Argentinian artist Ignacio Bazán Lazcano had us at “badass post-apocalyptic bikers,” but he ensured our permanent loyalty when he threw “Colonial Marines” and “steampunk robot cavalry” into the equation. His DeviantArt page is chock-full of all sorts of awesome stuff, but after stumbling across it, I was particularly drawn to three different projects of his. First up is “Rebel Bikes,” which imagines heavily armed motorcycles perfectly suited for crossed the heat-blasted wastes in search of gas and supplies. I love the sheer amount of detail he’s worked into these pics.
If you ask gamers what one of the biggest disappointments of the past year was, chances are several of them are going to mention Sega’s Aliens: Colonial Marines. Probably after punching a hole in a nearby wall. For decades, video games have been cribbing from James Cameron’s classic Aliens, and from the larger Alien mythology. But while there have been a few good Alien games over the years, we haven’t had an official spin-off that truly captured the frantic action, the claustrophobic fear and paranoia, of Cameron’s Alien sequel. Many a shout of joy went up, then, when Aliens: Colonial Marines was first announced. And many a cry of grief went up when the game arrived…and was bad. The victim of delays and behind-the-scenes production issues, Colonial Marines disappointed on virtually every front. And as it turns out, gamers weren’t the only ones left bitter about the experience. Aliens actor Michael Biehn, who returned to voice the character of Corporal Dwayne Hicks, called the experience “passionless.” Ouch.
On paper it sounded amazing. An in-canon sequel to Aliens, Colonial Marines would follow up directly on Cameron’s film and explore many of the locations from the films, casting players in the role of a squad of Marines sent to figure out what the hell happened to Hadley’s Hope and the last squad they sent to investigate. Early footage looked like the Aliens game fans had been waiting decades for. But when Biehn was called in to voice the role of Hicks, his first impressions were not good. Speaking to Game Informer, Biehn says the experience “wasn’t fun at all.” He continues:
Just like every time I buy a box of chocolates, I have certain expectations that I bring to the dark corner of the room in which I eat them. That expectation is that all of them will include chocolate and that they won’t look terrible and be difficult to eat. The trailers for the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines were pretty exciting, because they looked pretty fucking good at face value, mixing in the tension of Dead Space with that most winning of all sci-fi horror franchises.
But instead of challenging space’s sound capabilities with screams due to fear, they were due to frustration, as the terribly downgraded graphics and clunky gameplay plagued the game from the title screen forward. Probably. I didn’t make it that far, as my personal experience with the game was watching someone play, and even doing that was enough. So when Reddit user subpardave sent in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency, it wasn’t a surprise, but the fact that the only result of the complaint is a mere disclaimer being added to trailers is kind of ridiculous. Here are subpardave’s words for your eyes:
Of course, the game looked and played NOTHING like what was shown to consumers. My aim was not to get fines, compensation or any of that. Gearbox and Sega spoke very clearly – by saying absolutely nothing – and showed the purchasing community that they would rather this mess all quietly disappear. The games industry — like any other — needs to be held accountable for blatantly deceiving the consumer. And doubly so when a wall of silence is the only response to resounding criticism for shipping a shoddy product, having shown off one with all the bells and whistles.
The ASA has little real power. But negative press? That does.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Given how shamelessly games have been aping the look and feel of James Cameron’s Aliens over the years, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for something like Aliens: Colonial Marines to happen. That being: an in-canon game taking place after the events of Aliens, allowing players to explore many of the iconic locations from the films. Colonial Marines puts you in the body armor of Cpl. Christopher Winter, part of a squad tasked with investigating just what the hell happened to Ellen Ripley and company down on good old LV-426. I think we can all agree, this should go off without a hitch…
The story was written by Battlestar Galactica veterans Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, and the designers at Gearbox Software were given access to tons of material to help flesh out the corners of the Aliens world that was only hinted at in the films. You’ll get to explore the empty corridors of the Sulaco, and the creepy interior of the derelict Engineer ship where this mess all started in 1979’s Alien. Hell, they even got the chance to pick Ridley Scott’s brain about Prometheus, so there could well be some crossover surprises we haven’t heard about yet.
I’ve been dreaming of this game for years, and I desperately hope it doesn’t disappoint. If it all comes together, I look forward to several nights on my couch with the lights off, creeping through the colony on LV-426, listening to the beep of the motion tracker as something creeps ever closer through the vents. Game over, man. Game over…
We’re less than a month away from the release of Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines, and I’m more than a little excited. I should probably be moderating my expectations, but I can’t. The game is a direct sequel to Aliens, unfolds in several infamous locations from the films, and even uses many of the franchise’s unmistakable sound effects. The click of that motion tracker is wired directly into the fear response of anyone who has seen Aliens, so Colonial Marines promises to be a top-notch lights-off gaming experience. Of course, all of that could be moot if the game isn’t any good, but this latest TV spot isn’t doing anything to dampen my enthusiasm.
The Aliens universe seems like a natural setting for video games, having influenced or been outright ripped off by countless games over the years. And while there have been several tie-in games over the years, we have yet to get the really stellar Aliens game fanboys and gals have been waiting for ever since we watched Ellen Ripley climb inside a power loader and lay the smack down on the alien queen back in 1986. That may finally change with Aliens: Colonial Marines, which is headed our way this February. In case the game hasn’t been on your radar, here’s a new story trailer to change that. Is this gonna be a stand-up fight or another bug hunt?