Some games are often forgotten merely because we, the gamers, stop talking about them. It would be nice for the publisher or developer to throw us a bone once in a while to remind us that their game is still breathing, however.
In one instance, it appears that Sega West have finally heard our pleas, with Executive Vice President Alan Pritchard recently confirming to GameInformer that long lost Aliens: Colonial Marines hasn’t succumbed to a xenomorph and is coming along quite nicely over at Gearbox, with more details soon.
With the studio hard at work making the impossible possible, however, don’t be surprised if the constant wait for a new bug-hunt lasts a little longer. In fact, considering Pritchard has stated: “It won’t be November 11th. We haven’t announced a date yet,” Aliens: Colonial Marines might become yet another one of our illustrious Top 100 to slip into a future Games of 2012 feature.
The title’s development has been sketchy from the beginning. With Sega publishing three Aliens games at one point, there was even talk that Colonial Marines would join Obsidian’s unnamed Aliens RPG on the cancellation scrapheap. Thankfully, Sega continued on with its production, seeing the lacklustre Aliens Vs. Predator from Rebellion as a “success” and a key milestone on what they describe as an “Aliens road-map.” Could Colonial Marines be that goddamn beacon on this road-map? We think it could be.
Colonial Marines takes one of the purest concepts of the Aliens universe – that of the marine squad – and throws the player into its collaborative mechanics. Dispatched to the Sulaco and LV-426 in search of Ripley (post Alien 3 timeline), the player controls one of four specialist marines at any one time. When not controlling the others, the game’s AI takes over, with the player able to issue contextual commands to his or her team. Two-player offline co-op has been confirmed (via splitscreen) while a full four-player online co-op mode will also be on offer.
There’s a real possibility that Aliens: Colonial Marines’ relatively high placement on this list (lofty considering we’ve seen next to nothing of it) is due to TSA’s dogged reluctance to let a great concept die. Of all the squad-based space-marine scenarios that have come and gone, the Aliens universe is one that we still genuinely believe could be a stellar, and definitely nerve-shredding, experience. Gearbox are also not messing about, having enlisted the original concept artist on James Cameron’s Aliens, Syd Mead, to design the parts of the Sulaco and LV-426 we don’t see in the movie but are available to players in the game as they run around trying to save juicy colonists’ daughters. All the while doing their best not to have their own faces hugged off, of course.
We have high hopes for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Almost the gaming equivalent to fables of perseverance and self-belief, this “Little FPS That Could” is primed for success at the end of 2011. If it makes that release window.