While we've known for a while now that Gearbox's upcoming Aliens: Colonial Marines makes extensive use of original concept art from the movie it's based on, 1986's Aliens, it's still a surprise to see it brought to life 25 years later.
I caught a showing of the game during Gamescom last week, a demonstration that was staged in two parts. The first was a repeat of the E3 demo that Crecente caught, and I'm of the same opinion: it looked great. Unlike 2009's dreadful Aliens vs Predator, it looked fast, slick and suspenseful, everything you'd ask for from an Aliens game.
Well, almost everything. As a big fan of the film, authenticity is also important, and the second part of the demo was useful for getting a gauge of this. A montage of other sequences of the game (the demo is a long playthrough of an early level), it shows numerous locations from the classic movie, like the Queen's nest (and surrounding catacombs), the remaining sections of the colony that survive the nuclear explosion at the end of the flick, and the interior of an identical ship to that of the Sulaco.
It all looks exactly as you'd want it to. This isn't a contemporary game studio's interpretation of a 1986 movie. It's a 1986 movie recreated in painstaking detail, everything from the uniforms to the environments to incidental pieces of technology looking the part.
I didn't get hands-on with the game, so can't vouch for how it plays, but it certainly looks good. The one aspect of the old Aliens first-person shooters I never did like were the Marines levels, as they were too reliant on horror, darkness and cheap scares.
Those were the hallmarks of the first Alien movie, not the second. And what I saw of this game showed Gearbox understands this. There were a few scares, as expected, but most combat was more the "shoot every swarming bad guy that shoots out of the floor" variety, not the "creep around in the dark" variety. It looked more exciting than terrifying.
Aliens: Colonial Marines will be out in Spring 2012. You can see a collection of Gamescom assets for the game here.