After all of the pre-E3 viral marketing done by Sega and Gearbox Software, we were curious as to what Aliens: Colonial Marines would even be. All we really knew was that Gearbox was making it, and they tend to do projects right. Zach Ford, Producer on Colonial Marines, took us through a demo of a level which was designed to show off what the game is all about.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of Colonial Marines is how Gearbox is going about the fiction. They aren’t creating some movie tie-in, the game is considered a canonical sequel and takes place many months after the events of Aliens 3. Brian Martel, co-founder of Gearbox, said that they even sat down with Ridley Scott to get his perspective on the game and he gave them tons of stuff that wasn’t able to fit into the movies.
The demo starts aboard the Sulaco but that trip is cut short as the ship promptly crashes. The events pick up as the colonial marines must make their way through the area seen in the final stand of the film Aliens, Hadley’s Hope on LV-426. While at first they are just trying to investigate, things quickly go wrong as the creatures start to do what they do best, attack the marines. The things that we have come to expect from an Aliens game such as the Load Lifters, Pulse Rifle, and the Sentry Turrets, seen in the director’s cut of the film, all make returns and are featured prominently throughout the demo. Surprisingly, the demo showed off a bit of drop-in/drop-out co-op that allows a second player to take over the role of one of the marines in the squad, making for better coordination and tactics.
The environments are highly detailed and have amazing rain and light technology due in part to the newly designed rendering engine created exclusively for Aliens. According to the team, they saw how great the lighting looked in Dead Space 2 and knew that they had to do something even better. With the exception of that rendering engine, the game is built entirely off the Unreal Engine 3, which is only notable due to the fact that it doesn’t have the normal characteristics that tend to hinder games running on the tech.
Aliens: Colonial Marines will be arriving on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC in Spring 2012. While they didn’t have anything to show yet, Gearbox has said that they have Colonial Marines running on Wii U and will show more at some point in the future.