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Aliens: Colonial Marines - Does it respect the series' legacy?

Hollywood talent and lost movie concepts used to make sure...

Authenticity is king for Gearbox's Aliens, and while we've all seen the familiar stuff - power loaders, pulse rifles, motion sensors, and all that - there's a lot more to it.

What do you do when − inevitably − you need things that weren't in the original movies? How do you add to these iconic worlds without seeming derivative... or worse, just rubbish?

"When we were in concept development, we reached out to Syd Mead," says Randy Pitchford, Gearbox CEO. Mead was concept artist on James Cameron's Aliens movie.

"He designed the Colonial Marines' spacecraft, the Sulaco," says Pitchford, "Plus the Hadley's Hope colony and so many other things from the Aliens film. He had a lot of content that was never used in the film, since they only built sets out of a few of the rooms."

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So working with Mead means Colonial Marines is able to dig even deeper into the authentic world of Aliens than the movies did. "Syd also agreed to do a whole lot of new pieces to flesh out things that were in his head but never were put to paper," says Pitchford.

The game follows the movie timeline, and is set after Alien 3. You explore locations from the second film (now weathered with age and infested with Xenomorphs).

What's more, writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, late of the superbly dark and intelligent Battlestar Galactica remake, are scripting, so expect a quality tale - perhaps even a better one than Hollywood's Alien Resurrection...

It certainly feels convincingly sinister, especially with Gearbox's new lighting engine bathing the game in the blues, reds and blacks of the films.

As a shooter it plays a little standard, at least in what we've seen so far, opting for the solo-player thrill-ride approach, rather than offering the free-form co-op experience many were hoping for.

But as a homage to the films, Colonial Marines could be just the thing you've been searching the void for.

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