Early animation from Obsidian’s Aliens: Crucible has emerged in the wake of Gearbox’s less-than-stellar Colonial Marines launch.
It’s not a great time to be an Aliens fan. After almost seven years of heightened expectations, Aliens: Colonial Marines launched to a reception colder than one for a chest-burster on the Sulaco. When the dust settled, revealing Metacritic rankings below 50%, it quickly became clear that Aliens: Colonial Marines wasn’t the game players wanted. The question is, what would be? One possibility was a cancelled Aliens RPG from the same period developed by Obsidian Entertainment. In the wake of Gearbox’s panned effort, rough footage from Obsidian is making the rounds online, giving us an idea of what other developers had in mind.
The game, titled Aliens: Crucible in-video, was a turn-based RPG first announced in 2006. If released, Crucible would still have featured the iconic Colonial Marines, although Obsidian’s version allowed players to choose a specific player class to be upgraded over the course of play. Obsidian cancelled the project in 2009, citing the need to “consider the type of game we want to release”, although CEO Feargus Urquhart believed Aliens: Crucible looked ready to ship.
Whether the game was ready or not, the first video provides some interesting animation work, despite the lack of textures. While we’ll never know how the models would fit into a completed game, the Xenomorphs appear incredibly lithe and graceful, an impression that isn’t given in Aliens: Colonial Marines‘ multiplayer modes. A little digging on YouTube uncovers a second video from a reported 2007 prototype, although if they are connected it seems the animation received a major overhaul during development.
Obsidian went on to launch the popular Fallout: New Vegas following Crucible‘s cancellation, so perhaps it’s for the best that focus wasn’t split between projects. Either way, perhaps one day we’ll see a modern take on the franchise, RPG or otherwise, that earns more respect from Aliens fans and gamers.