The Aliens: Colonial Marines Demo Looked Great, The Game Not So Much

By almost all accounts, Aliens: Colonial Maries isn't a good game. Patricia certainly didn't care for it, saying that "it was literally a pain just to get through".

But, hey, it happens. Sometimes, for various reasons, video games aren't as good as the people who made them wanted them to be. What's remarkable with Aliens: Colonial Marines has been the fact that the game's developer, Gearbox, showed A:CM off in numerous hands-off demos and previews, and those demos looked far better than the finished game.

In the video above, two chaps from put the demo footage side by side with the actual game. The results are… pretty galling, actually. (They've got the "Demo" and "Final" labels mixed up for a chunk of the video, but have remedied it using YouTube annotations.)

They're playing on PC with their settings maxed, and you can see how vastly different huge chunks of the game look — the final version is missing detail, environmental effects, dynamic lighting, even whole characters. They also take a look at the Xbox version toward the end.

In this video from last year, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford walks viewers through a demo presentation of the game. Patricia, who has played through the game, tells me that the final game is very different from this demo.

It's hard not to get the sense that the story behind Colonial Marines' development is more tortured than your average game. Watching these videos, It seems like Gearbox did know how to make a good Aliens game, but that somewhere along the way, they had to compromise the game.

I've reached out to Gearbox to get their perspective on why the demo differed so vastly from the finished product, and will update if I hear back. In the meantime, this is a good reminder that no matter what a game looks like before it comes out, it's always wise to take these sorts of hands-off demos with a grain of salt. Or a bucketful.


    They actually posted a fixed version with the correct labels, it's linked in the original video.

    Oh well, at least the Collectors edition is still awesome.

    Wow thats disgusting.
    Calling it now, gearbox will never get another AAA IP title to work with again.

      ... except Borderlands 3. Which everyone will buy. Because no one cares about no name movie knock-off games.

        Think about Borderlands objectively for a moment though.

        AI is non-existant. Because there are so many enemies though with simple behaviours, no one tends to notice.

        The graphics are decent - due to the stylised nature of the game - but actually take a look of the textures and models up close.

        Oh, and a decent story? Ha!

          I never understood the popularity of borderlands, its just a grind fest of enemies with no AI and story is non existant. I still remember the promise of 1000 different guns. Gameplay revolves around fetch quests. Oh and don't get me started on those oh so "funny" reddit jokes and memes.

            Dude everything sounds shit when you you lay out the bare minimum facts. Looking at Borderlands objectively is also awfully specific. You know what, some people just like to have fun, some people like stories that *gasp* you don't.

            No amount of thinking (what you believe to be "objectively", I would call "childish posturing") will change what people consider fun. For example; over-simplifying things isn't fun to me, nor is elitism. It obviously is to you.

          I'm not really sure how or why you turned a comment about Gearbox making more successful IPs into a review of Borderlands. Plenty of people like Borderlands for what it is, I don't really think it's relevant to get into its merits as a title while discussing the future of the developers.

    How can Gearbox explain the game going backwards? Has anyone heard from Randy Pitchford explaining what the f**k happened.

      They outsourced it.

        We know that but i want to hear his words on the matter. Its obvious the demo and the final product are two different products. When he was presenting the demo he was excited about it and really pumped about the game, then the final game launched and this is what we got. Im sure he feels deflated over whats happened. I know i do.

        Metroid: Prime was made by several outsourcing companies. Retro had good QC and the game was awesome. The problem isn't outsourcing. It's outsourcing important stuff and not caring about the quality of the work turned in.

    They should have sold the demo instead of the game.

      I was thinking the same thing. Didnt someone back up gearbox's demo? even if its a few levels sell it on steam as the A:CM as it 'should have been' before the outsourcing f**ked it up. I'd buy it if it was a reasonable price.

    First Duke Nukem, now this. These guys are PATHETIC.

      To be fair, for Duke, they just put the pieces given to them by 3D realms and put it together to get it to ship.

      This however, there isn't an excuse.

    I was going to say outrageous but scandalous is far more appropriate. This game is a [email protected]$king heist. Gearbox are discusting for releasing this, they should of lumped the lawsuit with Sega.

    funny video...more more more XD

    Wow, that demo must have been an on rails script, and then they realised they didn't have the technical competency to achieve it.
    It's really just a sad result.

    I think showing that demo to get us to preorder then selling us something very different is fraud. I don't give a s*** if it was Sega, Gearbox or Freddie Mercury it is still not on. I cant even take my PC version back. Grrrr.

    Aliens Colonial Marines
    Another diabolical piece of crap from you guys in the gaming industry!

    Either talent and creativeness took a plunge down the toilet or it's yet another case of dreary money grabbing economists that have taken over, just like every other flag ship out there developing games.
    The game looked and felt nothing like the demo preview what so ever!
    You are a bunch of liars and cheats!

    It's difficalt to fathom the degrees of incompetence that has taken place over the course of six years to produce such an utter piece of smelling turd. Wtf is going on?
    So disillusioned over your lack of repect for the gaming comunity and the cheap "slap a sticker on it and sell" attitude and direction gaming industry is heading right now....just sad!
    Get a grip and step it up ffs!!!

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now