Aliens: Colonial Marines Interview
Carl Armstrong / Oct 17th, 2012 1 Comment
Aliens: Colonial Marines releases worldwide on February 12, 2013 on PS3, Xbox 360 and for Windows PC computers. The game is also slated for release on Nintendo’s new Wii U console in 2013 as well. In Aliens: Colonial Marines gamers will enjoy an adventure from the same team behind Borderlands and Brothers In Arms. It’s a First-Person Shooter (FPS) that leverages lore from the popular Aliens movie franchise. Our Associate Editor, Carl Armstrong, sat down with Aliens: Colonial Marines Producer Brian Burleson from Gearbox to discuss the game in this interview exclusive to Gaming Illustrated.
Thanks to Miranda L Visser for transcribing this interview.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): It’s Carl here again with GamingIllustrated.com. I’m talking with Brian.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Yeah. Brian Burleson. I’m the Producer on Aliens: Colonial Marines at Gearbox Software.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Well one thing that we’re really really happy about and really proud about is the fact that we’re canonical to the films. If anyone makes another game or film that’s canonical, our game is legitimately a part of that “bible,” that history. So when we work in this universe it’s legit, it’s real; it’s not like an AVP, like just a spinoff or something like that. As true fans of the franchise, this is huge.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): I’ll tell you something now. The interaction of obviously seeing the aliens, obviously the big thing of course, you know: they’re always coming out of the dark crevices and everything, the scare factor and everything like that. Are we going to get something like that with this title? Because what I’ve seen right now, it looks like it’s there.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Yeah. Oh, yeah yeah. Definitely there’s a lot of that in there. You really want to make sure that the tension and the horror that you see in Alien and Alien 3 and even in Aliens is there. And all that has to do with pacing like you want to have action and then you want to have some scary stuff and then you want to have some more action, because we don’t want to fatigue the player. If you liked Aliens and you liked Alien, you’re definitely going to get a good dose of both. The pacing we’re really focusing on is making – we harken back to some of the films. So I’ll leave it at that. It’s kind of fun.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): What engine were you using again for this game?
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): So this is Unreal. We actually completely rewrote the renderer and a bunch of other underlying technology and so we kind of made it a deferred renderer that actually has a lot more features than you see in a lot of other deferred renderers. A guy named Sean Cavanaugh a.k.a. Zoner.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): I remember him.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): He’s like one of the most amazing engineers in the world. He’s one of the best graphical engineers. He pretty much wrote this single-handedly, which is insane. You can see the visual fidelity and how this really runs. And we have some more interesting technological features we don’t usually get to see in deferred renderers like that translucency and the particles are all lit and we have ambient, like real time ambient lighting system and so it actually isn’t just harsh direct lights, you actually get a lot of bounce and a lot of fill lighting that in some deferred rending games you don’t get. You definitely saw a lot of that when you were playing the game today. Every day the artists are doing something new and amazing and it keeps looking better and better.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Gotcha. Now, I’m trying to remember, is there multiplayer mode on this or is it just single player?
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): So Aliens: Colonial Marines has a multiplayer and so you have Team Deathmatch we’re showing here at E3 and there’s a number of other multiplayer modes that are more objective based we haven’t really talked about yet, but those are really exciting.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): What’s the highlight here? We don’t have to save Newt or something like that, right?
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): (Laughs) No. Newt’s pretty dead at this time.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Mostly.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Mostly. I hope. No zombies in this universe, right?
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Right. (laughing)
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): We also have a campaign which has four player co-op; drop in, drop out. And we also have split screen. Definitely play the single player campaign, definitely play the multiplayer. You get a really cool experience playing this game.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): This takes place of course after the original films, correct?
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Right. This actually takes place chronologically after Alien 3.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): And so humans explore a new world? Is it almost kinda what like Aliens was like, but set in the future? Or are we discovering them again? Or are they coming after us? Or a little back story on the actual campaign itself.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Sure sure, yeah. So it happens after Alien 3. You are on a ship called the Sephora which is the sister ship of the Sulaco and you get a distress signal from the Sulaco and you go to check it out. The thing is, the Sulaco is reported lost at the beginning of Alien 3; you get some hints like something really bad happened on Sulaco. That’s when Ripley and Newt get ejected and all that stuff happens.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): No Vasquez.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): No, no Vasquez. She’s very dead.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): She was my favorite.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): I know… she’s really cool actually. But definitely go back to LB426 because that’s where the signal is coming from and we find the Sulaco in orbit. The marines are like, ‘What is this doing here? This should not be here.’ They board it and things go very badly very quickly as one would expect in Aliens universe. Then you’re one of the last guys woken up from hyper sleep and when you come upon the Sulaco a lot of things have happened. Marines were on there before that met some really untimely ends.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Right. I gotcha. How exciting.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): It’s one of those things. Like, it’s bigger, it’s a bigger game. There’s not just like one squad of marines, there’s more going on. So when you’re on the ship, or later one when you’re on the planet, you find survivors. You find the people that were part of other squads and they kind of join up with you. So those are some of the key characters that we have in the narrative. Certainly it’s a much larger universe when it comes to marines.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): So at the end of Aliens they just nuked that one civilian colony, but there’s a whole other planet that’s still left to be discovered?
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Well actually, the atmosphere processor goes very deep. It goes into the earth very very deep. So we’re tapping into the geothermal. So when the atmosphere processor blew it was right next to the colony. The colony: when we looked at it you could see all these wind breakers and shields; this is a violent planet. That place was made to last. It’s a strong facility, but it’s not that strong; you can’t really completely survive a 40 megaton blast. When you actually go back on the planet you end up eventually in the colony and you see what happened afterwards, after the atmosphere processors blew up. That’s right, you get to see all that cool destruction and when it comes to the rendering engine and how beautiful we can make that destroyed kind of aesthetic that something’s familiar, like you remember this from the film, but it’s different now.
Carl Amstrong (Gaming Illustrated): Okay. I gotcha. Alright, well, very exciting. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks so much for the time. I appreciate it.
Brian Burleson (Gearbox): Absolutely. Thank you very much.
tags: aliens , aliens: colonial marines , brian burleson , colonial marines , gearbox , interview , sega