Aliens: Colonial Marines will be released eventually, Sega president and COO Mike Hayes told me in a phone interview last week. It's a question of when, whose answer hinges on another game entirely.
Sega's grand plans for rebooting the Aliens franchise have changed. The Aliens RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was cancelled, while Gearbox Software's Aliens: Colonial Marines was placed on the backburner and Rebellion's Aliens vs. Predator moved to the forefront. Gearbox continues to work on the squad-based shooter while its future remains in limbo.
Hayes said Sega still hasn't nailed down a release date for Aliens: Colonial Marines because there are several factors at play.
"I think the detail of that [release date] is probably still too early," said Hayes. "What I would say is it's unlikely that we'd launch anything within six months [after Aliens vs. Predator], but probably nine months, eight to 12 months possibly. Though we literally are looking at that at the moment and a lot of is going to depend, as well, on how successful AvP is at the box [retail]."
There's a problem for Aliens: Colonial Marines in this scenario. Sega has a great amount of confidence in Aliens vs. Predator. Hayes said Sega's received more feedback from fans about the release of that game than anything else in its lineup. If Aliens vs. Predator is wildly successful, Sega can move ahead with Aliens: Colonial Marines sooner, possibly even before the end of 2010. If gamers reject Rebellion's shooter, though, Sega could decide to hold off for a while.
"It's what level of 'well' does it do," said Hayes, speaking of Aliens vs. Predator's potential sales, "do we then determine when we want to bring the next one out and then, of course, determine what the third one in the series is likely to be."
Despite the cancellation of the Aliens RPG, Sega is still committed to producing a third Aliens game.
"Oh, absolutely," said Hayes.