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An editor's note has been added to the bottom of this post. Also, check out Gaming Blend editor Pete Haas' editorial for an alternate opinion on the subject.
You know what we never do in the gaming community when the dog feces, the bird poop and rat dung hit the fan all at once? We never hold accountable the people who feed us the information, the hype, the lies. The people who know that a game sucks but do nothing but shove the hype down our throats. Well, this time the digital diarrhea hit the fan and someone from the inside has spoken up about it letting us all know that big gaming sites like IGN knew about it well before release.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the hot mess that is Gearbox, Sega, Demiurge and TimeGate Studios love child...I'm talking about Aliens: Colonial Marines, a promising game that got hit hard with piss poor critical reviews.
You may or may not have read about the fallout from a developer going on Reddit and spilling the beans about the absolutely clusterbomb of development surrounding Aliens: Colonial Marines? Well it only got worse when Rock, Paper, Shotgun had their own inside source spilling even more beans. And then poop-hitting-the-fan hit an all new level of filth when it was later brought to the attention of the public that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of A:CM were gimped, along with the PC rendition. It was later revealed that sites like IGN -- who were given exclusive access to the game -- were in on the coverup, as noted in the post that appeared shortly after the articles went live. It appeared on the TimeGate Studios forum, submitted by an anonymous user...
The media should've informed the public over this. Thats thier job. What most people don't know, is that there is a back channel that everyone from forum mods to dev teams share. Most of the time its full of superfluous crap and cryptic messages that no one gets unless they are involved with the subject, but the media also tune into this. Even IGN was fully aware of this during the reveal but said nothing (I thought Hatfield was a little stiff).
Everything above ties-in to what was mentioned on the Reddit post and in the Rock, Paper Shotgun article. If you have any further doubts, please refer to the video below which is basically the nail in the coffin.
Believe it or not, all the good parts of Aliens: Colonial Marines from the promo videos are supposedly from the silent-as-a-fart-in-a-dark-room Wii U version of the game, which is supposedly the definitive version of the title and is on indefinite hold. The post above purports that there may be a PC patch to upscale the gimped PC version to equal parity (or above parity) to the Wii U version, but there's nothing concrete to verify that this patch will arrive.
So how is this IGN and the other top-brass's fault if all they were was privy to some back-channel dealings? Well, as the post above notes, they knew about this charade but decided to play along. This happens with a lot of big AAA titles. Mass Effect 3 ending anyone?
What do you think Geoff Keighley and crew at G4TV were all about with exclusive access to games? You think that even now they're ever going to talk about the sucky parts of a game or that what's being advertised isn't what will actually be sold to you? The honest elements? Heck no. Exclusive content in gaming media is all about hype and that means selling lies if they have to.
Gaming media won't break NDAs to stand up for consumers, because that's basically handing hits to the nearest competitor who will bend to the will of the publisher.
There's a lot of gamers out there who wasted $60 on Colonial Marines when it wasn't what it was advertised to be, just going by that video alone. Some of you might even recall the Game Informer interview with Pitchford and crew from Gearbox back in March, 2008 that talked about a lot of the promising features for the game that just did not pan out in the final product.
If it's true that IGN and others did know and decided to play along, then it speaks volumes about whose side they're really on, because if a game sucks before it releases gamers who would like to know about it -- in order to save their money -- should know well in advance. There's no reason to hold off until all the pre-orders are in and the reviews drop the day the game releases to let everyone know that the game isn't up to par.
Even if a game doesn't necessarily suck but still isn't what it was advertised to be, potential consumers should definitely be notified about it, and by all accounts Aliens: Colonial Marines as a finished product was nothing like what it was advertised to be in the promotional demo.
I guess it's just important to keep a close eye on AAA games these days because publishers and a lot of publisher-bought gaming media don't care about you or your money during these tough economic times, and gamers will have to exercise a lot scrutiny and caution before putting their $60 down at the checkout counter.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Upon further review, this article isn't up to our usual standards for editorial, and we regret publishing it in its current state. We work hard to present out opinions in well-researched, well-argued and fair ways, and this article did not pass that test.