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Has Aliens: Colonial Marines Killed The Aliens Game Franchise?

By Gareth Von Kallenbach

The recent game Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the most anticipated
titles of 2013. Sadly a myriad of issues stemming from gameplay issues to
the final game not being as advertised garnered some serious venom and
backlash from consumers and journalists.

While I did not find the game as bad as many of my peers it did not meet
my expectations and is yet another example of the “Alien” license being
mishandled which has resulted in a less than spectacular product for fans
of the series.

With the news that the Wii U version of the game has been cancelled and
very likely the survival horror Alien game as well; I have to ask myself
if we have seen the last game in the series from current license holder
Sega.

There are no doubt companies and developers out there who believe they can
do justice to the brand and would love to take a shock at creating the
defining game for the license.  However with consumer confidence in the
franchise shaken and no films in the series on the horizon, (I am not
counting “Prometheus” sequels), the risk any developer would have to
assume the license would be great unless they can get it for a great deal.
Sega is in a difficult situation as they are holding a license that has
great potential but two straight releases have failed to score with fans
and critics and now they must answer some hard questions about the future
of the franchise at least in regards to their future involvement with it.
It will be interesting to see if the four planned DLC packs for the game
are released as planned or if Aliens: Colonial Marines is destined to fade
into obscurity.   Rather than look at the doom and gloom aspect of the
series present state, I thought it would be good to look at what can be
done to add new life to the series.

For me the first thing would be to get back to the basics of the series.
I was very intrigued by the concept of a survival style Alien game in the
theme of the Dead Space series. The classic original film was at its best
when Ripley was all alone on a dark and scary ship terrified that each
step she took would bring her face to face with the Xenomorph horror.
Imagine how good a similar game where players or small groups of players
must survive dangers on a ship that is infested, and how they must work to
survive not only dangers from the creatures but from a ship that is faced
with severe system failures.

The dark areas of the ship, odd sounds, unexpected dangers and few
resources would make a great basis for a game in my opinion.

Another factor to consider is the next generation consoles along with the
new generation of graphic cards and Direct X 11.  The ability to create
graphics previously unseen by gamers would allow designers and even
greater range in which to explore the “Alien” universe and create some
very scary and captivating visuals and gameplay.

In the early days of online gaming, there was a game called Aliens Online
which was part of an online game service. When games such as DOOM were
state of the art, Aliens Online allowed teams of players to play as either
Colonial Marines or Aliens and battle each other in what today would be
known as a Team Deathmatch.

While this experience has been duplicated in several subsequent games in
the series, few have captured the excitement that this game did during its
limited time online.  With large scale MMORPGS now common, could a MMORPG
Alien game be a hit?

Imagine the Planetside series as a basis for study. Players start out as s
lowly recruit or Alien, and for a third faction we could have the Weyland
Yutani goons.  Players battle one another for resources, survival, and
territory in a realistic ecosphere with day and night cycles, weather, and
the ability to call in some heavily armed vehicles.

Having to secure a key relay station in the dead of night during a severe
storm in order to call in a much needed evacuation is just one of the
possible scenarios and is rife with scenarios for players of any of the
three races to enjoy.

There are also possible avenues for the series in the form of Real Time
Strategies of RPGS as Blizzard has given us primes examples with Star
Craft and Diablo as ways that developers can adapt those genres to the
“Alien” universe.

Time will of course be the ultimate judge of what is to become of the
series but I am optimistic that the series is still viable but I am
realistic that another Aliens: Colonial Marines would likely mark the end
of the gaming franchise for some time, if it is not already at that point
currently.


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