There’s a lot of talk right now about how Cyberpunk 2077 failed to live up to much of its hype.
The game arrived earlier this month, and immediately turned off a large number of fans with its glitches and bugs, particularly on older-gen consoles. It eventually got to the point that the game was pulled from the PlayStation Store and other retailers began offering refunds on the game, no questions asked.
But before gamers go and call this the biggest gaming debacle they’ve ever seen, you may not recall what happened with Aliens: Colonial Marines. Initially announced in 2011, Sega hyped the heck out of this game, with Borderlands developers Gearbox Software handling its creation. But then, two years later, when it finally arrived, it was a completely different product than promised. And what’s more, a truly flawed one.
Let’s take a good look at what truly went wrong with this debacle.
Bugs, And Not The Good Kind
Despite a lot of promise behind the game’s development – and contribution from original Aliens stars Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen – it was butchered upon release. That’s because a faulty line of code threw off the behavior of the aliens in the game almost entirely, to the point they barely posed a challenge. What’s worse, Gearbox never got around to repairing the code, but when one savvy modder fixed it themselves a couple of years ago, the behavior changed for the better.
That’s just the beginning, as the game also saw a number of ridiculous bugs, with soldiers announcing the arrival of aliens that, well, just weren’t there. What’s more, the frame rate became shoddy, the low textures failed to live up to the initial trailer’s promises, and the multiplayer, while promising at first, quickly melted down with a myriad of problems.
The game became one of the previous generation’s most notable failures, despite Gearbox’s attempts to try and fix them with patches – again, missing that single line of code that would’ve redefined the AI of the characters. But its failure was just the beginning of the woes that came from Aliens’ fallout.
Legal Woes And Complaints
Finger pointing became rampant following the failure of Colonial Marines. Some believed that Gearbox moved people off the project as early as 2008, when it was still early in development, to work on more successful franchises like Duke Nukem Forever. This led to vigorous “blame gaming,” and Sega shifting over development resources to get the game completed, eventually rushing its development and leading to, well, more mayhem.
And all this talk about lawsuits against Cyberpunk 2077 sound eerily familiar to what happened next with Aliens. In 2013, two individual players filed suit against both Gearbox and Sega, noting that CEO Randy Pitchford failed to live up to the promise of “actual gameplay” with its initial announcement. What follows was months of legal issues, with Gearbox fighting back and blaming Sega, and vice versa. Eventually, Gearbox was dropped from the case in May 2015, though we’re not sure how it finally settled out.
That said, a great deal of money was lost. In fact, Pitchford noted that he lost around $10 to $15 million personally from the project, despite the fallout that had come with other developers.
We may never know who’s to blame behind the faulted development and decisions made with Aliens. But it was a mess to be sure – and some could even see it as just as big as what’s happening with Cyberpunk 2077.
Colonial Marines Is Dead, But Not Aliens
Despite everything that happened – and the colossal failure of Colonial Marines (not to mention the canning of the Wii U, which would’ve brought innovations with its touch-screen) – Sega managed to thrive by taking Alien in a new direction with its next project, Alien Isolation.
In 2014, Creative Assembly finished work on Alien: Isolation, a completely different first-person experience from Marines. In it, instead of fighting back against aliens with a Marine, it’s more of a survival-based experience, where even the slightest noise could get you caught and killed by one of those nasty things.
The game was a success, selling over two million copies and getting generally positive reviews from critics – a nice turn-around from what occurred with Marines.
Gone But Hardly Forgotten
In the face of criticism surrounding Cyberpunk 2077, it’s easy for most gamers to say that it’s a huge, huge mess. But it’s clearly not the gaming industry’s first one, and probably won’t be the last. And before all that, Aliens: Colonial Marines failed to live up to its promise, tarnishing the reputation of those involved and failing to recoup even a small portion of its budget. It’s a reminder that not everything in the game industry goes as planned, even with years of fixes.
Here’s hoping Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t suffer a familiar fate.
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