Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the most highly anticipated games of 2013, promising a triumphant return to not only the Alien series but even to the planet of LV-426. The first-person shooter was set to offer fans of the sci-fi franchise a detailed and terrifying sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens. Gamers fell in love with early gameplay footage, offering would-be players a brief glimpse at the horrors remaining in the ruins of the Hadley’s Hope colony.
Unfortunately, Aliens: Colonial Marines was a failure in almost every way. The game was released as a broken mess, with barely-functioning AI, tedious levels, and a story that many fans saw as an insult to the in-depth lore of the Aliens franchise. Aliens: Colonial Marines also included one of the worst examples of apparent gameplay footage use in promotional videos. The title gained a level of unwanted notoriety when players noticed the game’s graphical fidelity was several levels lower than what had been promised in earlier footage.
Fans were rightly angry about the release, and a pair of disgruntled gamers decided to take both Gearbox Software and SEGA to court over the matter, citing that Aliens: Colonial Marines was falsely advertised in the run-up to its release. Developer Gearbox Software, however, can now breathe a sigh of relief. According to court documents obtained by Polygon, the plaintiffs in the case have now agreed to drop Gearbox from the lawsuit.
Gearbox Software has maintained that, as a contractor, it was not responsible for the marketing campaign or the content of the title, and that responsibility for both instead lay with publisher SEGA. Although Gearbox head Randy Pitchford once referred to the footage in question as “actual gameplay,” the attorneys for the gamers in question have accepted that the developer will be dropped from the case. Although there is no specific reason why the plaintiffs have agreed to this action, it appears as though the attorneys are now focusing on reaching a settlement with publisher SEGA.
One reason why the plaintiffs may have been forced to agree to Gearbox being dropped from the suit is that the lawsuit has lost its class status. The suit had infamously reached the heights of $1.25 million pursued in damages, with the attorneys looking to bring compensation to every US citizen who purchased a copy of the game. However, the suit has now lost its class action status, with District Judge James Donato stating that definition of those covered by the suit was not specific enough, as it would be difficult to prove which customers had been misled by the advertisements in question.
As it stands, the plaintiffs will now have to decide on whether to proceed with the action against SEGA. The suit itself now stands on weaker footing, however, as it only represents the two gamers who initially proceeded with legal action. With the Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle now dragging on for over two years, it looks as though this better-left-forgotten title will continue to hang around for a while longer yet.