Imagine that an all-knowing time traveller landed in 1986 in order to whisper the mysteries of 2013 to the startled mid-80s masses. Flying cars, powerful cell phones… a videogame sequel to Aliens? Now, 27 years after the theatrical release of James Cameron’s blockbuster, Gearbox Software is making the dream come true on PS3 this February 12th.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is the sequel to Aliens that we always wanted but never got. You are a Colonial Marine sent to LV-426 to find out what happened to Ellen Ripley. If you’ve seen Aliens, you know that things with Ripley didn’t turn out so well, and you, with no idea what to expect, will find yourself entering hell, somewhere far, far away from planet Earth.
In 1986, James Cameron’s Aliens hit theaters, instantly becoming one of the most iconic science fiction movies in cinematic history. This movie was a huge success and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The film that had so many great elements to it: blistering action, Marine camaraderie, creeping tension, and of course, the xenomorphs.
When people ask me what it is like working on a game based on Aliens, a game that is the actual sequel to the movie Aliens, it is tough to put the experience into words. First of all, “passion” is a key word in the development of this game. The team at Gearbox is very passionate not only about Aliens but storytelling and the game experience. It is so important to all of us to do this game right — the Aliens franchise deserves an awesome video game. Another key word is “intimidating,” because Aliens is a revered franchise with fans all over the world. I have been lucky enough to show Aliens: Colonial Marines to fans at PAX, E3, Gamescom, Igromir and more. And I have found that people all around the world, people of all ages, love Aliens. When fans see our demo they tell me that it’s looking great…but then warn us not to “mess it up.”
If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the recent Prometheus trailers (spoilers!) over and over, pausing only to wipe the frothy spittle off your chin. If you’re really like me, you’ve also been wondering, “what’s it gonna take for some talented studio to create a killer game based on the Alien films?” Luckily, Gearbox Software is building an increasingly compelling case with Aliens: Colonial Marines, an upcoming big-budget PS3 shooter that aims to pick up where James Cameron’s seminal 1986 film Aliens left off.
While we know a good bit about the game’s tense single-player campaign, details about its multiplayer component have remained frustratingly elusive. So we took to Twitter and posed @PlayStation followers a simple question — what do you want to know about the multiplayer mode in Aliens: Colonial Marines?
The Alien films have always held enormous power over me, occupying the same sphere of significance that Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings do for many others. So it’s been with great interest and no small amount of hope that I’ve watched the development saga of Aliens: Colonial Marines. This Gearbox Software-developed first-person shooter promises to pick up where James Cameron’s 1986 classic Aliens left off — an irresistible premise for any diehard fan of the series. A recent trailer (watch it below) presented a convincing succession of sound and images, yet carried the sadface news of a new fall 2012 release date. What’s an impatient Alien fan to do?
Well, I went to Randy Pitchford to get some answers. The gregarious CEO of Gearbox Software was all too happy to share new insights into the studio’s plans for Aliens: Colonial Marines, including multiplayer concepts, the control scheme, play style…and, perhaps most tantalizing, what he knows about the upcoming Ridley Scott-directed origin tale Prometheus.
I checked out Aliens: Colonial Marines when I popped over to the SEGA gamescom booth to say hi to a friend and, within minutes, it became one my highlights of the show. I’m not as familiar with the Aliens films as many – I remember seeing one of them on TV as a child and not sleeping well for a few days – but judging it purely as a shooter, it is looking very impressive.
The level shown was a beautifully lit labyrinth of corridors on-board a craft sent to investigate LV-426, 11 months after Ripley escaped in Aliend. The most memorable aspect for me was the animation of the Xenomorphs and my skin is crawling as I type just thinking about them. This added to the level design, which always leaves you feeling exposed as creatures pour from every angle and air vent, produces an unnerving shooter that piles on the tension.
During E3 2011, I entered a gloomy room and found myself before Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford. He was there to show off Aliens: Colonial Marines, the upcoming first-person shooter that’s scheduled to hit the PS3 in 2012. When you hear a developer talk about his game with the passion Pitchford demonstrated, you know the studio is on the right track. Gearbox Software is packed with fans of the Aliens films; seeing the game in action, it shows.
The demo starts with the crash of the U.S.S. Sulaco, the high-tech marine vessel from the second film. You wake up to find yourself in a nightmare, surrounded by xenomorphs with no idea about what is happening. But you’re not alone — you’ll have a group of highly trained marines at your side wielding state-of-the-art military technology, from the iconic pulse rifle and flamethrower to the pulverizing smart gun.