Gearbox: Better At Creating Hype And Scapegoats Than Games

If you were to claim that Aliens: Colonial Marines was a terrible mess of a game with very few redeeming qualities, I would wonder why you were being so generous. It is bad. The writing is bad, which you might have expected if you played Borderlands 2 and had any taste. Nothing makes sense or comes anywhere near good storytelling, but it's presented in a way that implies you should be amazed. The actual gameplay? Second-rate modern military shooter, with occasional forays into laughable stealth sequences. Graphics aren't everything, but the game doesn't even have a decent cohesive style. The rather atmospheric gameplay demo shown off last year was almost definitely not actual gameplay, but some sort of target render passed off in an effort to mislead the press and potential customers.

So it's a bad game. Not the end of the world. Consider, however, the way that Gearbox has expertly distanced themselves from the project and deflected blame. They had great practice with Duke Nukem Forever, which allowed them to ship a turd and shrug off all of the responsibility. Now they're experts.

When Aliens: Colonial Marines still had a long ways to go, Gearbox declared their love of the franchise. This was a project of passion. It was all on them, they said, their responsibility to deliver on a project that meant so very much to them.

Shortly before release and long after it was apparent that the game would be a mess, Randy Pitchford decided that in spite of their talk about shouldering all of the responsibility, maybe other people should get some credit. This was certainly an altruistic move and not an attempt to toss up a human shield at the last minute.

"It's a big, ambitious game," Pitchford explained. "Some of the other studios involved, we decided that these guys are awesome. They did a lot of really valuable work. 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. (...) If you take preproduction out of it, their effort's probably equivalent to ours. Now, it's not fair to take preproduction out of it, but that says a lot about how much horsepower those guys put into it."

As the reviews started to come in, several outlets began to run quotes from anonymous Gearbox employees which happened to make the company look good. They didn't even do most of the work, these perfectly timed stories claimed, it was mostly outsourced. The publisher, Sega, eventually stepped in to counter those claims and state that Gearbox created the majority of the game.

Maybe Aliens: Colonial Marines was a turd because Gearbox did a bad job. Or maybe it's because they really did outsource a majority of the work. Either way, they should be ashamed. It's a terrible game, preceded by tons of outright lies, and hyped in the grossest possible ways by Randy Pitchford.

Can we please stop rewarding this behavior, or at least acknowledge it for the snake oil salesman act it is? Please? Also, can we please get Firaxis to make a Weyland-Yutani space trading/management sim?


System Shock 2 Finally Available Via Digital Download

System Shock 2 is one of the most important games of all time. Its influence can be seen in games like Deus Ex and BioShock, and the original Dead Space was basically a poor man's System Shock with all the complexity removed. It's still fantastic, even if the character models are a bit goofy. Now you can buy it on Good Old Games, which you should do, unless you want to hold out for the eventual Steam release. This is great news. It really is.

Now where is Homeworld? Where is it? Where's it at. Give it to me. Where's Homeworld? Where did you put it? Why can't I have it?


PS4 Controller Prototype

You know how the Vita is sort of a crappy handheld system? And its weird touchpad thingie on the back is completely awkward, never improving any aspect of any game?

If the above image is real, it looks like the PS4 controller will fix all of the touchpad's problems by putting it on the front. This means...

Actually, you know what? I can't stand console rumors. Unless they're truly bonkers, they don't matter. It's all inconsequential. The only thing that really matters is the quality of games, how much a platform will appeal to developers, and how fucked up the user interface is going to become as ads and other bloated features get between us and our games. It's time to ignore all these silly link-bait stories. It's time to ask the truly important question:

Where's Homeworld? Where'd you put it? Why don't you let me buy it?

Aliens: Colonial Marines
This isn't even good enough to dignify with an overused quote from one of the films, it's just a very sad game. 2/10

Dead Space 3
This certainly feels like a game that became more action-oriented out of an obligation to be imitate the many high-selling action games that flood the market, so congratulations I guess? 5/10

Fire Emblem: Awakening
Don't freak out, but you just woke up to a world where the 3DS has become the most worthwhile non-PC system. 9/10

– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell

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