As the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines drew near, rumors went around that maybe the game wasn’t everything I had hoped. Everyone was quick to point out that there were no advance reviews, that the launch trailers were a lot of editing with little in the way of gameplay and substance. But this was Gearbox! The guys who brought us Half Life: Blue Shift, Brothers in Arms, Borderlands 1 and 2. They were all great games – these guys know what they’re doing.
Well I forgot about one thing: Duke Nukem Forever.
For those who may not know the whole story of DNF, a quick primer: after the wildly popular Duke Nukem 3D came out back in 1996, it wasn’t long before rumors and then an official announcement of the next game in the series came along. It was going to be a true polygonal 3D game, like what Quake was to Doom. Years past; we saw so many different versions of this game, and every time a new screenshot or trailer surfaced it looked better than ever. But this went on for over a decade, DNF was vaporware: as far as anyone could tell nothing concrete existed, no one outside of developer 3D Realms had seen the game in action, and it seemed that we never would. Then in 2010, 14 years after Duke Nukem Forever was announced, came news that Gearbox had picked up the game and were finishing it up for release within a year. People were excited, as I was excited about Aliens: Colonial Marines.
This was a solid studio that seemed to have the chops needed to complete the game and ship what people had been waiting over a decade for. Randy Pitchford, CEO at Gearbox, claimed that Duke Nukem Forever was “intelligent” and a “worthy successor” to its predecessor. As you probably all know, the game was a huge flop - dated gameplay, dated graphics, at best it was worthy of the bargain bin.
It seemed that those 14 years far from giving the game any kind of polish or unique style had served only to make the game look and feel stale.
Keep reading for more on the downfall of Aliens: Colonial Marines.