E3 2012

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    Gearbox's John Mulkey on 'Aliens: Colonial Marines'

    7 June 2012 | Written by Maxxum

    When they [Gearbox] did the research for the game, they had spoken with the original director ... how much of this stuff are things with which you're familiar; did you see the movie in theaters, did you already have the memories in your head when you were tasked to design the game?

    Oh, god yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah yeah. [laughs] I'd seen the original films, I saw 'em in the theater, which was awesome. Actually when I saw "Aliens", I was living in Portland, Oregon and it was the biggest screen in the city - it was enormous. It was back in the old days when a theater would have one screen, and it was the biggest freakin' screen in the world. THX had just come out, so it was THX certified, and, oh my god, y'know it was just like amazing. I always remember that one part, where she's on the hospital bed in the beginning, and she knocks over the IV tower and there's that big [noise] when it hits the ground... the sound was amazing it just hit so big ... it's a weird thing to remember, but for some reason, that's always stuck with me, this little weird thing from the film.

    I have the same issue with the motorized gun pods. I saw it in theaters as a kid, and I was freaked out, and I remember when it came out on VHS, they had taken those out. Then, they were back on the special edition DVD. I don't know why I liked those things so much. I saw you had them in the game when we watched the demo at PAX.

    Yes, you can set 'em up yourself.

    With regards to "Prometheus", and [Gearbox] had mentioned that the canon ... the Alien series are going to be following that as well; are they going to be coming out with a "Prometheus" game?

    I haven't heard anything about that. That would be really cool, I think they could do some cool stuff with it ... it would make for a good game.

    Are you still on schedule for next year, or is the schedule out the window and it's done when it's done?

    Oh, no no... time has been taken off the table as one of the elements we can mess with [laughs]; so, we are just workin' our butts off to bring everything together. Right now, we're headed toward our alpha, tunin' everything up, getting everything feeling good, and everything is really starting to come together, and that's such a magical point in development - where everything starts coming together, you can play through the whole game. You're just starting to experience it and tune it, and really hone the experience, and that's where we're at and it's so exciting.

    From when I saw the demo at PAX, an issue I observed, it looks like the complexity of the graphics changed. Is that just a symptom of the early alpha stages?

    Yeah, definitely. We've done a bunch of work with the renderer and such, we have to make sure that the assets are leveraged ... to make it have the film quality from the "Aliens", James Cameron style. It's amazing. Some of the areas that have been finished out in that, oh my god, it's great - it's like you're walking around in the movie. It's really, really, cool.

    Do you have an idea of what kind of specs you'll need to play the game on PC?

    I'm not sure. Something cool I imagine. [laughs]

    I'm still working with a dual-core Opteron. Will people like myself without advanced systems be able to play?

    Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll have variability. Most anybody is gonna be able to play this I hope; we wanted as many people as possible to experience this and enjoy it. We want to make it as accessible as possible.

    Are you going to be incorporating DLC?

    We will be incorporating... well, we haven't... I don't think we've announced any DLC. Um... [laughter] Dramatic pause. So, y'know, we'll see where it goes... [laughs]

    How about expansions?

    Haven't announced anything. [smiles]

    Journalist Comments:

    In speaking with John, one thing that became immediately evident was his enthusiasm not just for the game, but for the movie. I uploaded the part of the interview where he discusses seeing the movie in theaters so you can hear how excited he was. I think fans of the series can relax with the knowledge that John Mulkey is the Design Director at Gearbox Software.