Aliens: Colonial Marines is a title that has rapidly moved from being a hyped blockbuster release to a poorly received disappointment. That hasn't necessarily damaged sales excessively — it went to number one in the UK charts — but it has nevertheless had a lot of negative press and gamer reaction.
Aside from rumours that Gearbox played a secondary role in development — which has been denied — and that the Wii U version could be the worst of all platforms, it's now emerging that Gearbox may have deceived publisher SEGA during the title's lengthy development and committed resources to other high-profile projects.
A developer from the game's early days, speaking to Destructoid on condition of anonymity, has spoken about how the team became smaller as resources were redirected, that SEGA did pull the plug temporarily in the past and that, apparently, Gearbox management may have deceived the publisher about the size of the team and development effort.
Gearbox was taking people off the project to put them on Borderlands 1. This was before the big art style change happened on Borderlands. Our team was getting smaller by the month, making it very difficult to get the game made. Ironically several of the team members were ex-3D Realms people who were saying [paraphrasing] 'Finally, we're going to Gearbox to make Aliens, and we're going to ship a f***ing game!' Hah.
At some point in 2008, SEGA temporarily pulled the plug on the game. They caught wind of Gearbox shifting resources (despite still collecting milestone checks as if the team were full size) and lying to SEGA AND 2K about the number of people working on each project. This led to the round of layoffs at Gearbox in late 2008.
The same source says that those still on the project in early 2012 were expecting further delays, so were likely to be surprised when the release date was kept. As quotes from an anonymous source — even thought it's speaking to a website rather than randomly appearing on a forum — we have to take these comments with a pinch of salt, but clearly this title has had a peculiar and messy road to release.
Of course, it's still coming to Wii U soon, so let us know your thoughts on this latest round of rumours and whether this is a game you're still interested in playing on Nintendo's system.