According to a new court filing from Sega (detailed quite nicely by Polygon), Gearbox Software studio founder and head Randy Pitchford did "whatever the fuck he likes" when it came to the marketing and promotion of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
The Sept. 2 filing was in relation to a class-action lawsuit from gamers against both publisher Sega and developer Gearbox Software claiming the game was falsely advertised at trade shows and in other marketing material – and what was released was of a lower level of quality.
Sega agreed in August to settle the case for $1.25 million, but Gearbox filed a motion to separate itself from that settlement – which it claims it had no part in negotiating – saying that it was simply a contractor for Sega and not in charge of the marketing.
Sega's filing this week paints an entirely different picture: Sega claims that it was initially given "absolute discretion" on marketing the game per its contract with Gearbox, but that it was also obligated to consult with Gearbox on all marketing activities.
"The parties had to mutually agree to the 'precise particulars of marketing assets' delivered by Gearbox," according to the motion. "Gearbox's participation — Randy Pitchford's, in particular — was a key element in the ACM marketing strategy from the beginning."
The filing continues by noting that the now infamous E3 2011 demo of the game was created entirely by Gearbox. Subsequent conversations between the companies pointed to that demo as "the bar that we should use to determine where the entire game will be…"
Sega also highlights eight other times that Gearbox made announcements to the press and public without Sega's authorization. Sega claims that these instances included Randy Pitchford's discussions about the game at E3 2011, posts to the game's official website, announcements at a community day event and the release of an "unapproved screenshot."
In October 2012 a member of Sega's PR team spoke with Gearbox in person to discuss these ongoing issues with what they called "leaks."
"I spoke face to face to [Gearbox's Steve] Gibson about their persistent panel leaking," Matt Eyre wrote in an email to other company officials. "Effectively — it's Randy [Pitchford] doing whatever the fuck he likes. Apparently he did it twice on [Borderlands 2] also, against, against all plans and despite the fact they asked him not to. I think our best result here is that we have no more panel sessions …"
Sega has asked the court to dismiss Gearbox's motion.
The next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29.
Polygon has a detailed report on the latest filing here.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was released in February of last year, and was widely criticized by both fans and critics alike as being a sub-par gaming experience that didn't live up to the pre-release hype and marketing materials.