Aliens: Colonial Marines

We’re also promised a wide range of new enemies to battle, and while this definitely won’t include Predators, or the more wacky alien variations seen in previous videogame adaptations, we are promised a few surprises. Gearbox says that the infamous acid blood won’t burn through the environment in real-time, although it will have some kind of visual effect. That’s not to say there won’t be big acid-burned holes for enemies to jump out of. Gearbox also hinted that the treacherous Weyland Yutani Corporation will play a role somewhere and perhaps this will be a source of conflict for your marines.

At this early stage, we weren’t able to see the enemy or marine AI working properly, but we did get a quick demonstration of how the game will work in co-op mode. Excitingly, Aliens is set to feature online co-op for 1-4 players. It’s also being set up so that you can easily jump in and out of a single-player game in progress - automatically taking over from the AI. The game sounds far more enjoyable when you throw team tactics into the mix. There’s also going to be online multiplayer, although Gearbox isn’t talking about that at the moment. Hopefully we’ll be able to play as the Aliens as well as the Colonial Marines in this mode. Fingers crossed.

Graphically, the game is already looking extremely sharp. You can really tell that Gearbox has done its research, using tons of original props and technical manuals from the movies to make sure that everything is authentic. In fact, its entire Dallas studio is a treasure trove of Aliens memorabilia, including props, original production art and toys. The future has never looked so terrifying, particularly when you consider there will be a double dose of Aliens in 2009. Sega also has Californian developer Obsidian working on an RPG version of the original Alien movie. We’re probably not the only ones who’ve grown tired of space-marine games over the years, but even now there’s something irresistible about the Aliens franchise.

Aliens is, after all, the daddy of the genre and there’s no denying that H.R. Giger’s monster hasn’t lost any of its ability to terrify nearly 30 years on. So now it’s up to Gearbox to prove they can make a game worthy of the franchise. And while neither the producers nor director of the movie Aliens have any direct involvement in this adaptation, that won’t stop Gearbox from treating it with deep respect. The evidence is shot right through the game, from the glistening detail on each xenomorph to the misty half light of the overrun colony. Even the way your first encounter with a facehugger has you clawing at your own face is something to be applauded. Gearbox’s Aliens has been given a release date of May 2009, although they’ve told us to ‘pay no attention’ to that.

Apr 18, 2008