Despite developer Gearbox Software’s initial claims that the title had “more to offer” on Nintendo’s new console compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3 — namely, the aforementioned functionality for zapping Xenomorphs and improved visuals — scathing reviews of the 360/PS3/PC version this February placed its forthcoming Wii U release in dire straits.
Shorty thereafter, controversy erupted around Aliens: Colonial Marines regarding allegations of studio outsourcing, wildly hurried development and deceptive advertising. Meanwhile, the only mentions of its once ambitious Wii U endeavor consisted of disparaging remarks from a Gearbox QA Tester (who called ACM on Wii U the worst edition of the game) and apprehensive remarks from Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford: “Well see,” he said concerning a Wii U release last month. “[Publisher] SEGA’s got to figure that out.”
Mercifully, Sega has. The publisher denied cancelling Aliens: Colonial Marines on the Wii U in February after it mysteriously vanished from the Amazon.com storefront. Today, however, it issued the affirming statement below to IGN:
“SEGA can confirm that the Wii U sku of Aliens: Colonial Marines is no longer in development.
The confirmation comes just days after Sega was forced by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency to insert “not-the-final-product” disclaimers in each of its game trailers, following complaints that the publisher misrepresented Aliens: Colonial Marines with an uber-polished hands-off demo at 2012’s PAX East. Sega and Gearbox may well have abandoned ACM’s Wii U version a long time ago — most gamers abandoned their anticipation for it in February — but the fallout from what was clearly a manhandled development process is proving its endurance.
Though while the news brings the book on ACM one page closer to closure, it’s also emblematic of the struggles facing Nintendo and their management of the Wii U. Sure, Colonial Marines has an image more putrid than its pincered predators. But the Wii U has found itself bereft of key third-party support since releasing last November (see, or rather don’t: the absence of Tomb Raider and BioShock: Infinite and avoidance of Watch Dogs and Battlefield 4). The fact that any game in development for so long (ACM was announced for the console at E3 2011) would back out so late bodes poorly for a console that’s beginning to encounter adversity in sales, not just appeal.
Ranters, did you want to see Aliens: Colonial Marines brought to the Wii U — perhaps after a few revisions? How do you think its cancellation reflects on the Wii U’s appeal to third-party developers?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.