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E3 2012 | Aliens: Colonial Marines Interview with Design Director John Mulkey

Posted on June 8, 2012 AT 11:54am

When working on a game that’s based on a beloved franchise, there are several things to keep in balance.  You have to make sure that you’re creating a great experience for players while keeping true to the franchise.  With the Alien franchise being one of the most revered horror series in existence, Gearbox has a big job of making sure their fans love Aliens: Colonial Marines.  After being trounced by the Gearbox devs in an incredibly fun multiplayer match, I got to talk to Gearbox Design Director John Mulkey about his perspective on how the game is coming.

The first thing we talked about was where the inspiration came from for the game.  John mentioned that Gearbox has partnered with 20th Century Fox to make this game the canonical sequel to the Aliens movie.  They’ve gotten the rights to use characters and locations from the film to make sure it’s as authentic an experience as possible for the player.  He also said that it was very important to the team that the fans of the Alien series were pleased with how the game turns out.  He mentioned that there are a lot of huge Aliens fans on staff making sure that happens.

Next I asked John if he preferred playing as a marine or an alien in the multiplayer matches.  He thought for a moment and then said that it was a very hard question to answer because each of the classes are so different to play.  When you’re playing as the aliens, you’re sneaking around the level trying to take out lone soldiers or overwhelming a group of them.  As the marines, you need to stick together and keep your eyes peeled to the walls for the attackers.  Like the movies, he said, they are so different that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite.  I then asked if playing as the aliens feels more like Alien and playing as the marines feels more like Aliens and he agreed.

After that, we discussed how people were reacting to the multiplayer portion of the game here at the show.  He said that the reaction had been mostly positive, but that there was one thing he had been noticing about the patterns people were following when playing as marines.  Starting out, they would go off by themselves, trying to play the game more like a regular FPS.  As the aliens would start picking people off one by one, people would start to stick more together and find a more open area.  The interesting thing about this pattern is that it plays out just like it does in the movies.  Reflecting back about my previous multiplayer match, I not only recalled that this was completely true about my experience, but that it gave a really powerful feeling of really being a part of the Aliens universe.

Big thanks to Sega and Gearbox for setting up this wonderful chat with Design Director John Mulkey and thanks to John for the awesome chat.  Check out Aliens: Colonial Marines when it comes out February 12th next year for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360.

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