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Old 07-15-2018, 08:55 AM   #1
Emabulator
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Xenos In Aliens: Colonial Marines De-lobotomized By Fixing A Typo


Tales from the Gearbox Software crypt. Game Informer has the story.

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It's no secret that Aliens: Colonial Marines was a mess. The story was lackluster, the gunplay unsatisfying. Worst of all, encounters with the game's xenomorphs could be downright comical. Instead of the stalking menaces we saw in the films, players were left fighting aliens that acted surprised to be there. But what if there was an easy way to mitigate at least some of the damage? A modder's discovery from a year ago is suddenly getting a lot of attention for doing just that.

James Dickinson, who has been working on an overhaul mod for the game, made the bizarre discovery while poking around with the game's configuration files. By correcting a typo in a .ini file from "teather" to "tether," the aliens seem to gain a whole new interest in actively participating in the game. You can see the full instructions in his post.

I decided to give it a shot, so I reinstalled the game and tested it out myself. First, I launched it as-is, and was instantly reminded of why I thought it stunk when I reviewed it five years ago. The aliens didn't behave like they did in the films; instead of behaving like cunning predators, they sprinted at characters like they just wanted to get it all over with as quickly as possible.

Then I fixed the typo. The difference was significant. The xenos seemed as though they were more aware of their surroundings, incorporating cover into their attacks and generally behaving like active participants in their game. Dickinson speculates that the typo prevented the A.I. from reacting to its environment or switching routines from, say, patrolling to flanking. Regardless of what's happening under the hood, it's worth trying. You're not likely to make it any worse, after all. (Case in point: On a fresh install, the game dropped me into the world without my pulse rifle. Or at least, it wasn't visible or functional. At least my shotgun decided to come along.)
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:28 AM   #2
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The Stasis Interrupted DLC was actually kinda good in a Doom 3 clone kinda way. However, no amount of Alien AI re-jiggering can make the base campaign come close to tolerable. I've played a lot of shitty games, most of which have something redeeming hidden underneath. Aliens Colonial Marines offers nothing of value.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:04 AM   #3
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so Gearbox are not only retarded, they are actually incompetent
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Old 07-15-2018, 03:12 PM   #4
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so Gearbox are not only retarded, they are actually incompetent
unless they hired someone else to do the Q/A and can point it as external failure. So yeah.
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Old 07-15-2018, 03:22 PM   #5
davidj.dk
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unless they hired someone else to do the Q/A and can point it as external failure. So yeah.
there was this whole debacle about who actually developed the game, and whether or not gearbox was funneling money from this game to fund borderlands. Which I dont believe is too far fetched.

But, no matter who developed it, they must have at least seen the product in a "working" state, and when reviews comes out bashing the product (for the ai among lots of other things), wouldn't you want to figure out why it seems everybody thinks it's bad, when you've seen it perform better?

nevertheless, gearbox (along with double fine) remains my top despised gaming companies currently still operating because of their business practices and their obvious hatred towards gamers
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Old 07-15-2018, 03:33 PM   #6
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there was this whole debacle about who actually developed the game, and whether or not gearbox was funneling money from this game to fund borderlands. Which I dont believe is too far fetched.
Was it Borderlands or Battleborn which was the "AAA" IP they were working on at the time? I think there was also some controversy about the same around Duke Forever.

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nevertheless, gearbox (along with double fine) remains my top despised gaming companies currently still operating because of their business practices and their obvious hatred towards gamers
Absolutely the same here. Double Fine with their inability to properly crowd fund (Spacebase DF9 failure and the overscope debacle of their Double Fine Adventure) + the ballsy effort of then launching their own "investor" platform. Capping it all off with their absolute disrespect toward their fans and the gamer community in general makes me see them in a totally negative light. I once counted myself honored to have been able to work with Schaffer now I wonder at my nativity.

Gearbox is just one sleazy business decision after another in the last 5 or 7 years. Very disappointing but I still have hope they'll pull something together that isn't Borderlands or take Borderlands to the next level. To me Gearbox, unlike Double Fine, are redeemable.
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:07 PM   #7
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It was Borderlands. And Randy Pitchford is a total sleazebag. That game had its own controversy where it was proven without a doubt Randy had plagiarized the setting and reworked art style from Ben Hibon's Codehunters short:



He used Sega's money to hire several smaller studios to develop Aliens Colonial Marines. Gearbox never had a dedicated in-house team.

Duke Nukem was a low effort cash grab. Where Randy comes in is how he directly manipulated modder/aspiring game designer Frederik Schreiber and his team at Interceptor Entertainment (recently renamed Slipgate Studios after Schreiber became VP of the newly launched 3D Realms) by awarding them a license to remake Duke Nukem 3D. They generated a ton of good faith with the community back then and everyone was singing his praises. In truth Pitchford had set them up to work on a Duke game without pay and with no release date, barring it from ever coming out to the public. They got very far into development before their own lawyers explained how they were literally wasting time on a project that can never be finished because of the legal language Pitchford had drawn up. Schreiber and his team walked away to do their own thing (Rise of the Triad, Bombshell, Ion Maiden) and DNF flopped.

Randy's shady shit goes at least as far back as the Halo PC port where Microsoft money disappeared. And there's rumors about when he was an errand boy for George Broussard in the early 90s. More recently he was accused and admitted to plagiarizing art for Borderlands 2. Battleborn was a huge financial disaster. With Borderlands 3 pushed back at least another year they only have re-releases to keep them going. Gearbox is one of the highest profile studios on deathwatch. I've known about the tightrope act they've been doing for years. The general public has really gained knowledge of it until ACM.

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Old 07-16-2018, 12:35 AM   #8
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To be honest I'm very surprised they are still going 3 flops and you're out is the most I've seen a studio endure. Though they did outsource to their australian studio for the borderlands pre-quel.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:46 AM   #9
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To be honest I'm very surprised they are still going 3 flops and you're out is the most I've seen a studio endure. Though they did outsource to their australian studio for the borderlands pre-quel.
Isn’t that their trick though? They outsource game projects to what are basically Mod teams, while charging the publishers as if they are being developed by a AAA team and then they steal most of the money to keep the studio afloat.

You can do that for a while, but it will catch up to them at some point.
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:47 AM   #10
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Brings back memories of one of the best game reviews ever.
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:12 PM   #11
davidj.dk
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Brings back memories of one of the best game reviews ever.
wow.. no wonder a movement for ethics in games journalism blew up the year after..
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:30 AM   #12
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Brings back memories of one of the best game reviews ever.
Huh. That review is an interesting read. You can clearly see the passages where the author tried to warn his readers and tell them: "It's an okay effort, but don't expect too much", but they are blanketed by over-the-top praise for things that can't be judged objectively. He speaks of the bad AI for both team mates and alien grunts, mediocre visuals and downright ugly cutscenes. I suspect this was one of the reviews where the 9 out of 10 is set as the goal, and it's up to the writer to try and reach it, no matter what.

Also, if I remember correctly and try to block out the outrage over the fake presentations, "Alien: Colonial Marines" was actually an average title, not a complete stinker. Oh, and it WAS considered canon at the time. So, whilke I personally didn't care for it (had to try the game at release), ultra-fans of the franchise might have found something to like in there...
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:08 AM   #13
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They removed the author's name from the review but this is the guy.
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