Aliens: Colonial Marines interview: “Everything someone who watches the films wants, is covered” says Randy Pitchford
Official PlayStation Magazine UK Having spoken to Ridley Scott, how have you translated his pearls of wisdom and made them work for your game?
Randy Pitchford You know, that first discussion, I wasn’t there, and I’ll never forgive [Gearbox co-founder] Brian Martel for that. But Brian was there. It was a very speculative discussion. They weren’t specifically talking about, ‘Okay, what are we going to do here?’. There was a desire to understand one another and to understand the creative values that were there, and a way that a collaboration could happen.
Ridley got very passionate about it, brought out his storyboards, blew the dust off of them – clearly these hadn’t been out in 15 years or so – and started going through them. When they talked about the film, Brian was sharing what it meant to him, what he’d do with the franchise, and they talked about the backstory. Ridley shared the universe as he sees it, and how and why everything exists. That meeting allowed us to believe that this could happen, and that if it did, it’d be worthy.
OPM What was it like working with Fox? How open was its team to the ideas that you were throwing out at them?
RP 20th Century Fox cares very deeply about its franchises. It also knows the value of talent, and trusts talent. You have a couple of different kinds of people who approach existing talent. Some care about it so much they want to stay with what’s in there. And there’s a risk that they’re not taking enough of a risk, they’re just recreating something that already exists. Then there are others who think they could’ve done it better and want to change it and make it their own.
The correct balance is a bit of both. That’s one of the reasons why we loved Abrams’ Star Trek movie. It’s true to the core of Star Trek, but it also took risks and brought it into a new place. And I think we found a way – like it’s stuff that we’re familiar with and know, but it’s pushing it in new ways. It’s an all-new story, not a retelling of the film. It takes place later, with all-new twists, turns and characters, but we still get to go back to LV-426, we still get to go back to the Sulaco, just like it would’ve been a crappy Star Trek movie if we didn’t get to go on the Enterprise. You’ve got to find a way to have your cake and eat it. It’s gotta be new, it’s gotta be fresh, and you have to provide a storytelling experience that hasn’t been had before.
OPM Have you taken that same approach to the creative licensing as far as weapons go?
RP Really early on we saw the Crusher. We’ve had some fun, we have to make sure that the stuff that we care about is there, but if that’s the only thing that’s there then I’m not surprised or excited by anything new. But it’s tricky if you’re going to add something new, it’s ‘Why is that there? Why is that there?’. You know, like ‘How does the Crusher come to be there?’. Sometimes you can introduce something and it’s just cool that it exists, so you don’t have to worry about it. Hudson has this diatribe before they get on the ship where he talks about how badass the weapons are. What’s fun is you go, ‘Dude, we get to make all that stuff now!’ Stuff that’s not in the film. We’ve made sure that everything that we want, and everything that someone who watches the films wants, is covered.