I’m pretty sure that by now, most of you are already aware about the lawsuit against SEGA and Gearbox for the early gameplay trailers and footages of Aliens: Colonial Marines. According to the lawsuit and as described by Polygon, SEGA and Gearbox ‘falsely advertised Aliens by showing demos at trade shows like PAX and E3 which didn’t end up being accurate representations of the final product‘ and that ‘by sending out review code to the press under an embargo that lifted in the early morning of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ launch date of Feb. 12, the game’s pre-orderers and early adopters would have no knowledge of the discrepancies between the demo and final game‘. Hilarious.
What’s our opinion on this lawsuit? It’s simply ridiculous. It’s nonsense. And it will definitely not win in court. You see, each and every demo represents the ‘current state of a game’. As you may already know – and there are always tiny little small letters indicating that – game demos are not representative of the final product. Yes, Aliens: Colonial Marines may have looked like that a couple of years ago. Yes, Aliens: Colonial Marines is perhaps a completely different game now. Yes, Aliens: Colonial Marines’ E3 gameplay demo could have been a hoax. However, that is irrelevant and does not give customers the right to pre-order a game, and demand its final version to be just the way it was a couple of years ago.
Since examples are better than trying to explain this simple thing, let’s take a look at Metal Gear Solid 2 and Duke Nukem Forever. Duke Nukem Forever has been in development for a lot of years, saw three game engine changes, and the final product featured completely different levels and gameplay mechanics from those showcased back in 2001. Why didn’t people sue the hell out of it? Hell, even its latest gameplay trailers were better than the game itself, yet people did not bother with it. How ironic is this? The same people who complain today did nothing about this legendary failure.
MGS2 is another great example. All of MGS2’s gameplay trailers featured Solid Snake. And then, out of nowhere, Kojima ‘killed’ Snake and forced us to continue playing MGS2 with Raiden, a character that was nowhere as good as Snake. A character that looked like a failed Japanese anime dude. A character that made some people hate the entire MGS franchise. Every MGS2 trailer, every preview, everything that Kojima showcased back in the PS2 days hinted that Snake was the main protagonist of the game, and that players would be controlling him. Kojima trolled everyone, yet no one did anything about this false advertisement of MGS2.
And how about the E3 demo of Bioshock: Infinite? You know, that gameplay footage with those amazing physics (needless to say that the game’s physics were nowhere as good as those featured in that E3 footage). Make no mistake, we loved Bioshock: Infinite. However, the final product feels like a completely different game from the version that was demoed a couple of years ago. Hell, even Elizabeth had bigger boobs. Some people may have pre-ordered that game for Elizabeth’s boobs. Why didn’t they sue Irrational for making them smaller when they showcased those big boobs?
There are countless other examples of such things (Doom 3 and Half Life 2 anyone?). Point is that people should not pre-order games based on some gameplay footages that were either leaked or officially released. People should have an open mind, and think for themselves. People should be able to try a game before actually buying it, and if there is no demo, then they should not purchase it based on specific reviews/previews/coverages. People should collect information from lots of places (blogs, websites, etc.), and figure out themselves whether that game is worth their money or not.
Aliens: Colonial Marines - E3 2011: 11-Minute Live Demo Walkthrough
At this point, let me borrow a line from the first MGS game (only slightly changed to reflect our point):
“So why are we here then? Why do we continually persist into informing our readers about PC titles? Why do we keep writing? Well… we’ll tell you why.”