This week’s release of Aliens: Colonial Marines was an absolute disaster. The game, which was in development for years, was hotly anticipated as it was based around one of the most popular SciFi IPs in the world. Gearbox has a solid FPS history with the two Borderlands games, not to mention the Brothers in Arms WWII series. So people are wondering how they could possibly mess up a first-person-shooter set in the Aliens universe.
A reddit user who claims to work for Gearbox spilled all the beans. It turns out Gearbox really didn’t handle most of the development:
Initially, the plan was for TimeGate to take the majority of campaign, GBX would take 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 dealt with Pecan.
So Gearbox outsourced development to TimeGate, but when the game got close to release they realized that TimeGate dropped the ball and they’d have to step in, so they asked Sega for another nine month extension on their contract:
About 5 of those 9 months went to shipping BL2. In that time, TimeGate managed to scrap together 85% of the campaign, but once Borderlands 2 shipped and GBX turned its 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 fights weren’t implemented, PS3 was way over memory, etcetcetc. GBX was pretty unhappy with TG’s work, and some of 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 an 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 a 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.
He went on to explain that the incredibly stupid fan-fiction story was approved by 20th Century Fox, but in order to actually ship a playable game they had to make cuts to it which is why some of the stuff at the beginning (such as why the Sulaco is back at LV-426) doesn’t make sense. Of course, paid DLC is on the way to explain those problems away. That still won’t resolve the absolute stupid explanation for bringing Hicks back to life.