Gearbox Software and Sega were not exactly forthright about Aliens: Colonial Marines prior to its release. Footage of guided demos of its campaign show a demonstrably different game than what was ultimately sold on consoles and PCs in February. During a demo session with the game in November, Gearbox told us that a number of features that would end up in the final game – like randomized item placement – weren’t in the final product. Even the trailers were misleading. That’s why Sega now has to put a disclaimer on all of the promotional materials out there for the game.
One disgruntled UK player, disappointed with the game and frustrated by the way it was presented compared to what was actually released, contacted the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency regarding Aliens: Colonial Marines. His goal was to not receive compensation but to hold Sega and other game publishers accountable for selling subpar wares under false pretenses. “Gearbox and Sega spoke very clearly – by saying absolutely nothing – and showed the purchasing community that would rather [Aliens] quietly disappear,” reads a statement from the player on Reddit, “The games industry, like any other, needs to be held accountable for blatantly deceiving the consumer.”
The ASA in turn contacted Sega in regards to the complaint. Sega, as it’s done with almost all inquiries related to Aliens: Colonial Marines, did not itself respond nor did Gearbox Software. However, Sega is now at least amending promotional videos of the game on YouTube, its websites, and other outlets online.
“Sega explained that their online trailers used demo footage, created using the in-game engine,” reads a letter from the ASA, “Sega Europe understood the objections raised about the quality of the game in relation to the trailers but explained that they weren’t aware of these issues when the trailers were produced.”
“Sega Europe acknowledged your objection that the trailers did not accurately reflect the final content of the game. They agreed to add a disclaimer, both on their website and in all relevant YouTube videos, which explains that the trailers depict footage of the demo versions of the game. The disclaimer will be visible when each online trailer is played.”
It’s a small concession made by the publisher in the wake of one of its worst received releases in years. Gearbox Software, however, has still never publicly acknowledged how misleading the demos of the game shown to press ahead of the game’s release were.