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Aliens: Colonial Marines Impressions

April 5, 2012

Ripley: “They cut the power.”
Hudson: “What do you mean, ‘They’ cut the power? How could they cut the power, man? They’re animals!”

First off, if you’ve never seen James Cameron’s masterpiece to the Alien franchise, you just might be living under a rock. Heck, my 9-year old daughter absolutely loved it after watching it a few weeks ago! I guess it’s just one of those “get to know what makes Dad tick” moments (wipes a tear from my eye). Anyways, there are so many video games which have been influenced by Cameron’s Aliens formula that the list seems endless. Needless to say, I have been amped for this game to come out ever since Gearbox was rumored to have been working on it before it was officially announced. Not only that, but Randy Pitchford’s Gearbox almost has this game tied up in a bow for this fall (delayed from initial spring release).

The Joystiq crew recently had the opportunity to play against the Gearbox team at multiplayer on the upcoming A:CM. The journalists played as the Colonial Marines while Gearbox played as the Xenomorphs (that’s right, I said it; I’m a geek about this franchise). After doing so, they returned to their office to write up two detailed articles covering the MP & SP demo. If you’re an Alien fan, you’ll be happy to know that this game is canonical (picks up right after the Aliens 3 movie). Do yourself a favor and head over to their site to give the articles a good read. Here’s the link for the SP demo & the one for MP.

BTW: I can’t wait for Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus!

  1. April 5, 2012 10:15 am

    I put Aliens on hold at the library. Will watch with the kids when it comes in. 🙂

  2. Herandar permalink
    April 6, 2012 5:04 am

    I always preferred the fourth film of the franchise. Jeunet et Caro.

    I’m a heretic, I know.

  3. 3Suns permalink*
    April 6, 2012 6:08 am

    “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

    Seminal science fiction.

    This is the first that I have heard of the VS MP mode, and it sounds like they are taking a pointer or two from Valve and L4D. This is extremely good news. The Autumn release date also makes it more “affordable”, and slips a “family pack” into the holiday budget!

    I find it unbelievably ironic that the article is entitled, “The acid-blooded devil is in the details for Aliens: Colonial Marines”. I consider that proof that the single most memorable characteristic of the Xenomorph is not the double mouth, or the ventilation ambulation, but the “acid-blood”. I am still hopeful that in their deep respect for the canon, Gearbox includes acid blood. I was thinking more about it today and it could so easily be done, like the poison in Garden in GoW, or the spitter or boomer juice in L4D. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just acknowledge that it exists, and that if the Marines move out of the area fast enough, they can survive. Force those Marines to protect a distance between them and the aliens, lest they get liquefied in the acid blood.

    /Surely Randy isn’t that crazy to brag about the careful placement of shirt pockets, or the smoothing of the apparent inconsistencies of Alien 3, and yet ignore the blood in his own work. I find the omission unimaginable (which gives me optimism). With the rest of the love they are lavishing, and the fact that they are also adding an asymmetric VS MP mode, the lack of acid-blood is no longer a deal-breaker, but it does make me want to walk up to Randy slap his face so hard it could be heard by everyone attending comic con, and then ask him what the eff he was thinking./

    Kenny, thanks for the heads-up on this! Great post! If Gearbox delivers, there is no reason to believe they would stop at one game (as Borderlands demonstrates), in which case, this could be just the beginning.

    I grew up on this SciFi.

    And yes to Prometheus. After Scott’s work on the Blade Runner Final Cut, I have every confidence that it is going to be fantastic.

    And here is new footage of the game via EvAv:

    Gametrailers has video interviews with Randy. (haven’t watched them yet)

    And producer

    And more here:

    • Blankman permalink*
      April 6, 2012 12:04 pm

      I agree that Gearbox seems to have taken a page from Valve/Turtle Rock’s Left4Dead versus play. For instance, the Warrior Alien drone acts like the Hunter & the newly-created Crusher Alien acts like the Charger. You’re spot on about the acid blood. That’s what made this Xenomorph so deadly in the first place. It’s a walking biological weapon alive or dead. If they’re so dedicated to get clothing details correct, they cannot omit the blood. Like you, I thought in the same line of thinking when I read the pants pocket positioning. LOL

      Randy & Co. seem to be placing a great deal of effort into the versus mode because that’s what will maintain the longevity factor for the game. I like that fact that you will be able to unlock upgrades to weapons that will translate to the SP. They gave an example with the flamethrower & Smart gun. The meta-RPG elements will drive gamers to keep playing to unlock those upgrades. I can see it now: unlocking sentry guns, upgrading grenade launcher capacity for the Pulse rifle, deadlier Alien tail strike damage, etc. Woot!

      I think that having the journalists only play as the Colonial Marines was a good idea because it is disorienting to play as the Aliens with their ability to climb on ceilings, walls, vents, etc. That is something that you have to get acclimated too. Even though Rebellion’s Aliens vs. Predator was a dud, there were some gameplay elements that they got right- Alien gameplay. While playing the demo, I can remember that it was disorienting to climb on the ceilings to wait for an ambush. If Gearbox had given the option to play as the Aliens to the journalists, the fear factor & excitement would have been subdued because of the learning curve involved. I really think that A:CM will be a gem otherwise I wouldn’t have been championing this game for over two years now.

    • 3Suns permalink*
      April 6, 2012 5:27 pm

      Watching the videos I am reminded of how incredible I thought Doom 3 was when it was first unveiled. The lighting was spectacular and of course, this will go way beyond where that went.

      I agree completely with you as regards their choices to not let the journos play as Xenos. Solid choice. It will have an incredible learning curve but will be very worth it.

      One would imagine that the Queen, if playable, will be the equivalent of a Tank! Yet, the setting is sufficiently different that it will still feel very fresh. L4D gameplay in the Alien Universe is one of the first things I “wished for” when we were informed that the game was back on track a couple of years ago. The various personalities from the movie shall be well represented in our motley crew, when we run as four Marines!

      “Suns, you take the left vent. Kenai and Grymm, go straight. I heard something over here, I just want to check it out. I’ll catch up right away!”

      Everyone dies! Bwahahahhahaha

    • Blankman permalink*
      April 6, 2012 5:46 pm

      But in space, no one will hear us scream. Bwahaha! Yes, the Queen will be equivalent to the Tank. The thing that makes the revisit to LV426 plausible is that Gearbox (with the blessing of 20th Century Fox) has explained that there was a huge network of tunnels on the planet. Thus, there are numerous hives. Even though the atmospheric processor exploded in Aliens, the game will delve into how the Aliens survived. I can see it now. The person in the rear of the team will have the motion tracker out while holding their sidearm (pistol) in their other hand. “I’m picking up movement, ladies! 10 meters and closing fast!” The distinctive radar plinging fills our audio. Then all Hell breaks loose! I. Can. Not. Wait!

  4. Blankman permalink*
    April 8, 2012 8:43 pm

    More info from PAX East! Alien acid blood is confirmed in MP, not sure about SP though. The Lurker alien (Giger-version) have a longer pounce move & more health than the Warrior alien does. The Crusher alien charges players into walls with its forward momentum. Hit the link for more details.

    • 3Suns permalink*
      April 8, 2012 10:36 pm

      GREAT news! And that link is loaded with info.

      One Dev mentioned that one of the Alien MP players got a double kill after he died because of his acid spray.

      That ’bout cinches it.

      Once the xenos went into the vents, the camera angle switches to first person.

      Which means, you get to navigate in third person with the exception of when you are in the vents. It will be much easier to use ceiling etc. than if it were always first person.

      They talk about TDM being the only confirmed game type, but the fact is, that it fits perfectly with the narrative. This is all we are talking about here, Survive. As for “objective” gametypes, they are a breeze to “create”: e.g., Stay alive until the drop ship gets you; Get from one building to the other, via the garden; Take medical supplies to other stranded marines; etc. etc. All very simple narratives (like that in L4D) but that is all one needs. The lighting, atmosphere, and setting do all the rest.

  5. Blankman permalink*
    April 8, 2012 11:50 pm

    There will be objective-based modes in MP, Suns! Randy decided to divulge them later because of more background/description associated with them. He confirmed this on their PAX panel which took place on Sunday. Get this, Gearbox has already read the Prometheus script because 20th Century Fox is serious about A:CM being canonical! Woot!

    • 3Suns permalink*
      April 9, 2012 4:05 pm

      Blasting out of my chair now!

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