Aliens: Colonial Marines SDCC 2012 Impressions
“Acid blood damage is present in both campaign and multiplayer.
As the game is still being developed, the specific details are still being tuned so we don’t have anything more to share about how the mechanic works at this time, but it’s definitely there.“
Sega and Gearbox meant business when they had Syd Mead, the conceptual artist for Aliens, show up at their booth to sign exclusive lithographs of the USS Sulaco. Also, in the hotel lobby was the original 12-foot tall Alien Queen used in the Aliens film. After waiting in line for over an hour to meet & greet Mr. Mead, I had a very long hands-on opportunity with the A:CM multiplayer. While the Gearbox staff manned the xenomorphs (aliens), the convention gamers manned the Colonial Marines. Needless to say, the gameplay was filled with tension, fear, and visceral action. The aliens were coming out of vents, crashing through glass windows, ceiling and floor grates, etc. Gamers that were talking crap were ultimately tag teamed by the Gearbox staff and the results often ended with decapitations of heads and limbs or impalement from spiked tails.
The MP gameplay is extremely polished with the engine’s use of lighting and shadows. I commended the MP designers that were at hand on their decision to keep the aliens’ perspective in third-person because players would eventually sucuumb to vertigo if it was in first-person. One of the female MP level designers commented that it was a decision born from one of the failures of Rebellion’s most recent Aliens vs. Predator game. Players felt disoriented anytime they would climb on a wall or the ceiling, so they wanted to correct that in Gearbox’s iteration of the Aliens franchise. Gearbox confirmed that there will not be female MP characters due to the skeletal programming and animations that would have to be reprogrammed because they are simply not skin meshes. Although there are strong female characters represented in the campaign, they would not be making their way into the MP gameplay. I cited the difficulties that Epic’s Gears of War 3 had with the introduction of female MP characters due to the smaller hit boxes. Gearbox was well aware of the on-going petition that’s been circulating the Web, but they said that the memory requirements and additional work that would have to be employed would better be spent on polishing the gameplay and features. In a sense, it is what it is. I asked if smaller creatures such as facehuggers and chestbursters would be playable in the MP, and they confirmed that anything smaller than humanoid-form would not be available. I expressed that the decision to forego that option was a missed opportunity. Another aspect that I got them to confirm was that the alien’s acidic blood would indeed affect the marines. There are cringe animations when they come in contact with the blood and damage would result from it. However, the acidic blood would not affect players in the campaign because it proved too frustrating and took a lot of the ‘fun factor’ from the game when “seven dead aliens would bottleneck players & kill them.” Although it’s hard to hear, it does make sense. The only aliens that were playable were the warrior drones and Crusher alien. After three consecutive kills, players would have the opportunity to evolve into the Crusher alien. However, the Crusher alien-form would be on a thirty second timer because it is so devastating. The Gearbox staff looked at the successes of the Left4Dead special infected characters for inspiration when providing a repertoire of lethal options for their aliens. As an alien, you could keep track of your teammates due to their persistent glow that appears anywhere in the map. Finally, they wouldn’t confirm how long the campaign would be, but they did say that a lot of DLC is planned in the form of MP maps & the such.
I could not get over how polished the game looks thus far, and I cannot imagine what the final product will be when it releases eight months from now. This game is the real deal even for those that aren’t familiar with the Alien franchise. I will be continuously quoting lines from the Aliens film as I game with the usual suspects of this site. LOL