While Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s tie-in to the Alien universe, is still one of 2012’s most highly anticipated titles, gamers who were looking forward to Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox’s first person shooter set after the events of James Cameron’s Aliens, will have to bump the SEGA-published title onto their 2013 most anticipated list.

According to an official press release from the studio, Aliens: Colonial Marines – previously slated for Fall 2012 – is now set for release on February 12, 2013. It isn’t all bad news though – as the developer has also unveiled a new “Suspense” trailer for the game which will only make the, now, nine month wait harder.

Of course, many gamers will remember that this isn’t the first time that Aliens: Colonial Marines has been delayed – or the first time that Gearbox has attempted to dissuade some of the frustration with a new gameplay trailer. However, this time, President of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford, is calling the February 12, 2013 release window the “definitive launch date”:

“I am thrilled to announce the definitive launch date for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Aliens: Colonial Marines is the culmination of a life-time of inspiration from the films and relentless passion and drive from the exceptionally talented development team behind the scenes.”

We’ll just have to wait and see whether or not that “passion and drive” gums up the timeframe further – though, considering the amount of times the game has been delayed at this point, further push-backs may start to cast some doubt on a title that has, for the most part, enjoyed loads of positive pre-release buzz. Gamers have become accustomed to a certain number of delays, as evidenced by the general disappointment but unwavering support for the news that BioShock: Infinite would be bumped into 2013 (to allow Irrational Games a bit more time); however, for many players, there’s a fine line between accepting a delay and concern that an upcoming title is slipping into “troubled development” territory.

Delays don’t always mean doom and gloom (especially in an age when so many games are released with game-breaking bugs) but, from time to time, they can be symptomatic of larger problems at play – weapon mechanics that don’t work correctly or a downright muddled core gameplay experience (as we’ve heard is the case with Sony’s oft-pushed-back The Last Guardian).

Aliens Colonial Marines Smart Gun vs Bull Alien

However, whether or not gamers perceive the news as good or bad, in this case it sounds as though SEGA is, at the very least, attempting to spin the new release date as a sign that development is on track – rather than behind schedule. According to Gary Knight, Senior Vice President of Marketing for SEGA Europe and SEGA of America:

“We knew this game would be incredible from the moment Gearbox began developing Aliens: Colonial Marines. Now that the title is in its final stretch of development, we can confidently release the exact date that gamers will finally get to experience this blockbuster thrill-ride.”

Hopefully the added time provide Gearbox the space they need to deliver a truly engrossing Alien experience – a benchmark that was somewhat lost on the Senior Vice President for New Media for Fox Consumer Products, Gary Rosenfeld when he celebrated the “top-selling” Aliens vs. Predator game – which received a middle-of-the-road 3 star review here at Game Rant:

“SEGA has a proven track record with the ALIENS franchise. ALIENS vs. PREDATOR released by SEGA in 2009 became one of their top-selling titles. We look forward to working with them and bringing an exciting new way for fans to immerse themselves in the ALIENS world.”

Of course we weren’t alone in our criticisms, as Aliens vs. Predator was hardly a smashing success. That said, it’s hard to imagine Gearbox dropping the ball with Aliens: Colonial Marines – even if they are the same studio that was, ultimately, responsible for releasing Duke Nukem: Forever. Everything we’ve seen so far of Colonial Marines (as evidenced by the new trailer) has been extremely encouraging – and seems to hint at a very immersive, and cinematic, co-op adventure in the Aliens universe.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Aliens: Colonial Marines as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is now expected on February 12, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and later on the Wii U.