's getting, and hopefully learns from it.

Online
Posted by Funkydupe

@grimhild: Absolutely. This situation alone has made me promise to myself never to pre-order again, ever. I've never understood why I couldn't just wait those extra days before getting a game. So, thanks Gearbox for that, at least.

Posted by Lyfeforce

Borderlands continues to be one of my favorite franchises of this generation, but after DNF and the radio silence on Furious 4, I've been weary of Gearbox's offerings outside of BL and it's DLC. After seeing the debacle that's been unleashed, I'm not sure what to expect. The company has laid some definite stinkers, but it's also the company that has been issuing mea culpas for broken PC ports of BL1, pouring out golden keys and the like. Maybe Gearbox could become a one-game company like Bungie/343? I dunno. I'm just happy I was able to get my pre-order money into something else.

Posted by fisk0

Gearbox have always been uneven, and up until the launch they seemed to take credit for everything about the game. Meanwhile Timegate has a decent track record, though their main focus seem to have been RTS'es and multiplayer FPS games, so maybe FPS single player campaigns isn't the stuff they're the best at. But, really, Gearbox' best stuff have been ports or expansion packs for other people's games. The Brothers in Arms series had some high points, as did Borderlands, but even Borderlands had some downright terrible sections, kinda poor shooting and some really bad DLC. And there was of course Duke Nukem Forever, which I'm not sure how much we can blame them for, as they were always open about it being a joint effort. They only started saying Colonial Marines was outsourced when the shit hit the fan.

Edited by Snail

@freedomtown said:

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

Alex isn't just dissing the game, he is writing about what went wrong in its development process. Having been all these years in the making, at a studio that is known to have talented staff, and with all the promising hype that this game at one point generated, it's surprising and frankly quite shitty that it turned out to be this bad.

I find these sorts of articles interesting. I once read a Kotaku article about what happened at Silicon Knights in order for X-Men Destiny to be so shitty. It was insightful stuff.

In fact, I think I might have dreamed about something related to that article recently. Maybe even last night. Before I had even clicked this article. Weird.

Edited by mnzy

@paindamnation said:

@freedomtown said:

Did you really think this game needed another negative article written about it? Geez, someone didn't pay off the media enough with this one.

Did we really need another comment about it? Probably not.

Freedomtown is right though. Alex isn't saying anything new nor has he dug up any info on what the hell happened to the game. It's just whinging for the sake of whinging.

I like Alex and I like this feature, but this article doesn't do anything but state the obvious.

Not everybody follows every site and every detail about certain events. He puts it together nicely for people like me who haven't heard of this.

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