Aliens: Colonial Marines has the blessing of 20th Century Fox to create an official Aliens story, recognized as part of the franchise in a way that comic books, past games, and even some of the movies have not. Gearbox has an impressive amount of creative freedom, and aims to use that to delve deeper into the universe. The key, however, is maintaining a sense of mystery.
"All the best stuff in Aliens is not over-explained," lead writer Mikey Neumann informed me. "The people telling the story understand exactly what it is, but they hint at it."
This mentality is something Neumann holds dear to his heart when tackling the script for Colonial Marines. The game will delve a little deeper into the life cycle of the Xenomorphs, and even dabble with the potential for mutation, but players won't get to know exactly what's going on.
"We have a lot more going on with different types of Xenomorphs," he explained. "Alien 3 flirted with that a little bit with the Dog Alien, and we explore that a little bit. We explore what happens in seventeen weeks, what they evolve into, especially with the atmosphere processor exploding, and radiation, what does that do?
"We did a lot to make sure all the Xenomorph types make sense, but not to over-explain them. We don't even really talk about what the radiation is doing, it's just kind of there."
One thing Neumann is incredibly proud of is the fact that, aside from exploring the theme of Alien diversity, he has also been able to add an official new element to the Xenomorph's parasitic life cycle. The iconic way in which the Aliens breed will gain a fresh new idea, all thanks to this game.
"I did get to submit some canonical stuff about the life cycle of the Alien. I added to that, in what I thought was a really clever way, and it's cool. I totally submitted shit that is now canonical Alien life cycle stuff. I can talk at Comic-Con and be, 'Ha ha, I'm an expert! Me and like, two people!' No, it's fucking awesome.
"It doesn't hit you until you're sitting here, talking to Destructoid. It's all true, it's not a dream, it's real, I did that."
When Neumann talks about his writing duties on Colonial Marines, the sense of pride in his voice is impossible to miss. This is a guy who cares about Aliens as much as I do (most of our interview was wasted due to our having nerdy conversations about the merits of Alien Resurrection) and he wants to treat this series right. He cannot emphasize enough the idea that to do an Aliens story right, you need a sense of mystery.
"The biggest mistake anyone touching the canon can do is over-explain everything," he stressed. "Like, cutting to Xeno-Vision would be a fuck-up. We do learn a lot about what [the Xenomorphs] are and what they can do. We've gotten a lot of questions about how the atmosphere processor blew up [at the end of Aliens]. Well, there is more than one hive. LV-426 is a porous, cave-like planet with mad amounts of space.
"So it's like, 'How many hives are there? How do they stay warm in the cold? Do they eat anything? It's one of those, 'Do you answer this question?' things. Because they don't fucking eat anything! In any of the movies! I think the only thing it ever kills, in any of the movies, with its little mouth, is ... there are two kills in Resurrection. But the little mouth doesn't really do anything! All these questions are interesting, but God what an asshole I'd be if I said, 'No, they eat carrots!' I have no idea what they eat."
I pointed out during our conversation that the awful Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem did attempt to show a Xenomorph eating a person with its little mouth. Neumann just got angry.
"You know what? I am going to shit on that movie. It felt like really bad fan fiction. Like, "OKAH AH MAHK A ALIENTH VERTHAH PRED'TAH!' Seriously, it was fan fiction, and they can quote me. They can call me up, whatever. I didn't enjoy it."
Like I said, the man cares about his Aliens!
|8:00 AM on 05.03.2013|
Aliens: Gearbox defends its right to mislead customers
Both Gearbox and SEGA have responded to a class action suit that alleges customers were lied to during the development of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Both companies are happy to defend themselves and seem unswayed by the threat...more
|8:00 AM on 05.01.2013|
Aliens: Colonial Marines gets class action suit for lies
SEGA and Gearbox have been slapped with a class action suit for Aliens: Colonial Marines, accused of lying about the game to get it sold. It was only a matter of time. Edelson LLC has taken the case, which alleges that ...more
|12:45 PM on 04.05.2013|
Aliens: Colonial Marines Wii U canceled
Those of you left caring may have noticed Aliens: Colonial Marines missed its Wii U release launch window. There's a very good reason for that -- SEGA finally decided to shoot the lame dog in the head, and has quietly cancele...more
|8:00 AM on 04.03.2013|
SEGA admits Colonial Marines trailers are unreflective
Following an upheld complaint with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, SEGA Europe has admitted that trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines do not reflect the game's final (shoddy) content. The complaint was upheld...more
|10:15 AM on 03.21.2013|
Aliens: Colonial Marines 360/PS3 update released
I'm sorry, dear readers. I've still not "gotten over" Aliens: Colonial Marines. After a set period of time, gamers tend to get aggressively apathetic over certain situations, and seem to grow angry if someone else isn't as re...more
|8:30 AM on 03.20.2013|
Aliens: Colonial Marines 'Bug Hunt' DLC out now
Aliens: Colonial Marines' long-awaited (haha) "Bug Hunt" downloadable content is now available on Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network. It's a wave-based survival mode that, given the general brevity of the game's hyped ...more
|6:00 PM on 03.19.2013|
4GB Aliens: Colonial Marines patch available for PC
Gearbox continues to demonstrate that, contrary to popular idioms, you can actually polish a turd. Aliens: Colonial Marines is being made shinier -- but no less stinkier -- in a 4GB PC patch that improves textures, A.I. behav...more
|4:15 PM on 03.07.2013|
Aliens: Colonial Marines update rolls out for Xbox 360
Gearbox Software has taken steps to make its awful game slightly less awful. The studio's second update for Aliens: Colonial Marines is rolling out on Xbox 360 right now. The update covers issues and bugs found throughou...more
|9:00 PM on 02.25.2013|
Developer on why Aliens' E3 demo was better than game
That Aliens: Colonial Marines E3 demo sure was neat, but you know what wasn't neat? The actual game. According to an anonymous source that spoke with Kotaku, this was always going to be the case since the demo ran on hardware...more
|10:00 AM on 02.24.2013|
Anonymous whistle blower claims Gearbox stole from SEGA
[Update: Just to make it clear, I have been able to corroborate the basic information presented by "Danielson," not his more editorialized opinions. I can't back his claims of "embezzlement" -- likely more an emotional respon...more
|9:00 AM on 05.20.2013|
Killzone: Mercenary is the FPS the Vita has been needing
The PlayStation Vita is a great system with a slowly increasing library of great titles. The exception being in the first-person shooter genre, that is. You'd think that after one of these big game companies made a handheld w...more
|4:00 PM on 05.17.2013|
Why Insomniac decided against making Resistance 4
Although Insomniac Games finished its work on the Resistance series with Resistance 3, that didn't stop Burning Skies from happening, unfortunately. It's possible (plausible, even) that another studio will take on the franchi...more
|9:00 PM on 05.16.2013|
Metro: Last Light update allows FOV customization
The lack of a customizable field-of-view is understandably a sticking point for certain PC gamers. It was no surprise, then, to see a big release like Metro: Last Light take some heat for not having a FOV slider. Today, an up...more