Despite first being announced by publisher Sega in 2006
, development on Aliens: Colonial Marines
didn't begin at Gearbox until after the title was revealed to the world.
"Everyone was just so excited that the deal got done," Gearbox President Randy Pitchford told Joystiq at a recent event for the title. "20th Century Fox, Gearbox and Sega all had to agree to do this and commit themselves to it. The fact that that deal even existed -- everyone on the business side was so excited that the deal happened that they just wanted to tell the world. So before we even started on the game they announced the deal."
Because the announcement was made so long ago
, many gamers feel the game has been taking an exceptionally long time to come out. "I think there have been a couple of things that have kind of created that feeling
. One thing is that it was announced before we were even started
. Another thing is that there was an [Alien] RPG game in development by Obsidian which was canceled
. And I think when that happened we hadn't even really shown this game or talked about it yet, so that created some confusion of, 'Wait, what was canceled?'"
After failing to meet its original 2008 launch date, rumors of cancellation followed Aliens: Colonial Marines
in the wake of Gearbox layoffs. After missing more release windows, Sega re-announced the title for a 2012 launch.
According to Pitchford, perception that Aliens: Colonial Marines
has been in development for longer than it has stretches as far back as the previous generation of consoles. "It turns out that in the PlayStation 2 generation somebody had attempted to make an Aliens game and they actually used the 'Colonial Marines' branding," Pitchford said. "We knew that existed, and when we did the deal, 'Colonial Marines' had nothing to do with it, we just knew that the fantasy we were trying to fulfill was being one of these guys, and that we were making a sequel to Aliens. So as we developed that, it is the natural subtitle, it is the natural qualifier to what the promise is, so we decided to just not worry about the fact that there was [another Colonial Marines game] from a long time ago that just went away in prototype. We had nothing to do with that."
When considering its actual development process time, Pitchford says the Aliens: Colonial Marines
development cycle is similar to its previous work. "When it ships, it's actually about the same length that we spent developing Borderlands," the company president and CEO admitted.Aliens: Colonial Marines
is expected to launch this fall.