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Gearbox calls Aliens suit "beyond meritless"

Developer calls Colonial Marines complaint frivolous as Sega offers more reserved defense

Sega and Gearbox have responded to a class-action lawsuit over Aliens: Colonial Marines, each denying any wrong doing in the matter. As reported by Kotaku, Sega offered a more or less generic statement of defense.

"Sega cannot comment on specifics of ongoing litigation, but we are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously," the publisher said.

However, Gearbox provided a more colorful statement.

"Attempting to wring a class action lawsuit out of a demonstration is beyond meritless," a representative said. "We continue to support the game, and will defend the rights of entertainers to share their works-in-progress without fear of frivolous litigation."

The lawsuit centers on trailers and demonstrations for the game shown to the public at events like the Penny Arcade Expo and Electronic Entertainment Expo. The suit claims those clips misrepresented the actual game, with graphics that the game makers knew they could not deliver. Sega has already admitted to the UK's Advertising Standards Agency that the trailers were misleading, but the only consequence of that was an agreement that the publisher would run a disclaimer with the clips should they be shown again.

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Latest comments (20)

Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 8 years ago
Normally a suit like this WOULD be frivolous, but in this case I'm not so sure. The differences really are that blatant - seek out a comparison video if you've not seen it.

Edit: See HERE for a frivolous lawsuit.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Maxted on 3rd May 2013 9:01pm

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Private Industry 8 years ago
They had me fooled with the demo they showed off and the game being "developed" by Gearbox. But shortly before release there was news that its not done by Gearbox and I decided to wait first for reviews.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 3rd May 2013 6:23pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
It's a shame that Gearbox have said this. Acting defensively is only going to draw ire from those who bought the game, whilst saying anything beyond Sega's "No comment" creates a Streisand Effect.
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Show all comments (20)
Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica8 years ago
Sega sould have suited Gearbox earlyer for this and given the consumers some free games. I remember Gearbox CEO saying all Alien fans will finde a satisfying game with ACM. Well i dont know one that is like that. And if you watch on Yutube for ACM lets plays thy are all abaut how bad the game is..
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Caleb Hale Journalist 8 years ago
Also sort of works as an argument against pre-orders too.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
To be fair, this isn't the first game to suck... or to differ from the demo. So it probably is merit-less.


Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 4th May 2013 12:47am

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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
If they didn't want any false advertising suits then maybe they should have done less of the false advertising. Just a thought.
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Patrick Williams Medicine and Research 8 years ago
Dead Island's trailer was a bait and switch that even its developers admitted to and we didn't see any of this. It is unfortunate that publishers and devs are not held accountable.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
I think that there is a definite distinction between making an FMV promo, like Dead Island, or Dragon Age 2, or TOR, or DCUO, etc., and not having the game be exactly that, when compared to making a video that purports to be "gameplay footage" and the game ends up nothing like that. Especially when every trick in the book is used to minimize the truth, delaying reviews, for example. I think it's hard to argue that they weren't being deliberately deceptive.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
As Tim said the Dead Island trailer was a CGI trailer. I never expected it to be like that.

And while its not the first gamebto suck its I dont remember any other time when there was a bigger game and it the demo for it looked very good with the final result nowhere in graphics or gameplay near it. Also Gearbox made everybody believe that they make the game when in fact they outsources it.
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Gareth Donaghey Customer Support Agent, Blizzard Entertainment8 years ago
This video could be very damning. Randy mentions 'we haven't shown you the actual gameplay in action before' and other parts, even commenting on looking out at the landscape which was then laughably blocked up by debris in the final game.

And the Dead Island comparison is a bit flimsy, at no point did they say it was ingame footage. The only situation I can think of that is similar was the Killzone 2 demo footage long ago that they said ingame and turned out it was all pre-rendered.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
To put it simply, The actual game when released did not look like the initial promotional screen shots of the game. I found them misleading myself.
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Well, this really looks at alot of games with AWESOME CGi intro, cutscene or trailer which has a passing semblance of the in game play.
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Tomas Roller Bohemia Interactive, 2K Czech8 years ago
I`ll just leave this here.
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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 8 years ago
Usually I would look at things from both sides of the coin but I'm afraid Gearbox and Sega dropped their coin and allowed an elephant to sit on it, thus never getting it back.

I was looking forward to Alien:CM, especially the 4 player co-op and even pre-ordered it just for that. The game they delivered, whilst not the greatest was still somewhat enjoyable, if you could overlook a few issues, such as moronic AI. In other words, if a fan of the franchise picked the game up and never saw the E3 demo, they would be happy with it more or less.

Unfortunately for Gearbox, Sega and everyone else involved, many gamers saw that initial demo, as far as I can remember there was never any notice of "This is not in game footage" like most demos and trailers would have. Sure, E3 demos should never be taken at face value but generally the final product doesn't gain a massive face lift and overhaul from the demo, just a few minor tweaks and improvements.

The one thing I cannot understand and I don't mean to offend anyone that works for Timegate Studios but, I cannot for the life of me think as to why you would outsource the single-player campaign to them. I believe they did do the F.E.A.R while that does give them some experience within FPS game development, I personally wouldn't have made the choice to outsource to them. If anything, if I had to outsource any part of the game to them it would have been the multi-player side of things, considering that's where most of their experience comes into play.

Regarding the "Dead Island" defence...Techland gave forewarning and even made sure to get the word out to people that they shouldn't associate the CGI trailer with the final game product. I have watched a couple of interviews with Techland and they even stated that the game will be entirely different from the trailer.

However Techland were smart with their marketing, they produced a trailer that had impact, they would draw attention to their game, whether people liked it or not and if it would be very different from the trailer itself. it made people talk in a positive way and even now their CGI trailer is being hailed as one of the most powerful trailers out there.

Bringing the focus back onto Alien:CM...the only way I can describe the game is "Soulless", there's no life, there's no sense of danger, you have no care for your AI team mates and you just feel like you are on a tour bus, seeing the sights of the movie set but materialised within the video game world.

I understand the decisions made by Gearbox, I really do but hopefully this will knock some sense into them that they bit off more they could chew. They wanted to focus everything into Borderlands 2 and they did and it was a great turnout but Alien:CM suffered because of that, thus turning Randy's hand to outsource...personally the choices made there don't make sense.

One thing both sides need to take away from this is that reveals/showing off WIPs are very powerful. Developers and Publishers should be aware that what they put up at conventions (without the necessary notes of "WIP" "not final product/may change" etc.) will have a major hype effect, what consumers see, is what they want to get (In case of the E3 Alien:CM demo)

On the flip side, consumers should use common sense with what they see, may not be the final product of what they get. However in this case, I'm afraid everyone, including myself was duped into believing that what we saw at E3 with a reputable developer such as Gearbox, we would get.

I did hope that Gearbox would learn from Duke Nukem: Forever in regards to rushing it and biting off more than they could chew. Now I'm just hoping that this incident will give them that reality wake up call and bring them back to rebuilding the trust, loyalty and reputation that they worked so hard for when they took the world by storm with Borderlands
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Diego Santos Leo Creative Director, GameBlox Interactive8 years ago
The games industry is not immune to actual laws... If you advertise fake gameplay footage with the intention to mislead consumers into thinking that was the actual game (not my place to say if that was the case), you are by definition falsely advertising, that should be enforceable by law as it is on any other industry.

A shame for this great developer, this was a very bad decision and they will probably have to pay the price.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 8 years ago
I agree with you completely, but then again, every AXE deoderant commercial is also false advertisement, as it never had (even remotely) had that effect when I put it on..

The biggest 'criminal' in this case is Gearbox, as they had accepted the job SEGA gave them, but they used (i'm pretty sure) the money in the end for their own game and outsourced it to another without any supervision. And then presenting that demo as being actual ingame footage (knowing that it will not look like that at all running on a console) is certainly a way to try to fool everybody.. And as said above, restricting the release of reviews up to the day of release also point a big finger in the direction that Gearbox knew it would be nothing like they promised....
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
I think those Axe commercials have a disclaimer that says something like "this will not actually get you chicks" along the bottom. If not, I smell a class action coming on (and it smells a lot better than Axe).
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica8 years ago
@ Tim

Theri s a difference bettween Axe commercials and CM. Axe never tryd to be seriose about what they sell and if you dont like Axe its only 4 .
Gearbox on the other hand was serious about the CM Demo and it costs 60 on console and 49 on PC..
After all what happend the last years on the gaming market Gearbox and Sega crossd the line. This kind of behavior needs to be punishd.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
Seriously though, disclaimers are usually everywhere. There's a car commercial in which they CG the car to sort of bounce around the street as if it were someone skateboarding, and there is a disclaimed along the bottom of the screen that says "Sonic is not a skateboard. Do not attempt." Seriously.
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