Aliens: Colonial Marines was an absolute mess. The game had built-in hype as being both a continuation of the Aliens storyline and developed by a studio with, until then, a great track record surrounding the likes of Borderlands.
The title showed up at conventions with what turned out to be a falsified demo. That demo wowed both gamers and game writers again and again up until launch.
Then the real game came out, and it was very bad. The demos were faked, the story was terrible and the actual gameplay was atrocious.
That led gamers to try and sue Gearbox and Sega for false advertising. I’m no legal mind, but bring a fake demo to shows while claiming it’s the real deal in order to sell games is about as false as advertising can get, right? You’re basically duping customers with a much, much nicer product than they’re actually getting.
Not according to Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox. Sega settled and Gearbox was dropped from the suit before it reached class status. Pitchford spoke with Games Industry about the whole thing, dubbing it “a huge waste of time.”
“That whole thing was a huge waste of time. The market proved it was doing its job perfectly. The market is dispassionate – rewarding what it likes and punishing what it doesn’t. There is an objectivity and fairness in the open market’s harsh, firm justice.
For every place the market succeeded, the legal system failed as it was being manipulated by what appeared to me to be essentially mafia style extortion tactics. Sadly, the manipulation would have actually worked, as it had in other cases with those same guys and to the detriment of the industry and gamers and actual, you know, justice. But those guys made a mistake in naming us as defendants because we stood up to them That’s all it took – someone to stand up yo them. And so they lost since they didn’t have a legitimate case.”
Waste of time or not, the game shouldn’t have been sold to consumers in the state it released in.