Lawsuit Claims Gearbox And SEGA Falsely Advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines

Whilst SEGA has already admitted to showing versions of Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines that didn’t match up with the finished product, that’s not the end of the story.

Overnight both Gearbox and SEGA have become the defendants in a lawsuit that claims the game was falsely advertised, the claim mainly citing trade shows like E3 and PAX, the versions of the game shown at those shows and the difference between those and the final product.

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Randy Pitchford called the earlier demos “actual gameplay” – and whilst that might well have been true at the time, when the game was finally released it was visually poorer with sub-standard AI, something I picked up on in our review.

The suit also says that by embargoing reviews until the day of release the public couldn’t find out about the differences between the earlier demos and the final code.

This video from VideoGamer highlights the differences.

“Each of the ‘actual gameplay’ demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities,” says the claim.

“Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants never told anyone — consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters — that their ‘actual gameplay’ demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers.”

I have a couple of issues with the suit, which is detailed here. Firstly, trade show demos that don’t match up with final gameplay aren’t rare (hello, Killzone 2) and there was nothing to stop the public waiting a day or two for the reviews to surface.

Most pre-release videos clearly state that the version shown isn’t final, though.

Pre-ordering is something that has become every more important in the industry, but it’s rarely essential unless you really want those special editions (something the publishers are well aware of).

That said, I do agree that – from where I’m sitting – the game was marketed as being something it wasn’t. The end result wasn’t a patch on earlier demos, in my opinion.

Aliens was released in February on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Wii U version, long touted as the ‘superior’ version, quietly vanished.

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10 Comments

  1. This is a strange one. To me it smells of compromises to fit on a console, but then not releasing a vastly superior PC version was hugely disappointing

  2. i didn’t pre-order it because i people were suspicious before it came out that their were no reviews. but i bought it that tuesday cause my friends had pre-ordered to play and at the same time i wanted to give them (gearbox) the benefit of the doubt, i mean how bad could it be…..

    …..it was worst game i’ve ever played this gen. that may sound like an exaggeration, but i don’t buy shit games. =P

    personally idc about the aliens part of it, the cut scenes didn’t even make sense so don’t know wtf was going on in the story anyways. i’m just glad i was able to sell back to cex for £3 profit so i ain’t mad about it.

    it makes you kinda wanna think twice before you buy/pre-order a new game, but at the same time you have to try it yourself to know it is truly shite. like dead island got crap reviews, but everyone seems to be ok with it. i got riptide and that got crap reviews too but the game is what i expected it to be from day one – same game but improved, so me and my friends are enjoying it so far.

  3. I think someone needs to make a stand at some point and it might as well be now, the final product was nothing like what we were promised and embargos are just getting stupid now.

  4. Serves them right. Incredibly deceptive.

  5. I don’t know why Sega are the defendants, it was Gearbox that made the game?

  6. I don’t know about this, I don’t think this is right really. But if Sega/Gearbox lose I can see people wanting to do the same thing against 2K and Irrational for Bioshock Infinite, not that I didn’t like the game, I loved it but it was very different to the demos of it before as everyone knows.

  7. Haven’t the fast food chains been doing this sort of thing for the last 50-60 years? Promotional material that shows the product in a far better light than the consumer will ever receive?

    Embargos are ridiculous though.

  8. My quick algorithm to spot a likely dodgy game…

    Devlopment time > 4 years = Oooh, raise eyebrows
    Game details go very quiet during dev period = Look to up and to right
    More than one Developer = Grimace
    Review embargo until day of release = Don’t click ‘preorder now’

    All of the above = Look elsewhere, this is going to be a pile of poop.

  9. I’d like a full refund!
    Although Eldur is spot on with food. I still remember the hateful tweets towards Gearbox all day.

  10. Agree with this. Perhaps if they’de even had disclaimers I’d think the opposite but no, everything was geared towards deception (demos shown as reflexive of the final product, review embargo etc). They actively tried to mislead people, there was nothing to indicate what they were showing wasn’t reflective of the final product.
    Perhaps of they’de spent less time making fancy press versions for conventions (handily sans a “Not indicative of final product” disclaimer) and more time actually making the game then the game would have been better?

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