Aliens: Colonial Marines dev says game “is exceptionally hard”. Blames aliens
In an interview about Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox senior producer Brian Burleson has revealed, “the game by nature is exceptionally hard”. And that difficulty is all due to the Xenos.
Burleson says, “to make [the Xenos] feel as threatening as they are in the franchise, they’ll kill you in two or three hits usually. That’s pretty vicious.” There are difficulty levels but these don’t really affect the aliens themselves, instead Burleson explains: “You add different things like where they’re coming from, you have more of them, you have them coming at you more relentlessly and their AI is more”.
Even playing in co-op won’t give you much of an advantage. “If you have co-op buddies some things scale up and down to give you more of a challenge. More people have more targets – it’s hard to have one Xeno in a hallway getting shot at by four characters and that seem fun.”
The harder difficulty is all about staying true to the films. “We have a lot of painstaking detail to make sure that it feels like the Aliens that you expect,” explains Burleson, “that they can come at you from any opportunity they have”. But while the game’s going to be hard it should still be manageable. “You don’t want to make it unfair, you want to present the player with a challenge they can overcome and when they do they feel like they’ve grown and they’ve learned something, they feel like next time this happens they can be better.”
That translates into potential dangers and threat management that escalates according to the difficulty level. “If you look in a room and there’s four different spots the Xeno’s can come from, maybe in the easiest difficulty there’ll be like one or two spots, but in the hard difficulties they’ll come from behind you and above you,” says Burleson. “You have to approach it differently but the cues are still there and you understand how this could occur, but you have to be better at the perks that let you survive in certain circumstances.”
However, while you might learn and adapt you won’t find it getting easier, even on ‘easy’ says Burelson. “There are going to be some people who just want to experience the campaign and just go through it and not have to worry about getting themselves killed. We’ll definitely account for them in some way but they’re not going to have an easy time of it.”