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.
And here is the ASA’s official response:
You’d think “in all relevant YouTube videos” would be the phrase that ended all arguments, but of course it isn’t. It’s bad enough when games without a built-in fan base do this sort of thing, but for an Alien product, it’s face-huggingly depressing.
Check out VideoGamer’s videos with the game demo last year, as compared to the trailer, and here’s a toothpick to get all those extra pixels out of your teeth.