Despite being in development for more than six years, Gearbox Studios was forced to seek outside help to ship Sega's "Aliens: Colonial Marines," according to comments by CEO Randy Pitchford published Monday by IGN.
“It’s a big, ambitious game. Some of the other studios involved, we decided that these guys are awesome. They did a lot of really valuable work," he said. "We’re not contractually obligated to put anybody’s credits there, but we value talent and respect talent. We wanted to make sure that those logos were there and that work was represented. In big efforts, that’s not an uncommon thing. You don’t usually see it up front.”
Pitchford told IGN the game's announcement in 2006 was premature, as work hadn't even begun on it. Throughout its more than six years in development, the game took on several different looks before conceiving the final retail product. Originally beginning as a more action-oriented "Resident Evil" inspired corridor crawling shooter, it became more of a "Call of Duty" with Xenomorphs and co-op. In the end, Pitchford said the final product wouldn't be possible without studio support.
"They’re good guys. They care,” Pitchford said. “We know the mission. It’s about building the game. Let’s say you imagine the house you want to build. You have the blueprints, and you want to get someone that’s really awesome at making stairs to help make the stairs. You want to get someone that lays carpet like a mother**ker to come down and lay some carpet. These guys are hardcore. They have talent. If I was going to lay all that carpet myself and build the stairs myself and do all the countertops myself, that house would never get done.”
Gearbox is one of the last remaining independent studios, and works alongside several publishers, including Ubisoft, 2K and Sega. What makes this situation so interesting is just how long it took "Aliens: Colonial Marines" to hit the market and what Gearbox was doing in the meantime. From the time Sega announced "Aliens: Colonial Marines" in 2006 with a massive GameInformer cover story, Gearbox released "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway," "Borderlands" and "Borderlands 2," along with substantial post-release support for the latter two titles. The developer also resurrected the work of 3DRealms on "Duke Nukem Forever" and shipped it in 2011. Pitchford told IGN "Aliens" couldn't have shipped without the studio support. Publisher Sega also commissioned, announced and released a new "Aliens vs. Predator" title from Rebellion Studios in the time Gearbox's title was in development.
One former Gearbox developer reported last May that the studio wasn't even working on the game at all. TexasAgs forum poster "mugwurt," later confirmed to be a former developer, revealed the entire single-player portion of the game was outsourced to TimeGate Studios, which has only the original "F.E.A.R." expansions and two "Section 8" titles to its name.
"Hate to say it, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high for 'Colonial Marines,'" the poster said. "The development of that game has been a total train wreck, going on what, six years now? Gearbox isn't even making the game, except for the multiplayer."
Pitchford did not comment on the extent of the additional developer support, but TimeGate Studios' name is one that appears on the opening list of developers in the splash screen.