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Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Welp, seems that time’s up for TimeGate. After the Section 8 and Aliens: Colonial Marines campaign dev filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, reports recently surfaced that the entire operation’s now kaput. I did a little digging of my own, and sources very close to the company confirmed the reports to RPS without hesitation. Details are still fairly scant at the moment, but you’ll find a few after the break.

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Colonial Marines devs TimeGate Studios reportedly laying off all staff">aliens patch







Last week, we heard that Aliens: Colonial Marines co-developers TimeGate had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following poor reception of the game and a false advertising lawsuit. As of today, Kotaku reports that its sources are saying the studio's staff has been laid off.



The reason for the closure may have to do with an attempt by Colonial Marines publisher SouthPeak to force a liquidation of the studio in arbitration. We have no official word yet on whether this is the case, but we are continuing to follow the story as more details become available. TimeGate, founded in 1998, was probably best known prior to Colonial Marines for the sci-fi FPS Section 8.



TimeGate was known to be working on a new, free-to-play project called Minimum, which was scheduled to enter a closed alpha last month. The fate of the project is unknown, but a total liquidation of the studio would seem to leave little chance of its eventual release.
Product Release - Valve
Aliens: Colonial Marines - Reconnaissance Pack, all new content for Aliens: Colonial Marines is Now Available on Steam.

Battle it out against other players across 4 all new maps in the 'Aliens: Colonial Marines - Reconnaissance Pack' and instill fear into enemy marines with horrifying new xeno customisation content. Users that have purchased the Aliens: Colonial Marines Season Pass receive this content automatically and do not need to purchase it separately

Product Update - Valve
v1.2.0 Update (May 6, 2013)

• Added compatibility for “Reconnaissance Pack” multiplayer add-on.
• Various visual improvements, including new screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO) functionality.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Despite what its name might imply, bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean death. Not for businesses, anyway. But yeesh, Aliens: Colonial Marines co-developer and Section 8 mastermind TimeGate has some far more frightening numbers to deal with than the looming specter of Chapter 11. The short version? The developer’s total liabilities (i.e. the amount they owe various creditors) fall in the $10 to $50 million bracket, presumably including $7.35 million stemming from a fraud suit by Section 8 publisher Southpeak. Things are not looking pretty, to put it lightly.

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Gearbox writes off Aliens false advertising lawsuit as “frivolous litigation”">Aliens Colonial Marines







In the face of false advertising claims, both Gearbox and SEGA are keeping their cool. Following news earlier this week that a Californian law firm will file a class action lawsuit claiming the companies falsely advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines, both have written off the claims as without merit. In statements provided to Kotaku, both companies shrug the claims off, with varying degrees of flippancy.



"SEGA cannot comment on specifics of ongoing litigation, but we are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously," a SEGA spokesperson said. Meanwhile, Gearbox worded their response more severely. "Attempting to wring a class action lawsuit out of a demonstration is beyond meritless. We continue to support the game, and will defend the rights of entertainers to share their works-in-progress without fear of frivolous litigation."



As reported, the suit is claiming damages for those who purchased the game both on its release date and as a pre-order, on the grounds that those consumers were mislead by early demo footage. SEGA even acknowledged early last month that the early trailers "did not accurately reflect the final content of the game," and that they will mark early footage as works-in-progress going forward.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Gearbox and Sega to defend against claims of Aliens: Colonial Marines false advertising">Aliens: Colonial Marines







All manner of outrage followed the launch of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Not only was the finished product pretty average, but it paled in comparison to early demo footage. Many felt they'd been rorted. That sentiment will be tested in a court of law soon, because Californian law firm Edelson LLC yesterday filed a suit on behalf of one Damion Perrine, claiming that demos of the game at events including PAX and E3 were not indicative of the final product.



The issue seems to center around press embargoes, interestingly enough: the suit insinuates that these restrictions prevented customers from assessing whether the game was worth their money in due time. "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," the suit reads . The embargo for Aliens: Colonial Marines lifted on the morning of the game's launch.



The suit is claiming damages for those who purchased the game both on its release date and as a pre-order. It also draws attention to a Tweet from Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, who Tweeted after the game's launch that the complaints were "understood and fair". It'll be interesting to see how this saga ends, and what ramifications - if any - it will have on the way publishers handle pre-release demo footage.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

yeaaaah pew pew boom kthoom whirrrrrrrrrrrsplat

Oh, TimeGate. Still>-unconfirmed (or denied) rumblings have linked you to a rather sizable portion of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ acid-puking awfulness, so there’s your legacy for now. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that the recently reviled studio’s proven reliably inoffensive in the past, producing middle-of-the-road manshoots like Section 8 and a few FEAR expansions. So it’s with a slightly less mountainous mound of trepidation than expected that I bring you word of Minimum, TimeGate’s new free-to-play shooter/slasher/watch two Greek-mythology-inspired titans go all Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots on each other-er. Promisingly, its inspirations seem to run the gamut from Quake’s speed to Unreal’s arcadiness to Minecraft’s adaptability, but obviously, snapping all those puzzle pieces into a coherent whole is another matter entirely. I must say, though, the achy, breaky, blocky trailer after the break has me sort of intrigued.

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Product Update - Valve
4/9/2013 Update

• Added toggle for film grain filter.
• Increased security to address cheats and exploits.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Aliens: Colonial Marines trailers get disclaimer after objections they don’t reflect the quality of the final game">aliens patch







In response to an investigation from the UK's Advertising Standards Agency, Sega Europe have acknowledged a consumer complaint that the promotional trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines didn't match the final quality of the game. Reddit user subpardave submitted the complaint to the ASA in response to what he calls the "absurd" difference between in-game quality and the earlier, better looking, demo footage.



"We contacted Sega Europe to discuss the issue," the ASA wrote, in response to the complaint. "They explained that their online trailers used demo footage, created using the in-game engine. Sega Europe understood the objections raised about the quality of the game in relation to the trailers, but explained that they weren't aware of these issues when the trailers were produced, in some cases several months before release.



"Sega Europe acknowledged your objection that the trailers did not accurately reflect the final content of the game. They agreed to add a disclaimer, both on their website and in all relevant YouTube videos, which explains that the trailers depict footage of the demo versions of the game."



It's hard to tell in the light of dry official documentation, but my reading of that above paragraph is that Sega have acknowledged the objection exists, and not necessarily the contents of it and arguments behind it. If so, it's an ultimately meaningless sentence. I can acknowledge that there's a cup of tea on my desk - because there is - but that doesn't address the underlying problems of that cup of tea: namely that I've run out of sugar.



The added disclaimer, now present on the game's website and YouTube trailers, simply states: "The trailer footage shown uses the in-game engine, and represents a work in progress." Of course, from that statement, you'd assume the final product was an improvement. But it's not like there hasn't been warning to the contrary.
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