Before James Cameron went all environmentally activist on us when he made Avatar, he made one of the greatest sci-fi/action films of all time with Aliens (Terminator 2 was cool too… and True Lies). Gearbox Software has since been working on a video game adaptation of the film in the form of Aliens: Colonial Marines and the company is putting in as much work as they can to ensure that fans of the movie will experience all the same kind of tension and terror they may have felt while sitting down to watch Aliens and Alien 3 for the first time.
While some games have featured the Colonial Marine as part of the story, not many have focused solely on the brave souls who go out into space to combat some of the creepiest threats in the galaxy. Gearbox Software wants to reassure gamers that Aliens: Colonial Marines will be focusing purely on the subtitled group this time around and more playable Predators or Xenomorphs. How are they doing this? 20th Century Fox, the production company that owns the Aliens license, is giving Gearbox “a lot of freedom” to create an almost brand new world stemming from the source material.
Gearbox is aiming for Colonial Marines to be a shooter that’s easily accessible to anyone who chooses to pick it up and play, alone or with up to three friend cooperatively. In addition to the new details below, previously available information regarding Colonial Marines‘ story and other gameplay details is also readily accessible.
During Gamescom 2011, Brian Martel, Chief Creative Officer for Gearbox, discussed the perks of Fox allowing so much creative freedom for the development of Colonial Marines which let them tell a better story.
“They’ve given us a lot of freedom at 20th Century Fox. Fox has been really cool about it. They want us to stay within the canon of the movies, so this game takes place after Alien 3.
But it is a spiritual sequel to Aliens, so it really lets us be in the boots of the Colonial Marines. But Fox also let us delve into the aliens hive life-cycle and those kind of things. So we’ve been able to dig in there and kinda create new aliens that make sense for gameplay because making a game is very different than making a movie, so you need different requirements. But they’ve been very cool with it, so its been a very exciting experience to work with those guys.
Working with Fox really gives us the detail – in-depth photos, all the resources they had from the films – and they took a lot of photos – blueprints, everything. All that’s been really helpful and they’ve just been really cool – every time we’re making up a new Alien they’ve been there to help us figure out the details to work it into the canon – it’s cool.”
So before Ripley got resurrected, but after she plunged to her death to stop the Xenomorph threat within her, a new batch of marines are dispatched to investigate LV-426 (again) and that’s where the story starts off. Martel also wants fans of franchise to know that Gearbox is doing everything they can do ensure Colonial Marines will be an experience that’s fresh and memorable.
“We definitely listen to what everybody wants, listening to the forums, bringing in people to test our games and those sort of things. We’ve really been able to hone in on what it is to be a true Aliens: Colonial Marines game.”
Gamescom 2011 allowed players to finally see the game in action and witness what Gearbox is bringing to the table to create an immersive gaming experience. One of the things immediately of note is that Colonial Marines allows the player to turn off the HUD and only run off whatever the in-game assets can provide you. As we all know, the M41A Pulse Rifle does have a very handy round counter on the weapon, allowing the marine to keep track of his or her impending demise via empty magazine. Another particular of Colonial Marines is the player actually holding and using the motion tracker in-game.
Some players might not enjoy being unable to see their round count or health tracker, but having the feature available to remove the extra detail on the screen is very interesting and adds to the visceral horror-themed experience that an Aliens game should be about. Colonial Marines is very much about making the player feel like he/she really is in the boots of a scared marine, up against something they shouldn’t be. Another way Gearbox is achieving that is by never leaving first person view save for a few moments. The demo at Gamescom 2011, for example, pulled the camera outward to introduce a brand new enemy that even the power loader from Aliens was no match for.
Adding and partaking in the canon of the Aliens universe is the right move for Gearbox and we hope it works for us fans of the franchise in addition to unfamiliar gamers just looking for a good co-op shooter experience. Don’t forget to check out the new Aliens: Colonial Marines screenshots as well.
Aliens: Colonial Marines will be releasing Spring 2012 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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