In a perhaps unsurprising move for our litigation-happy society, a disgruntled owner of Aliens: Colonial Marines has joined forces with a lawyer to start a class-action lawsuit against Gearbox and Sega. According to the article over at Polygon, his argument is that “Gearbox and Sega falsely advertised Aliens by showing demos at trade shows like PAX and E3 which didn’t end up being accurate representations of the final product”. Combine that with a review embargo that didn’t lift until the game was released, and anyone who preordered the game or purchased it before reviews were released got burned by what was universally rated a hugely inferior game.
Now, a $60 game purchase hardly seems worth clogging up our legal system with yet another lawsuit, but I do see the logic behind the complaint. Extensive game previews far in advance of the release are standard practice in the industry, as are pre-rendered cinematic trailers that avoid showing any gameplay. Even though the film industry has a reputation for spoiling nearly everything in its trailers, I’d argue that the games industry goes much further and tends to release an even bigger barrage of promotional materials far in advance of game releases. However, what does it mean if we can’t even trust their spoilers? I have a feeling that this isn’t the first time the industry has pulled a bait-and-switch on consumers with faked game footage or exciting cinematic trailers that fail to capture the actual game. Dead Island’s buzz-worthy cinematic trailer comes to mind.
Can you think of any other examples of a major bait-and-switch where a game was hugely different from its previews? Have you ever been burned by a demo or trailer that made a game seem more exciting than the reality? I’m wondering how long it’ll take before we hear about a SimCity class-action lawsuit…
Games with a twisted lineage seems to be Gearbox’s forte. After resurrecting the poorly received Duke Nukem Forever, the studio turned its sights back on Aliens: Colonial Marines, which had been continually delayed since its announcement six years ago.
With rumors of multiple studios involved and pre-release demos that couldn’t possibly represent the real game, is Aliens: Colonial Marines the “true sequel” we were promised, or is it worse than Aliens vs Predator: Requiem?
Editor’s note: Images contained within this review do not accurately represent Aliens: Colonial Marine’s actual graphical style. Look to our forthcoming video review to see what A:CM looks like in action.Continue reading Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines
It’s “What We’re Playing Monday!” By now you’ve probably read all about the absolute cluster-eff that is Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox’s six-years in the making supposed love letter to the Aliens franchise. What it is when its at home is actually a bland, buggy mess, more akin a budget shooter from earlier in the generation with xenomorphs tossed in.
Picking up sometime after the events of Aliens, Colonial Marines scatters any notion of canon to the wind, with several characters literally hand-waving away plot points in an attempt to get you back to killing xenos without much thought. Characters who are dead come back for no reason, and the mere presence of the Sulaco above LV-426 is enough to get even the most casual Aliens fan’s blood boiling. Continue reading It’s Game Over, Man, For Aliens: Colonial Marines
Considering I’ve beaten Borderlands 2 twice and conquered the end-game raid boss known as Terramorphous, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m hungry for some Borderlands 2 DLC. Gearbox, who apparently know their target audience better than I thought, were happy to oblige with Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, a DLC adventure that takes you to the Wurmwater Flats in search of Captain Blade’s lost treasure.
Once you hit level 15 in the main game, you can take a trip out to the town of Oasis where you’ll meet your new BFF, Shade. As you might be able to tell from the title, Pirate’s Booty is, well, pirate themed, and as such you’ll be running across all sorts of re-skinned bandits and a few unique enemy types like the Anchorman and the Cursed Pirate. While the desert setting is bereft of water, the new Sandskiff will carry you ably across the sands, provided you don’t slam it into too many sandworms.
While it is fun to get back to Pandora, Pirate’s Booty is kind of lacking in payoff, although is does shine through with the classic Borderlands humor in some parts. Shade is hilariously creepy and this DLC contains two of my favorite new quest-givers, one of whom gives you a great quest riffing on DRM, “Don’t Copy that Floppy”. Unfortunately, Captain Scarlett herself is a lackluster villain, joking the entire time about how she’ll betray you, so it comes as no big surprise when she finally does. You can see the end of the DLC coming a mile off, so the feeling of running back and forth for little to no reason is more prevalent during these quests. To be fair, Handsome Jack set a high standard for villainy, but Captain Scarlett doesn’t even come close to hitting that mark.
If you’ve been hankering for more Borderlands 2 like I have, then Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty will be right up your alley. It’s a good jumping off point for Borderlands 2’s season pass, and it adds even more Badass Ranks to obtain. There’s another high-end raid boss that seems to address the ways players were able to beat Terramorphous and a brand new currency called Seraph crystals (which, to be honest, I didn’t see once during my playthrough).
Has anyone else played Pirate’s Booty? What did you think of it? Was this a good first installment for Borderlands 2 DLC?
Guys, we are getting actual news™ out of San Deigo Comic Con, and I am so excited. I thought that we were going to be dead in the water until September, but I’m glad to have been proven wrong.
If any of you played the original Borderlands, then you may remember the challenges the game presented you with as little notifications that popped up and then quickly went away. It was a small distraction, but most of us probably never paid attention to them beacause they weren’t that well integrated. Borderlands 2 looks to change that with Badass Ranks, which will incentivize players to complete challenges by giving them new ways to beef up their stats.
For every Badass Rank you’ll get tokens, and those tokens can be used to improve your character in various ways. The best part is, improvements gained from the ranks carry over your account, meaning that if you give one character +10% to health regeneration or something, every subsequent character you create will have that ability. It’s a great way to promote replaying the game without feeling like you’re starting from square one every time. Of course, purists can turn off both Badass ranks and the buffs if they so desire. Badass Ranks sound like an awesome addition, but that’s not all. Continue reading Borderlands 2 Will Judge How Badass You Actually Are
If you’re like me and you played the original Borderlands on the PC then you were probably disappointed by how much the game reeked of “console-itis”. The signs of a hasty port were everywhere and the game suffered for it. With a new Borderlands on the horizon, Gearbox decided to kick their PC support into overdrive and threw up a love-letter from everybody’s favorite (sarcasm) robot Claptrap, listing the features that will be in the PC version of Borderlands 2.
While this is a very nice gesture on behalf of Gearbox (and I hope they carry all this over to their other release this year, Aliens: Colonial Marines) it just strikes me as how odd it is that features that should be included on the PC SKUs of games like FOV sliders and offline LAN support are now considered to be extras by the developers. If anything demonstrates how far down the chain PC gaming is in terms of priority these days, it’s this.
Sure, a lot of the items on the list are things that PC gamers take for granted, but we just don’t get that kind of support these days. Usually these things are added in by mods, so at least Gearbox is taking the time to add that to the game.
What do you guys think of Borderland 2’s promised PC version? Does it get your engine running? What do you think of these features now being considered “bonuses” of a kind? Go!
Guess Valve didn’t get around to checking out the report that states the PS3 is experiencing a surge in popularity because Left 4 Dead 2 Lead Writer Chet Faliszek, in a recent interview with CVG has come out publicly to state that Valve views the 360’s online capabilities as “head-and-shoulders” over the PS3’s. In the same sentence, he also puts Microsoft’s console on equal footing with the PC, thus pissing off the Valve’ most fervent supporters at the same time.
Valve doesn’t really strike me as the muck-raking kind, but this statement has set off all kinds negative backlash from not only the Sony Defence Force, but also from Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. Mr. Pitchford has in the past stated that he views the Steam platform as a less-than-ideal way for small developers to get their games onto the market, and now he’s got something to say about Valve’s posturing towards the PS3.
In a recent interview with Official Playstation Magazine, Randy equated Valve’s attitude to be comparable with that of fanboys, implying that they’ve become “X-bots”. Randy also thinks that the PS3 version of the Orange Box being handled by another company, and Valve viewing it as the “step-child” just speaks of “underlying sleaziness.”
The catapults have been loaded and fired by Gearbox, so it just remains to be seen if someone from inside Valve has anything to say about this. Frankly, I think that Valve’s comments are a bit out of line, but the venerable company clearly has some issues with Sony’s black monolith. This little game of back-and-forth could go on for a while, and it’s pretty ironic considering that Borderlands topped the Steam sales charts for a while.
What do you guys think, though? Is Valve just trolling, and is Gearbox just trying to catch them riding dirty? Can’t the developers just play along nicely?
Shooter fans have been used to a very ridged structure in their games so far: you progress through levels, you shoot stuff, you move on. Sometimes you pick up different guns, but mostly it’s an aesthetic change than an actual improvement on your previous weapon, barring the rifle-bazooka trade-up.
What first person shooters haven’t had is the in-depth levelling and obsessive-compulsive stat manipulation of traditional RPGs. Enter Borderlands, a first person role-playing shooter from Gearbox, best known for the PC port of Halo and the Brothers in Arms series. Set upon the dismal dust-ball of Pandora, Borderlands has the player choose one of four classes (Solider, Hunter, Tank or Siren) and starts them off on an adventure to find and open a mythical Vault full of alien weaponry. Continue reading Review: Borderlands
OK, I’ll be the first to admit that we’re probably getting pretty close to the Borderlands saturation point around here, but this story was too good to pass up. Three weeks ago, Borderland’s Creative Director Mikey Neumann promised that he would play the post-apocalyptic Role-Playing-Shooter with you and drop some rare loot if you could provide a picture of yourself pre-ordering the game via Twitter. It turns out that this little boast kind of back-fired on him as over 200 people took him up on the offer.
Since Borderlands released last Tuesday, Mikey has been ploughing through his list trying to get through as many of the lucky players as he can. The game hasn’t even come out on PC yet (it lands on Monday), so I bet that he’s got a ways to go.
This strikes me as admirable, considering the few weeks after a major game launches is when most of the studio’s development team takes their vacations. Essentially, Mikey is giving up the beach to play some Borderlands with the fans, so kudos to you good sir.
Borderlands itself is doing quite well; it’s topping the Steam sales chart, beating even Left 4 Dead 2. Every retail store I’ve visited has been sold out, too, but this is due more to a shortage in shipped products (so the clerk at EB told me, anyways) than overwhelming demand.
I’m waiting for the PC version personally, but are any of you playing it on the 360 or PS3, and what do you think?
God bless IGN, ya know? For all the flack that they take from the gaming enthusiasts, they can still surprise you sometimes, like with this excellent parody video of Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford explaining Borderlands to some casual game testers. Hilarity ensues.
Keep your pimp hand strong, Randy. Keep it strong. Oh, if you’re watching in a public place, wear some headphones. Just to be safe.
Big goings-on on the Interwebz. Rumblings, some would say. According to OXM, the next installment of the Halo franchise (Halo 4 for those keeping the score at home) is being developed by Gearbox Software, the fine minds behind Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, Halo PC and the upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines.