Aliens: Colonial Marines was, to put it politely, not well received when it released on Feb. 12. First announced in February 2008, it would be fair to say that the five-year wait for Aliens: Colonial Marines ended with one of the more spectacular critical bashings laid on a game since the 2011 release of Duke Nukem Forever. With Gearbox Software’s president Randy Pitchford indicating that Aliens: Colonial Marines will “lose a huge amount of money,” publisher Sega is likely wishing that it had released the other Aliens game it hired Obsidian to develop back in 2006. Even more so now that a leaked gameplay demo shows that Obsidian Entertainment’s Aliens RPG was all but finished when it was canceled in 2009.
Unseen 64 uncovered a 13-minute video of Obsidian’s game, called Aliens Crucible here demonstrating basic play and character creation. The build is said to be from between 2008 and 2009—the above screenshot is date December 2008—shortly before the game was canceled. It features full voice work and shows some of the basic actions player characters can perform such as hacking computers and healing. It all shows some of the character customization tools that are similar to Obsidian’s other Sega RPG from that time, Alpha Protocol, though no special skills or leveling is demonstrated. The game’s environments are less similar to the blue and gray tones of James Cameron’s Aliens and more readily recall Ridley Scott’s Alien and David Fincher’s Alien 3.
Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart told Joystiq in 2010 that Aliens Crucible was all but complete when Sega pulled the plug. “[If] you had come in and played any of the last builds we were working on, you would have said it was a finished game,” said Urquhart, “That’s how close we were. It looked and felt like it was ready to ship.” Rather than release the game, Sega said it had reassessed “the type of [Aliens] game we want to release” and canceled the game in June 2009.
This isn’t the first time that materials from Aliens Crucible have come out. Concept art produced for the game leaked onto the web in September 2011.
It’s unlikely, but Sega has rescued canceled Aliens projects in the past. Aliens Infestation for Nintendo DS by WayForward was rumored to be canceled around the same time as Obsidian’s RPG but it was ultimately released in October 2011.