Aliens: Colonial Marines Gamescom 2011 Preview -- Don't Forget To Pack Your Pulse RifleBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Aug 26, 2011
Brian Burleson from Gearbox took us through the newest build of Aliens: Colonial Marines at gamescom, and started things off by explaining how many major sci-fi properties "borrow" from Aliens, including Halo. The video game team finds themselves in the interesting position of "borrowing" from, well... Aliens as well to create this game. They've been working closely with Fox and using their film archives, while also going directly to Syd Mead who designed the original look of much of the tech in the film, including the U.S.S. Sulaco.
While we were able to spend a brief amount of time with the title at E3, this demo in Germany was longer, and had the added bonus of additional teaser gameplay footage which you can watch above. While we didn't actually get to play the game, we watched the developers play, and it definitely recreates the atmosphere of the second film in the franchise. While it's actually set after the events of Aliens 3, everything about this screams Aliens, and you keep expecting Hicks to pop up around one of the corners.
Ironically, this is achieved mostly through sound effects and not the graphics. The iconic sound of the motion tracker, as well as the well-known chattering of the M41a Pulse Rifle, really solidy this in the world of the movies. The graphics are suitably dull and gloomy as we explore LV-426, which wasn't as destoyed as Ripley would have liked to believe when they blew the atmospheric processors.
You'll notice many of the same locations from the Aliens film, such as the electronic map of the facility that they study, the former site of the processors, and some of the same hallways and doorways that the team from the movie went through. You'll also board the Sulaco at some point, as it's still in space, and you'll even explore the alien Derelict from the first film, the one that brought the xenomorphs to the planet in the first place.
Our crew played through via the drop-in, drop-out co-op, which has a nod to Shawn of the Dead as the screen reads "Player 2 Has Entered The Game" when someone joins you. There are many other tongue in cheek references throughout the game, but for the most part there's a lot of edge-of-your-seat horror moments as you're constantly under threat of attack, and you can lose squadmates at any second through floor grates and air ducts.
Gameplay, of course, consists mostly of firing your pulse rifle, but there are many iconic Alien weapons throughout the game, as well as some new and updated pieces of tech from the series. For instance, you'll see different variations on the pulse rifle, as well as add-ons for it. You'll be driving things like the power loaders, APCs, and coming down on dropships throughout the game, and chief creative Brian Martel promises they'll be mixing it up as much as possible. Communication, as always, seems to be key, as you'll constantly need to call out to your partner to find out what area they're holding down, or where they need help.
You'll also see some of the things from the deleted scenes from the movie, like the automated sentry guns that get set up in one of the hallways. There's a level in the game directly related to that as you have to hold down a hallway through of charging aliens while protecting your sentry gun. You'll also have a full encounter in a loading bay along with weaponized power loaders, as well as in the junked remains of the atmospheric processor as you flee from an angry alien queen.
You'll also encounter Bishop in one form or another, as Lance Henriksen reprises his role for the game. We haven't seen how they're using him yet, but we're looking very forward to it. While the gameplay doesn't look to be groundbreaking, it does look chock full of iconic references that will be you directly into the experience offered by the film.
Now you secure that sh*t, Hudson. Aliens: Colonial Marines comes out in the Spring of 2012.