In July, Gearbox Studios began sharing details of its oft-delayed Aliens franchise game, Aliens: Colonial Marines, which would follow a single player campaign of a customizable main character joining fellow human marines facing off against slavering Xenomorph hordes, and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes where players competed against xenomorphs and other players’ customizable marines. What the game didn’t feature, however, was the ability to create a female marine.
This struck many as pretty out of… well, character, for a series that included women like Ripley and Vasquez, both formidable soldiers in their own right. A petition was begun, reasoning that with yet another recent delay in the game’s release, Gearbox would have the time to create gender options. This weekend we got the exciting news that it actually paid off.
Community manager Chris Faylor delivered the news:
“I am happy to be able to confirm that female marines are playable in competitive multiplayer as well as co-op, complete with customization elements,” Faylor wrote to the petitioners. “This is something the team has been planning and working on for quite some time, and that work is finally at the point where we can confirm it will indeed ship with the game when it releases on February 12, 2013.”
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford stated unequivocally that there would also be female characters present in the game’s story campaign, saying that they’d been in the works for some time, but that the company didn’t want to show off unfinished concepts, so they’d remained completely silent on the issue of whether female characters were in the game. The four-thousand-plus-signature petition that included some of the original cast of the Aliens movies, however, changed their minds about keeping quiet, and so they revealed Private Jennifer Redding, a playable character in the story campaign, at PAX Prime this weekend.
To which I say: buuuuuuullpucky. (This minced oath brought to you by the discovery, by this writer, of the term “minced oath” this weekend.) The original cast of the movie your game is based on has joined a petition to include female characters, you’ve been working on them the whole time, and you can’t just come out and say “Hey guys, we’re working on female characters right now, actually! Check back in a couple months to see the results!” As The Escapist points out, the game was far enough along to have multiple trailers made from in-game footage while your female characters were still in the design stage.
So you underestimated fans’ desire for the more representative universe displayed by your source material. It’s okay, because you listened to them, and corrected yourself. Just say it. I guarantee that candidly admitting it and giving some lip service to how you learned a valuable lesson will only increase the number of people interested in buying the game. That said: now it’s up to all those people who supported the petition to support the game, and make some badass lady soldiers of their own.
(via The Escapist.)