The Sulaco drifts, quiet and dark, through the icy void of space, a lifeless ghost ship hovering over an unknown prison planet. And yet, somewhere in the dark and steely recesses of its core, a command display suddenly blinks to life. Programming functions and command protocols slowly cause the once dormant beast of steel and iron to awaken from its long, cold sleep. As its empty halls and its vacant sleep pods give testament to its deadly past, it is the final command on this display that gives any sane, sentient being in the universe a cause for terror and worry.
The planet where it all began. For it seems that Weyland-Yutani still seeks to retrieve the most dangerous species in the universe. Like some bird that smashes its body against a window, over and over again. The only problem is the bird doesn't realize that sooner or later, as it repeats its deadly mistake, eventually it winds up dead.
When will they ever listen?
Why do they never learn?
Game Over Man, Game Over...
After nearly 3 years silent running, the first real specs for Sega and Gearbox's new Aliens: Colonial Marines finally sees the light of day. After a few near misses that nearly caused the concept to tank, more than a few critics were wondering if the title was ever going to go beyond hype and concept. When asked, Gearbox head Randy Pitchford explains. "[Three years ago] that was a proposal. It was a prototype - prototype content, prototype technology and intent. And we shared that. However we probably announced it too soon. The first press release came out before the first line of code had even been written."
Now with concrete programming under its hood, Aliens: Colonial Marines is gearing up (no pun intended) to give fans of the series something to really work with.The Gearbox team is promising that they have taken great pains to recreate the vehicles and settings of the films by working closely with original set designs and Alien concept arts to recreate the exterior and interior of such places as the aforementioned Sulaco and planet LV-426, settings originally used in the second film. Original conceptual artist Syd Mead (Aliens), was hired on to design familiar areas of the ship, as well as areas that did not originally appear in the film. Gearbox is intent on keeping to the overall aesthetics from the franchise, and are going to great lengths not to deviate from that overall feel. "Sometimes it can get really f*#kin' nerdy around the studio," Pitchford says. "We're like 'but in the technical manual!' and we're breaking out the schematics, because sometimes what's interesting about it is its fiction."
A Magnificent Specimen....
That's not to say everything will be based on film designs. Several different types of Aliens not original to the series will appear over the course of the game's storyline. Along with the familiar "Facehugger" and "Warrior" designs, Gearbox plans on introducing a few conceptual species to A:CM to give players a cause for concern and worry. "Runners" are smaller, faster xenomorphs who will spy on the player and act as initial scouts for larger hoard attacks and generally work in small groups or alone. "Drones" are designed to carry and position eggs and work primarily in the Hive serving the Queen. A new, but still unnamed, type of alien is also being confirmed as a large, spike covered "Warrior class" alien whose sole purpose and design is its brute strength and high tolerance for damage. This "General" is usually accompanied by smaller warriors and can really soak up some bullets before it's brought down. These alien designs, specifically the Generals, are what Gearbox hopes will keep the players active and on their toes at all times as they move through the game with their ever-thinning squad members.
"The squad's going to be really important," explains Pitchford. "With this material, you wanna see aliens rip guys in half and you don't want to think about it much, you wanna have fun. The other time, you wanna have this 'oh my god, please don't let anything happen to X.' We remember these things from the squad from the film - we care about those emotional experiences as well. It's been crafted to allow for both to exist."
For example, in one scenario you find your squad cornered in a large loading bay on the Sulaco. Not far behind is a large horde slowly breaking through the large steel bay doors on the far side of the room. You take up position next to one of your squaddies, while the second gets to cutting the locking mech on a nearby maintenance hatch and a third moves over to start welding a nearby vent closed.
With no room to spare, the alien horde eventually breaks through the doors, spilling out and flooding the room with promised death for the unwary. Peeking out from his nearby cover, a Marine cries out "Fire in the hole!" as he levels his pulse rifle and fires off a grenade from its secondary tube. With a reverberating boom, alien matter goes sailing across the impact area, sending body parts and loading crates everywhere. As pulse rifle fire scatters across the loading platform, the marine sent to open the far door shouts back "I got it, I got it, let's get the f*ck outta here!!" As your squad moves back by inches, you turn to run, only to have an alien drop from the nearby ceiling vent and pin you to the ground. As its maw opens to reveal its deadly secondary teeth, another marine sees your predicament and opens fire on the beast second before it ends your life. However, you're still not out of danger yet, as your character is splashed with the beast's deadly acid-based blood. Running over to drag your wounded character through the door, gunning down a nearby xenomorph that leaps close, the door slams shut as a squaddie moves by the door. "Seal it, seal it!" someone cries out as a welding torch flares to life. But not even halfway through, a large indentation suddenly appears in the four inch thick steel doorplate, something on the other side, something very strong, and very large, pounds relentlessly to be let in.
Standard Military Issue
Along with the familiar Pulse Rifle (with optional grenade launcher), Gearbox is promising to have some familiar and not so familiar weapons at player's command. Along with the heavier assault machine carbine, shotguns, and pistols, players can expect to grab a hold of Sentry drones, flamethrowers, RPGs, smartguns, and several different types of grenades to help you take down your enemies. Early screen grabs have also hinted at the possible use of the power loader mech suit and APC assault vehicle. But when asked if they'll be usable during in the game, Pitchford only slyly hints "We wanna cover that later."
As this squad(ish) based (with optional drop in/out co-op availability) first person shooter gears up to bring us back into the dark and claustrophobic nature of the Aliens history, 2013 promises to be a deadly time for gamers.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is (so far) on track for a February release. Until then, gear up, stay frosty, and above all else, try not to die alone in the dark.
At a Glance: Aliens - Colonial Marines
Blog entry posted by wastelander75, Aug 19, 2012.
Noelemahc likes this.