Skip to main content

Sega adds disclaimer to Aliens: Colonial Marines trailers after admitting they didn't accurately reflect final game

Reddit user highlights "absurd" difference between in-game and playthrough footage.

Sega has added disclaimers to its Aliens: Colonial Marines trailers after admitting they didn't accurately reflect the final game.

The decision was made following talks between Sega and the Advertising Standards Agency sparked by a complaint made by a Reddit user called subpardave.

Subpardave wrote to the ASA highlighting what he described as the "absurd" difference between the "in-game" and "playthrough" footage used to advertise the troubled Gearbox Software shooter.

"Of course, the game looked and played NOTHING like what was shown to consumers," subpardave wrote on Reddit.

"My aim was not to get fines, compensation or any of that. Gearbox and Sega spoke very clearly - by saying absolutely nothing - and showed the purchasing community that they would rather this mess all quietly disappear.

"The games industry - like any other - needs to be held accountable for blatantly deceiving the consumer. And doubly so when a wall of silence is the only response to resounding criticism for shipping a shoddy product, having shown off one with all the bells and whistles.

"The ASA has little real power. But negative press? That does."

Subpardave published the letter he received in response from the ASA, which informally upheld the complaint.

"We contacted Sega Europe to discuss this issue," reads the letter. "They explained that their online trailers used demo footage, created using the in-game engine. 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, in some cases several months before release.

"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."

The ASA concluded that with this disclaimer in place customers are unlikely to get the impression that the trailer shows the finished product, "and the ads therefore are unlikely to mislead".

It wasn't long after Aliens: Colonial Marines released, and lacklustre review scores emerged, that the discrepancy between the hands-off demo and the final game that shipped was revealed.

VideoGamer produced a video, below, that showed the difference between the gameplay demo shown to press last year and the game that released earlier this year. It shows that most of the lighting effects and textures had been pared down.

Watch on YouTube

Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford has acknowledged this, but is yet to explain it.

On Sega Europe's YouTube channel, Aliens: Colonial Marines videos carry the following description: "The trailer footage shown uses the in-game engine, and represents a work in progress."

Watch on YouTube

Read this next