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Gearbox steps up to defend itself in  Aliens: Colonial Marines  case

Gearbox steps up to defend itself in Aliens: Colonial Marines case

July 31, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Gearbox wants out of the class action lawsuit two purchasers of much-maligned shooter Aliens: Colonial Marines brought against the studio and its publisher, Sega, last year.

Gearbox has filed a motion to "strike the class" of Aliens buyers the suit represents, and also filed another motion for dismissal of claims that keep it attached to the case, which it argues is Sega's responsibility.

Plaintiffs Damion Perrine and John Locke brought a case against Gearbox and its publisher Sega for showcasing one game -- and then selling them another. While "looks better in previews than the real thing" is nothing new in the game industry, the two allege that, in Colonial Marines' case, things got egregious -- and deliberately misleading.

The game was released in 2013 -- after years of hype and troubled development to savage reviews.

As reported by Polygon, Gearbox filed a motion for dismissal, saying that it shouldn't be involved in the case at all: "Gearbox never belonged in this lawsuit. Gearbox is a video game software developer. It was neither the publisher nor seller of the video game at issue."

Gearbox's other motion lists a host of reasons that the plaintiffs can't possibly represent a class of people who bought the game (including the fact that it's impossible to ascertain how many people who bought it watched the pre-release promotional materials and to what extent it influenced their purchasing decision.)

In a declaration alongside the dismissal motion, Gearbox VP of marketing Steve Gibson makes the studio's case against Sega by saying that the publisher approved its development milestones along the way. Gibson also claims the developer dumped millions of its own money into the game -- but never saw a royalty payment thanks to low sales.

If you want to see what the plaintiffs were talking about, by the way, the Polygon review of the game -- a scorching 3.0 out of 10 -- offers side-by-side comparisons between promotional screenshots and the game as released.

According to Polygon, the case almost reached a settlement with Sega in June, but problems with locating plaintiff Perrine -- as it turns out, he's been arrested and incarcerated -- prevented that. A motion has been filed to remove him from the case. If that settlement had been able to move forward, Gearbox would have been dropped from the case.

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