Platform: Playstation 2 Release Date: Cancelled Genre: First Person Shooter Publisher: Fox Interactive, Electronic Arts Developer: Check Six
Electronic Arts first announced Aliens: Colonial Marines back in May 2001 and it was going to be released in Autumn of that year. The game itself was a first-person squad-based shooter and you could play as one person from a group of colonial marines sent to investigate the Sulaco.
At the start, you come across the Sulaco which has been boarded by a salvage vessel which is stealing the ship’s military equipment and resources. The commanding officer, Lt. Nakamuri, orders your ship to dock on the Sulaco after the salvage vessel fails to respond. Your tasked to find out what happened and get the Sulaco back up and running by putting out fires and cleaning up toxic spills. It is discovered that the Xenomorphs were aboard the Sulaco and have infected the crew of the salvage vessel.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is broken into levels and is mission-based. There are three main acts in the game, and each one is made up of about seven levels. The first act takes place on board the Sulaco and the makers hinted that the final act would take place on the aliens’ home planet. The game’s weapons are all inspired by what we saw in Aliens.
There are flamethrowers, pulse rifles with grenade-launcher attachments, and the shoulder-mounted smart gun. As for the aliens, the familiar creatures appear like Facehuggers, Chestbursters, Warriors and Praetorians but we’ll see “more than two new types”.
Why It Was Cancelled
In April 2002, EA confirmed Aliens Colonial Marines was coming out in November 2002 but a month or so later, EA said that the game was on hold and was no longer being developed. Electronic Arts officially cancelled ACM in October 2002 and said “there were no plans to pick up its development in the future”. The official reason as to why it was cancelled is still not known but we believe the game was suffering development problems on the Playstation 2 hardware. In IGN’s E3 Preview, they noted that the game had some framerate issues:
The game moves a slow framerate right now, but the controls were imminently better than in Alien Resurrection, with quick response and rapid turnaround times. I was glad to finally play a game that played like the movies, and that is also good. Now they just have to speed the game up to 60 fps, speed up and tune the controls and work story-based scripts into the game, hopefully like in Half-Life of Red Faction, and they’ll have a hit on their hands.
Check Six only ever released one game and it was Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly which they co-developed with Equinoxe Digital Entertainment. The game was released in November 2002 to negative reviews. Many critics noted the serious framerate problems as well as technical issues. A second title was planned but cancelled after the negative reviews. Check Six also had to pay Universal a fee for violating a contract and the financial impact led to the closure of Check Six and Equinoxe.
In an interview with Wumpa Gem, Joel Goodsell, game director for Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, spoke about the troubles the game had and mentioned Aliens: Colonial Marines was also having major technical problems.
Check Six also had a contract with Warner Brothers for an Alien Colonial Marines game being worked on simultaneously with Spyro. The game had some amazing lighting – on the order of what we see in Alien Isolation or Dead Space – way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, performance and production issues killed that title.