News Article

Gearbox Attempts To Extract Itself From Aliens: Colonial Marines Class Action Lawsuit

Posted by Damien McFerran

States that Sega "vetted, approved and accepted" the critically-panned game

While many of us have all but forgotten the ill-fated Aliens: Colonial Marines — a title which was released to scathing reviews and would eventually be cancelled on Wii U — publisher Sega and developer Gearbox Software are still fighting a class action lawsuit brought about by two irate gamers attempting to seek damages for players who were misled by pre-release footage which apparently showed a superior version of the game.

Gearbox has now filed a motion to have itself removed from the legal proceedings. In the document — which was 30th July, 2014 — Gearbox vice president of marketing Steve Gibson states:

During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game; Gearbox's contributions to A:CM totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid. Gearbox never received money from Sega's A:CM purchasers, nor has Gearbox received a single royalty from any such sales by Sega.

Gibson goes on to explain that as a "for hire" company, the only cash Gearbox saw from Aliens: Colonial Marines were milestone payments from Sega, and these payments were agreed prior to launch. The developer has not received any subsequent payments based on the game's commercial performance, which was apparently not significant enough to ensure any bonuses:

Sega approved every milestone submission from Gearbox throughout A:CM's development. Gearbox eventually completed and delivered the software in accordance with Sega's specifications, which Sega vetted, approved and accepted.

Another claim that Gearbox is contesting is that the demo footage shown was based on a totally different game engine — according to the developer, Epic's Unreal Engine was used throughout the entire development process. You can watch the footage below and make up your own mind.

Gearbox also puts forward the notion that the lawsuit shouldn't be taking place anyway, primarily because it is impossible to know exactly how many buyers saw the demo and were therefore misled into purchasing the final game:

[The] plaintiffs' proposed class is impermissibly overbroad because it includes putative class members who were never exposed to, and who therefore never viewed, the allegedly misleading game demonstrations on which the class-wide claims are premised. [The] plaintiffs' net was cast too wide. Worse still, those customers who were satisfied by the video game would be swept into plaintiffs' proposed class.

In a final, farcical twist, the duo behind the lawsuit — Roger Damion Perrine and John Locke — have been reduced to just one, as Perrine has had to drop out of proceedings due to the fact that he is now in jail. Perrine's attorney explains:

Mr. Perrine expressed that he could not proceed as a class representative due to his legal troubles and his inability to stay in contact with his counsel due to his incarceration.

Neither Sega nor Gearbox has commented outside of the legal proceedings.

[via eurogamer.net, gameinformer.com]

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User Comments (51)

Maelstrom

#1

Maelstrom said:

"as Perrine has had to drop out of proceedings due to the fact that he is now in jail."
Why did this make me laugh so much?

VoodooTrumpet

#3

VoodooTrumpet said:

The lawsuit is rather farcical but good on those two chaps for trying to remind game developers that, despite what they may think, they're not wholly untouchable and are accountable to their consumers - all us gamers.

MikeLove

#4

MikeLove said:

Shouldn't this be posted on the PS or Xbox sister sites instead? This has absolutely nothing to do with Nintendo at all.

Gerbwmu

#5

Gerbwmu said:

The law suit is a joke and apparently this whole thing is shaping out to be a great made for TV movie......Maybe XBox should produce it..........

Spoony_Tech

#6

Spoony_Tech said:

As so we thought we heard the end of this. And here I thought they were going to show us another trailer telling us it's still the superior game and it's still on the way! ;)

Spoony_Tech

#7

Spoony_Tech said:

@Beetlejuice On the contrary it does. Its a long drawn out story as to why though. Long story short about 2 years ago the dev kept up talking the U version and it ended up being all smoke and mirrors.

XCWarrior

#9

XCWarrior said:

It's too bad there aren't some real people suing and not some poor gamer(s) who can't afford a good lawyer.

There should be some decision made that will not allow game companies to show CGI, non-real gameplay footage to try and get people hyped up. It's misleading and misrepresents what the real product is. AKA lying to the consumer. I doubt most judges can figure that out, but if one could... well we maybe stop seeing so many misleading trailers at E3.

Kaze_Memaryu

#14

Kaze_Memaryu said:

@XCWarrior I agree a lot with you. Enhanced material is intentionally misleading, and it happens more frequently every year.

At the very least, developers should be required to show a BIG disclaimer (for at least 10 seconds) that the shown material does not represent the actual graphical performance during gameplay - that would include trailers which entirely rely on fancy cutscenes (looking at you, Activision and Ubisoft!).

palatinus

#16

palatinus said:

@Kaze_Memaryu
This reminds me of when I would get NES games as a kid. After seeing the game and the manual pictures I would always be shocked at how the in-game graphics didn't live up to the artwork.

WaLzgiStaff

#17

WaLzgi said:

@Beetlejuice Actually there was a Wii U version of this game planned, but Sega scrapped it because of all this mess. So yes, I would consider it relevant (also, despite my shield I'm not a writer and won't speak for them. My views are my own)

FullbringIchigo

#18

FullbringIchigo said:

am I one of the few people who never realy had a problem with this game, it's a blast playing co-op with friends (of course that could just be because I am playing it with friends)

MAB

#19

MAB said:

Also any news about something to do with Sega on a Nintendo site is guaranteed to keep the 'U MAD' posts clicking over ;)

Untitled

Mercy_Lost

#20

Mercy_Lost said:

Conduit 2 felt unfinished and Conduit 1 was diabolical (still no info on 3ds),
Rome TW 2 got a 14th patch yesterday after a year of release,
Colonial marines was quite obviously rushed.
All these games have one thing in common, SEGA as their publisher,
SEGA, at least its western side, are very greedy and its starting to get old now!

sketchturner

#21

sketchturner said:

So stupid. I didn't sue Nintendo when Ocarina of Time ended up being significantly different from early released footage of "Zelda 64". What if I preferred the original look, feel, and settings of the game? Should I sue? Good grief. Preview footage is always understood as being a work in progress and the final product will be different. Those differences could be for better or for worse.

hypercoyote

#22

hypercoyote said:

The really sad part is this game was probably better than 80% of modern day Sonic the Hedgehog games.

SpookyMeths

#23

SpookyMeths said:

Alien: Isolation looks incredible, but alas, this monstrosity keeps my wallet sewn tightly shut. Definitely waiting for a lot of reviews and user feedback before plunging on any SEGA games.

WaLzgiStaff

#24

WaLzgi said:

@sketchturner Except this can actually fall under false advertising. From what I understand, there were some features advertised that were absent in the final build.

While I would call this pointless, it's supposed to dent the industry. If the gamers win, then the publishers and developers should be more careful about what they advertise. After reading about this mess, I actually consider that a good thing. Gearbox needs to be held accountable for making so many gamers and reviewers angry.

JusticeColde

#25

JusticeColde said:

Gearbox, the same people who try to hinder the Duke Nukem fanbase, are trying to leave Sega by itself in a lawsuit?

>mfw
Untitled

sketchturner

#26

sketchturner said:

@WaLzgi
If the game were a Kickstarter project, then I could understand the false advertisement argument. With crowd funding, promises are made in order to get your money, so those promises need to be honored. But with a normal retail release, gamers can check reviews before paying out a dime. Ultimately, Gearbox had to answer to Sega, not to gamers.
I believe in the natural consequences of putting out crap games and/or games that don't deliver on expectations... that game developer loses the confidence of the public. This is enough of a penalty on its own right.

midnafanboy

#28

midnafanboy said:

Who wouldn't want to sue gearbox and sega, for making and releasing that terrible aliens game they made.

LDXD

#29

LDXD said:

@sketchturner gamers can check reviews? Sorry but this didn't help me at all with ps3's skyrim it was unplayable for me an got 9-10s across the board

LDXD

#30

LDXD said:

@sketchturner the thing is the final product should be better if not better least the same in this case it was horrendously worse and from what I understood from a while back gearbox supposedly used the money given to them from Sega to fund BL 2 instead not sure if that's true or not though I haven't been following the story

Agent721

#31

Agent721 said:

Ridiculous lawsuit that has zero basis & that simply waste society's resources...AS IF they suffered damages so big, they needed to sue. This is like suing McDonald's because your cheese burger didn't look like the one in the ads.

Dogpigfish

#32

Dogpigfish said:

I agree that if this was false advertising then whoever showed the video should be liable. I'm not sure it should be the company, but rather the execs who knew it wasn't looking good and made the decision to air it. I watch all gameplay videos before I make a purchase and I believe most gamers do. If they are claiming that that they didn't try and target potential buyers with false previews, then that claim is absurd.

unrandomsam

#33

unrandomsam said:

@Desy64 I have noticed recently they just copy paste other peoples stuff and add loads more words without any meaning. (I thought it was the other sites ripping off this content but it doesn't seem to be the case).

Dave24

#35

Dave24 said:

"During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game"
WROOOOOONG! Even that scum Pitchford or whatever his name was said that they've taken the money from that to make Borderlands 2 and he was proud of it. Fraud and scam at it's finest.

hydeks

#36

hydeks said:

Yes, point the blame to SEGA for you guys making such poopydoodoocacapoopledoopley looking game.

Maybe SEGA did approve this game, but they where probably approving what the game was promised to look and be, you know, the good looking game they showed off before releasing a lack-luster version of the game.

@Dave24 yup, I remember him proudly saying that too

audiobrainiac

#37

audiobrainiac said:

I'm STILL sore about this. They teased me with one of my all-time favorite movie franchises. Even AFTER I heard how bad it was I was STILL willing to buy just to see for myself. I still wish SEGA would publish a great Alien game for the Wii U, or even the 3DS, though i'm sure that'll never happen. I loved the DS game from WayForward. The sad reality is, my Alien game dreams are now shattered, probably forever. Womp womp.

ecco6t9

#38

ecco6t9 said:

Two companies suing each other, meanwhile those that shelled out money(Retailers and Customers) are the ones that were screwed.

I

Desy64

#39

Desy64 said:

@unrandomsam Yep, it's a pitty...It's the same reason I abandoned Wiiudaily and Mynintendonews. As I normally say to my students, "say nothing if you have nothing to say"

Zombie_Barioth

#40

Zombie_Barioth said:

@sketchturner
Reviews would be all well and good if it wasn't well known that some places won't even bother to publish reviews that are "overly critical" of a game, and some companies are known for blacklisting honest reviewers for it. If SEGA or Gearbox didn't want people to know, they'd be able to hide the truth for at least a few days, which by then would already be too late.

The issue with Aliens: Colonial Marines isn't just some old pre-release footage, from what I understand very little of the game matched anything shown. Even the demo itself, the "try before you buy" method we all know, had little to do with the final version.

This sums it up the whole fiasco better than I can, and is far more entertaining than a wall-o-text to boot.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6832-A-LIE-ns-Colonial-Marines

Tasuki

#41

Tasuki said:

This lawsuit is ridiculous every gamer knows that a game can change alot during development. Heck I have seen games where levels that were shown off during the development stages never made it in the final version. Or how bout character designs? If this suit wins it will hurt the game industry as developers will then be afraid to show off development pictures and videos at events like E3.

Nictendo64

#42

Nictendo64 said:

Gearbox has always been a horrible developer. Even Borderlands is insanely boring after the first 20 min. I think more class action suits should take place. Developers are just becoming con artists now. It's not about quality, it's about how they can sell it.

MadAdam81

#43

MadAdam81 said:

You are not getting what they told you were getting - against the law and instant refund. Same with movies - if the trailer is very different to the movie and you were disappointed, you are entitled to a refund.
Advertising has to be truthful. If you buy a game at launch or see a movie the day it's released, you can't find a review, and word of mouth doesn't mean people can lie in advertising.

MadAdam81

#44

MadAdam81 said:

@Tasuki Sega had the finished product, knew it was bad but still marketed it as if it was even better than the demo.
Its hard to say it's Gearbox's fault, as they wouldn't have been responsible for the marketing. Sega could have easily changed marketing, but risked this fiasco by lying in advertising to try and get as many sales.as possible.
The funny thing is that if Sega had advertised it correctly and reduced the hype accordingly, people would have not felt cheated and less would have returned it and more would have bought it.

kenzo

#46

kenzo said:

Looks like life imitates art.

Real Life : Gearbox Attempts To Extract Itself From Aliens

Art Life: Ripley ease up, you'll overload the transaxle.

sketchturner

#48

sketchturner said:

@Zombie_Barioth
Thanks for sharing that video! That definitely does give me a new perspective on things. Of course, the world of marketing/advertising (which a demo falls under) is so frequently deceptive, it's difficult to say how much "overselling" a product is okay. But this certainly does seem to have crossed a line that I wasn't previously aware of.

whanvee

#50

whanvee said:

Gearbox shouldn't have outsourced this game. I think up until that demo they were making it. Once outsourced the new guys turned it to poop. If they would have given as much attention to this game as they do with borderlands they might be have been working on the sequel by now.

darthllama

#51

darthllama said:

Dumb lawsuit for some tools trying to get rich quick. Another go nowhere lawsuit. Those two "gamers" should be spending their time cleaning up their own lives and avoiding their own legitimate legal troubles.

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