The creators of Aliens: Colonial Marines have been named as defendants in a class action false advertising lawsuit.
The suit, filed by Edelson LLC in the district of Northern California, and obtained by Polygon, said Sega and Gearbox knowingly misled the public by claiming that trade show demos were “actual gameplay.” The suit also points to comments made by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford that appeared to concede there were discrepancies in quality between what was shown pre-release, and what consumers received in the final product.
“That is understood and fair and we are looking at that,” said Pitchford at the time. “Lots of info to parse, lots of stake holders to respect. Lots to learn and discuss here… Beyond the scope of twitter. I appreciate and value criticism. I do not appreciate threats, insults, rudeness and intent not to add value, but to injure.
“I have always profited from criticism and, thankfully, I have never been in short supply.”
The suit also contends Sega and Gearbox manipulated the press by embargoing any review coverage of Aliens: Colonial Marines until release day in order to protect preorder sales of the game, and to keep as many consumers as possible from hearing about discrepancies between what was shown prior to release, and what was contained within the final product.
“Each of the ‘actual gameplay’ demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities,” said Edelson. “Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants never told anyone – consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters – that their ‘actual gameplay’ demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers.”
Subsequent to a complaint lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, Sega acknowledged its trailers were “misleading”, and agreed to add disclaimers both to the game’s website, and to the game’s trailers on YouTube clarifying that the content shown was demonstrative only.
In April, Sega cancelled the then-still-in-development Wii U version of Aliens: Colonial Marines.