When SEGA released Aliens: Colonial Marines back in February of last year few expected we would still be talking about the game some 19 months later. Sure, the game was bad – some might even call it wretched – but plenty of bad games release and few get as much play as Colonial Marines was getting.
By and large, a lot of Aliens: Colonial Marines' sustained dance in the public spotlight had to do with the game's misleading marketing. We saw the game at several points throughout the ACM promotional process and we actually were impressed by what we saw, but what SEGA and developer Gearbox Software ended up delivering was a far cry from those appealing demos.
It was that disparity between marketing and final product that lead to a class action lawsuit, which alleged that SEGA had purposefully misled the public to boost sales. SEGA, not looking to drag this out longer than needed, reached a tentative lawsuit in August of this year. Gearbox Software was then asked if it would pay an additional $750,000 into the settlement since they were, after all, the folks behind the game's development.
Gearbox, however, was none to happy with this decision and decided to pull out of the suit altogether. The developer alleged that they were barely involved with the game, and only called into help the game limp over the finish line.
It is true that Gearbox did pass off the majority of ACM's development to TimeGate Studios, but SEGA did not take kindly to Gearbox's accusations. And instead of letting Gearbox out of the suit, the publisher has provided copious documents highlighting just how involved Gearbox was in the Aliens: Colonial Marines marketing process. It's a rare look behind the curtain and one that could further paint the game in a bad light.
Of particular note is an e-mail from SEGA internal that claims Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford took it upon himself to break news several times without any marketing plan in place. Check it out below:
Other documents included with the filing reveal how SEGA hoped to reintroduce the game to the public after a failed first attempt to generate buzz. For example, one document reveals that the team agreed to run Aliens: Colonial Marines on Xbox 360 if it increased their potential for placement on Microsoft's E3 Pres Conference. While another document shows how the marketing team hoped to pitch the title to retailers.
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Even though it looked like the Alien: Colonial Marines legal battle had come to its logical conclusion several months ago, it appears things are only heating back up. Gearbox has yet to issue an official response, but we suspect they will be less than pleased by SEGA's accusations. Stick tuned to Game Rant for more.
Do you think Gearbox was well aware of the deceptive marketing? Who do you think is most at fault for Aliens: Colonial Marines' failures?