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Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

A satirical cartoonist might attach hilarious name badges to this image.

As Sega and Gearbox scrap over liability in the class action lawsuit from folks who bought Aliens: Colonial Marines and felt more than a mite deceived, it’s getting a bit messy. Sega have dug out a big bag of internal e-mails to establish who exactly is responsible for some of the misleading marketing, including the E3 2011 demo that looked better than the finished game. Naturally they’re saying Gearbox were complicit, and that at times Gearbox president Randy Pitchford was “doing whatever the fuck he likes”. Oof.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Sega blames Gearbox for misleading Aliens: Colonial Marines marketing in new legal filing">Aliens: Colonial Marines







The Aliens: Colonial Marines legal battle between Gearbox Software and Sega of America has become a little bit uglier, as Sega has filed documents claiming that not only was Gearbox an equal partner in the game's marketing, it sometimes took matters into its own hands and made promotional promises without the publisher's approval. The allegations directly contradict statements made by Gearbox in July, when it said that it was just a contractor on the game and had absolutely nothing to do with the game's marketing.



Gearbox made the claims as part of an effort to extricate itself from the class action suit over Aliens: Colonial Marines, brought over the vast differences between what was promised in "actual gameplay" demos at E3, and what was ultimately delivered. Its position is that it had no influence over the game's marketing and thus shouldn't be targeted by the suit at all; Sega, however, presented an entirely different perspective in a response filed on September 2.



Sega claims that Gearbox was an equal participant in the marketing campaign, and that while Sega had "absolute discretion" over marketing decisions, the contract between the two companies required that it consult with Gearbox on "all marketing activities along with sales pricing and forecasts," and "all other aspects of marketing, distribution and/or other such exploitation" of the property. Furthermore, the developer agreement stated that Sega and Gearbox would "jointly develop both a marketing strategy and a list of marketing assets," and listed Gearbox as the "sole creative directors" responsible for the majority of the Aliens: Colonial Marines marketing assets.



It seems that Sega at first intended to take advantage of Pitchford's high profile as a marketing tool, as a proposition document described him as a "respected development celebrity... guaranteed to be headline material in worldwide press coverage" and noted that Gearbox "must be given a certain amount of free reign to generate PR hits." But he had a habit of going off script, according to the filing, which culminated in an October 2012 conversation between Matt Eyre of Sega and Gearbox Marketing Vice President Steve Gibson, and ultimately a recommendation against using him for future promotions.



"I spoke face to face to Gibson about their persistent panel leaking," Eyre wrote in an internal email. "Effectively it's Randy doing whatever the fuck he likes. Apparently he did it twice on also, again, against all plans and despite the fact they asked him not to. I think our best result here is that we have no more panel sessions..."



The filing also specifically addresses the infamous demo that spurred the lawsuit in the first place. "The 2011 E3 demo plaintiffs complain about was created entirely by Gearbox, who then represented to Sega that 'the E3 demo is indeed the bar that we should use to determine where the game engine will be. That is Gearbox's plan and what they believe in'," the filing states. "Gearbox cannot simply disassociate itself from these statements and actions."



Sega agreed in August to settle the Colonial Marines lawsuit for $1.25 million but Gearbox refused to take part, leaving it exposed to future litigation. The studio is thus trying to have the settlement thrown out, but the Sega filing asks the court to reject Gearbox's opposition, noting that the studio was not "excluded from the settlement negotiations" but was in fact invited to participate and refused to do so.



The next hearing is scheduled for October 29.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Sega offers $1.25 million to settle Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit, but Gearbox fights on">23308WeAreSneaky_1280_lrg







The Aliens: Colonial Marines legal saga may be stumbling toward at least a partial conclusion, as Sega has tentatively agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the lawsuit against it. The publisher hasn't admitted to actually doing anything wrong, of course, but the expense of litigation and the uncertainty of the outcome has left both sides anxious to grab what they can and split without a fuss.



The terms of the agreement, dug up by Polygon, state that Sega will pay $1.25 million for a "full release of all claims related to Aliens: Colonial Marines." Of that money, $312,500 will cover the plaintiff's attorneys' fees, a maximum of $200,000 will go to KCC Class Action Services for administration fees, the actual plaintiff in the case will get $2500 and eligible members of the class that is, people who bought the game on or before February 12, 2013 and fill out a three-question claim form will divide up the rest, with payments to individuals not to exceed the purchase price of the game.



If approved, the settlement will extricate Sega from the lawsuit, but not Gearbox. The filing states that following a failed mediation session in January, the parties involved "later reached the principal terms of a compromise settlement agreement that would have resolved all claims against Sega and Gearbox in exchanged for the creation of a $2 million settlement fund with a partial reverter of $750,000." That agreement ran into trouble, however, when the court "expressed certain concerns with some of the terms," specifically regarding the "reversionary aspect" of the settlement, which would have allowed part of the money to go back to Sega or Gearbox if certain conditions were (or were not) met.



Following that, the plaintiff was able to negotiate the current settlement with Sega, which explicitly states that "no amount of the fund will revert" to it, but not with Gearbox. Thus, "litigation will continue as to that defendant with the prospect of further recovery." If any money is left over from the Sega settlement, it will be donated to the National Consumer Law Center and Consumers Union.



The lawsuit was filed in 2013 not because Aliens: Colonial Marines was so bad, but because the actual game did not live up to what was promised in pre-release promotional trailers. Unlike Sega, Gearbox appears more inclined to fight the suit rather than settle it: In July, it filed a motion seeking to be removed from the action, stating that it neither published nor sold the game and thus "never belonged in this lawsuit" in the first place.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Gearbox seeks removal from Aliens: Colonial Marines class action lawsuit">Aliens: Colonial Marines







Gearbox Software was slapped with a lawsuit last year over the hot mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, and specifically that the final product was a far cry from what was promised in "actual gameplay" demos displayed at E3. Gearbox quickly dismissed the action as "frivolous" but otherwise remained quiet on the matter until yesterday, when lawyers for the studio filed multiple motions seeking to have it removed from the action.



The crux of Gearbox's argument is that it made the game under contract, and that the publisher, Sega, called all the shots and was responsible for all the marketing. Thus, any legal action should be aimed at Sega and in fact, according to the claim, Sega asked Gearbox to keep quiet about the suit so it could handle the situation itself.



"Gearbox never belonged in this lawsuit. Gearbox is a videogame software developer. It was neither the publisher nor seller of the videogame at issue," the suit states, as reported by Polygon. "For more than a year, Gearbox has quietly abided the plaintiffs' claims so that Sega, the game's publisher and the party responsible for the game's marketing and sale, could assume the defense of this lawsuit. Gearbox has honored its publisher's request in spite of plaintiffs' highly-publicized-and highly-misplaced-claims against Gearbox. At this point, however, Gearbox is obligated to pursue its rightful departure from this case."



In a deposition filed separately, Gearbox Marketing Vice President Steve Gibson denied claims that Gearbox used a separate engine to create pre-release demos, saying Epic's Unreal Engine "was the only game engine Gearbox used in the design and development of the game." He also said that Gearbox lost a lot of money on the project.



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



Gearbox also filed motions to have the suit's class status removed, while attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a request to remove the original plaintiff, Damion Perrine, from the suit without prejudice or costs because he is currently incarcerated on an unrelated matter and thus "unable to continue his service as class representative."
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Aliens: Colonial Marines!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Thursday at 10AM Pacific Time
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

We sent Brendan to Creative Assembly to meet the star xenomorph of their new first-person survival horror, Alien: Isolation. While he was able to file yesterday’s extensive hands-on report from the field, he has not been seen since. But a crack team of RPS androids infiltrated the facility and recovered a sticky voice recorder with his name on it, containing an interview with Al Hope, Creative Lead on the project and Jon McKellan, Lead UI Art & Design. Here is a transcript of that interview, in which they discuss why this is true to Alien, who else players may encounter, how they think they can keep a single foe scary throughout, hiding in lockers for ten minutes and how and why Ripley’s daughter is the protagonist. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

We have all been burned by past Alien games and I would like us to maintain a healthy scepticism about Creative Assembly s recently unveiled Alien: Isolation, which I went to see and play just before the turn of the year. With this in mind, I believe it an obligation, before we begin discussing this new threat, to observe a moment of silence in which we can all remember the brave souls we lost to the Colonial Marines disaster.

*an eerie hush envelopes the world as billions of people solemnly mute Spotify>*

Thank you.

The good news is that, despite keeping that scepticism intact, my recent hands-on with Isolation has given me cause for hope. With luck (and no small amount of effort from the development team) we are a little closer to having an Alien game that actually captures the feel of the original movie. (more…)

Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 75% on Aliens: Colonial Marines!*


Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Michael Biehn: voicing Hicks in Aliens Colonial Marines “wasn’t fun at all”">biehn of my life







Aliens: Colonial Marines wasn't a fun game to play, it was no fun to make, and I wouldn't be surprised if the poor sales assistants stocking it all got nasty cuts from the box - like the tomb of Tutankhamun, anyone with any connection to it seems to have suffered in one way or another. And now we have another casualty: Michael 'Corporal Hicks/Kyle Reese' Biehn.



Not only was Biehn's character shoehorned into the game in the most ridiculous manner (although part of me is grateful the team invented a way to reverse Hicks' pointless death at the start of Alien 3), it seems lending his voice to the project just "wasn't fun at all".



As Biehn explained in an interview with Game Informer, Aliens: Colonial Marines "seemed kind of passionless. I think in movies, television, and the gaming world, you get some people that are really, really passionate, and some people that are just going through the paces. They think that because they have a brand name they’re going to get a hit game or hit movie out of it. That certainly was the situation on ."



By contrast, Biehn had a much better time providing the voice for hero Rex Banner Colt in Ubisoft's 80s sci-fi love letter Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.



" is such an interesting and creative presence. He has such energy and such passion," Biehn continued, conforming to at least seven Hollywood cliches. "One of the things that I really, really enjoy working still in this business is finding people that have that kind of passion."



If you want to hear more of Biehn not having a good time, Gearbox and friends recently released a single-player expansion to Colonial Marines called Stasis Interrupted, which as you may have guessed is the surprising sequel to Girl, Interrupted tells the story of what happened to poor old Hicks when he was supposedly being killed in that stasis pod.



Ta, Joystiq.
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