The majority of Gearbox Software's Aliens: Colonial Marines was not actually built by Gearbox, a report suggests.
Comments from an ex-Gearbox developer dug up by Superannuation suggest that the majority of the game was outsourced to TimeGate Studios, developer of downloadable console shooter Section 8: Prejudice and various FEAR expansion packs.
"Hate to say it, but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high for Colonial Marines," the ex-dev wrote last year. "I used to work at Gearbox, and the development of that game has been a total train wreck, going on what, six years now?
"Gearbox isn't even making the game, except for the multiplayer. Primary development was outsourced to TimeGate Studios, which has a less than stellar past."
The author of the comments indicated that he was one of the founders of Texas start-up Armature Studio, who are known to be Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Jack Mathews, although it's not clear exactly who was commenting.
Sega refused to comment on the matter when approached by Eurogamer.
News that TimeGate - and others - have contributed to the game is not new. But the explanation above appears to contradict comments from Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford, who previously told Gamasutra that 80 per cent of the work on the game had been done in-house.
Speaking to IGN yesterday, Pitchford stated that TimeGate had contributed 20-25 per cent of the game, while Nerve worked on maps for the game's multiplayer.
Shoot Many Robots developer Demiurge worked on a prototype of the game for nine months, before taking control of the Wii U version.
Eurogamer's appraisal of the finished product suggests that at the very least Aliens: Colonial Marines wasn't the product of Gearbox's best team.
"Colonial Marines aims low and it still misses the target, and that's almost entirely because of the wretched game engine," Dan Whitehead wrote in Eurogamer's just-published 3/10 Aliens: Colonial Marines review. "The game feels like it's constantly on the verge of collapsing completely, and one of the only positive things that can be said about it is that it never quite does."
"What little hope Colonial Marines offers comes from multiplayer," Dan continued. "Neither mode is spectacular, but they are where the game comes closest to earning the Aliens logo on the box."
Watch the opening to Aliens: Colonial Marines below and you'll be presented with the following credit reel:
- Sega presents
- With 20th Century Fox
- A Gearbox Software production of
- A TimeGate Studios
- Demiurge Studios
- Nerve Software
- and Gearbox Software game.
TimeGate's official site is still displaying a hiring poster for work on Aliens: Colonial Marines. The studio may be working on the game's four DLC add-ons. Publisher Sega yesterday announced a season pass for the content, priced 2400 Microsoft Points/£19.99.
Gearbox, meanwhile, is still pumping out excellent Borderlands 2 DLC on a regular basis.