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Aliens: Colonial Marines – Gearbox “stole”, says alleged Sega staffer

Sunday, 24th February 2013 23:24 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Aliens: Colonial Marines was the vehicle through which Gearbox Software “embezzeled” funds from Sega to make Borderlands 2 and Duke Nukem Forever, a purported Sega insider has claimed.

The account hails from a blog called SEGA Awakens, allegedly written by an anonymous Sega employee using the name Bryan Danielson. It’s a bit “guy on the Internet says” – but Destructoid claims to have independently verified the information.

The anonymous commenter said that “99%” of reports about the game’s troubled development – that Timegate did most of the work, that Gearbox ignored the project to work on other titles, and that the Wii U version is terrible – are true. He said Timegate and Sega both share blame for the unsatisfactory final release of Aliens: Colonial Marines, but that Gearbox is most responsible.

“Gearbox stole from SEGA, they robbed us, lied to us about the game, and tried to get another company to make the game instead,” Danielson said.

“Pitchford and Gearbox wanted to focus heavily on Duke Nukem Forever, but how would they get the money to hire some of the 3D Realms team and even buy the intellectual property? Sure, they made a lot from Borderlands, but guess where they got the money to fund Borderlands in the first place? Yup, SEGA.

“So Gearbox essentially lied to SEGA, mishandled funds, broke agreements and contractual obligations to work on other projects, didn’t want to work on a game they were contractually obligated to work on and gave it to another team, poor organization and direction on ACM, took on too many projects from different companies at once, and other things that we may not even know about. Hell, part of me believes that Gearbox wanted this thing delayed as much as possible so they can get more funding money to embezzle from SEGA.”

Danielson said he’s heard rumours that Sega is looking for ways to sure Gearbox but that the developer met the letter of the law in fulfilling its contract. As such, he had some harsh words for the publisher, too.

“I strongly believe that SEGA should not have released the game and made the fans pay for it, they should have taken Gearbox straight to court, because they stole money from us to fund Borderlands and Duke Nukem Forever,” he said.

“This should be a lesson in management for you all. In my view, the board and the people supplying the money should not have any creative control over a product. In this case, what happened clearly was SEGA had a decent eye on the project, rightfully cancelled it, when they saw the problems, then someone decided to restart the project, leading to this massive mess.

“This game should have been cancelled permanently, and the final product is undeniable proof of it. Despite that, I believe SEGA wanted to try to get some of the money back, at the fans’ expense. SEGA should have also watched the project and development a lot better, because there was a lot of warning signs that said this was a disaster in the making.”

Aliens: Colonial Marines has received mixed review scores, and Dave was quite disappointed in it. It has sold pretty well regardless.

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20 Comments

  1. Jerykk

    Looks like the anonymous tipster is a fan of wrestling.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. salarta

    This is why I stop buying games from a company if the company does too many things I hate. I’ve had people try to tell me that buying a certain game only means you’re giving money to potential games in that franchise, but I know that that money can be used on other projects I don’t want them to make.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Ekona

    But that’s how businesses work, you use cash flow from one project to fund another. Always has done, always will do.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. _LarZen_

    Even if I like the Borderlands games I have a bad taste in my mouth about Gearbox.

    Let’s just say I wont run and buy their nest game on day one.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DSB

    Sega really need to watch how they spend their money, it’s not exactly the first time.

    I imagine roughly the same thing must have happened with Alpha Protocol. It was just a lousy, broken game, and it seems to me like no one noticed before it was too late, and then Sega decided they might as well release to cover some of their losses.

    Like the guy quite clearly says in the post, he may feel that Gearbox stole the money, but if Sega allows for that through their contracts, then it doesn’t seem like they truly care in the first place.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Phoenixblight

    This is typical of studios. Businesses do this all the time if you don’t think your favorite indie studio doesn’t do this you are sorely mistaken. Gearbox was right in investing more into Borderlands than Aliens as they have a chance for more profit with Borderlands where Aliens had Fox and Sega taking their cut before the studio. There are far better games than that of the Aliens series.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. SplatteredHouse

    @6: SEGA employed them, and gave them time and funding, to deliver on their behalf an Aliens game at an expected level of completion, and quality that they had overseen.
    They DID NOT grant them the rights of the Alien franchise, or place faith in them to be capable to the task they claimed to be fit to complete, in order to provide Gearbox the opportunity to deliver a level of work that caused a harmful reaction from fans and critics alike, horrid PR rep, and for SEGA’s name and judgement to be dragged through the mud. Nor, crucially, to (as it has been suggested) further their own franchises at the cost of those from SEGA, out of the publisher’s own pocket.

    By no means were Gearbox “right” by any definition to have acted and behaved in the manner in which they did. Level of interest towards any other similar situations really has little bearing to excuse the developers to whom ACM was primarily entrusted.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight

    @7

    Sorry what? Gearbox did their job they made a game. Obviously Gearbox’s focus was on the Borderlands series. Sega gave Gearbox milestones so clearly Sega was fine with what Gearbox was delivering because they Ok’d it every bit of the way. If Gearbox gave Sega a completely different game and tricked Sega then that would be cheating Sega out of money but they didn’t. The blame is as much fault of Sega as it is Gearbox. Sorry but I am behind Gearbox. They were right in focusing on Borderlands development than Aliens. More chances for revenue with your own IP than another especially that of Aliens.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. SplatteredHouse

    @8: “Sega gave Gearbox milestones so clearly Sega was fine with what Gearbox was delivering”

    That doesn’t seem true at all, because according to these sources, the game saw the light of day solely because Gearbox were one step from a breach of contract suit, so much had they already eroded SEGA’s patience with their approach to priorities.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    @9

    You don’t know what you are talking about every publisher gives a studio milestones which the studio then has to meet in order to receive a paycheck. So if Sega gave Gearbox all the money to make a game then they are even bigger morons. From the sources it looks like Gearbox was running out of time on their last milestone which would be the game going Gold so Gearbox scrambled and shipped what they had which again goes through Sega.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Vice

    #4, I have same feelings now. Especially considering I’m a huge fan of Aliens.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. ps3fanboy

    so if other good game makers have made duke nukem and aliens. these two games would have been good games. but gearbox had only focus on financing their own boredland games. so now two good ips are lost forever and we are stuck with their crap ip.. GREAT!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    So Sega is like the government and Gearbox is a bank?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. SplatteredHouse

    @10 Gearbox’s legal culpability as to obligation may start and end at the type on the contract. If an embezzlement claim were to be brought against them, that would become a different matter.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. manamana

    As a gamer and consumer, I’m left with doubting:
    1. everything Sega is going to publish in the future.
    2. games that are developed by Gearbox.
    3. that a decent Aliens game will see the light of day.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. The Auracle

    Right, this soap opera has gotten completely out of hand with this report breaking. How much of this is actually true?

    Methinks people are a little too quick to enjoy a bit of schadenfreude these days.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    Schadenfreude? Unlikely. The resulting game is sad news for all of us. I can’t be the only one who wanted the game to be good and succeed.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. The Auracle

    I can’t comment on the game as I’ve yet to play the final release myself, YoungZer0… but I can’t help but view this as an over-dramatic exercise. Why would you – as someone who wanted the game to be good and succeed – want to believe all this conjecture? Despite it being critically panned, there are people that still love this game for all of its [apparent] flaws.

    Are people just looking for an excuse to further dislike something they are disappointed in? If so, why not wait for some hard evidence before boarding the ZOMG DRAMA train?

    The whole Timegate/Gearbox thing is still unconfirmed now we’ve got embezzlement claims? And perhaps you’re right… maybe schadenfreude is a little too strong a claim but I can’t shake the feeling someone is trolling the utter crap out of those disappointed with the game.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. The Auracle

    Here’s the other thing: assuming the above tip-off is true, are people actually going to sit here and act like this is the first time something like this has happened?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. rbevanx

    @19

    It happend before in films with Superman 4: The Quest for Peace, can’t think of other videogame situations mind.

    #20 2 years ago

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