In a tantalising storyline teaser that explores narrative threads left hanging by James Cameron’s 1986 sci-fi action blockbuster Aliens and its sequel Alien³, Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines sets itself up as a game to deliver an intriguing storyline as well as tense and terrifying action.
The most significant surprise for fans of the Alien canon will be the reappearance of Corporal Dwayne Hicks and the Sulaco starship which transported the colonial marines to their doom on the xenomorph-infested planet of LV-426. The opening sequences of David Fincher’s Alien³ movie had us believe the Sulaco was destroyed, with only Ripley (and parts of the android Bishop) surviving the resultant evacuation to the prison planet, Fury 161.
You’re Not Reading it Right
However, the new trailer for Aliens: Colonial Marines sees a derelict Sulaco inexplicably back in orbit around LV-426 and a transmission from an injured Cpl. Hicks is shown, which may or may not have been recorded before his supposed demise in an escape pod crash. The Hadley’s Hope colony, presumed to have been destroyed in a nuclear explosion in the final act of Aliens, appears to be largely intact and still crawling with xenomorphs.
One scene, evidently on the planet surface, shows a captive human in an olive military T-shirt with his face obscured as the overlaid dialogue asks, “Captain, who did we bring back?” The presence of a bandaged left bicep in both the Hicks video transmission and on the mystery prisoner could mean it is Hicks himself, but is it possible that one of the other characters from Aliens could have survived?
Of the white male marines who weren’t witnessed to have been eviscerated or impregnated, only Drake and Hudson spring to mind, but neither were left in a position of likely survival. Only Wierzbowski remained unaccounted for, having disappeared off-screen early in the story. But if anyone did manage to evade the army of silicone-based death-dealers, avoid being vapourised in the nuclear explosion and then survive radioactive fallout and starvation for seventeen weeks, it would require some serious explanation. Maybe he attended the Indiana Jones School of Nuclear Holocaust Survival.
[Edit: On further examination, the fabric damage pattern on the T-shirt further suggests that it is Hicks and the APC in the background has Saluco markings.]
T-Minus 30 Days to Reach Minimum Safe Distance
Of course, this shameless fanboy speculation is likely to be proven entirely wrong, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to play through the storyline campaign just to get the answers.
Aliens: Colonial Marines is scheduled for release on 12 February 2013 on the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, with a possible Wii-U port coming at a later date to be confirmed.
Contrary to Bill “Hudson” Paxton’s famous ad-lib, it seems the game is not yet over. So what the f___ we are going to do now is lock and load.
And bring spare pants.