Fixing Aliens: Colonial Marines AI Took Just One Keystroke


Of all the games that are awful, Aliens: Colonial Marines is one of the more unforgettable ones. And while few things can be done about its inferior production values and weak design, it turns out that its shoddy AI can be fixed with just a keystroke.

That’s the word on ResetEra, which cast a spotlight on a modder’s notes at popular modding site ModDB. The note dates back to October, which explains that by simply correcting the word “teather” to “tether,” much can change. Here’s the code:

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

ResetEra members realized that the code addressed a “tether” system that assigned AI commands. When spelled correctly, the command “controls tactical position adjustment, patrolling, and target zoning,” but spelled incorrectly, the reference to an unfamiliar “teather” was treated as a junk command.

As such, the game’s monsters never received the smarter, useful information they were intended to use, opting instead to run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Really ugly chickens. Ars Technica put the game through its paces after applying the patch and noted dramatic improvements with Xenomorphs finally making use of elevation and cover.

The only reason this even came to light on the forum was the fact that Fanatical put Aliens: Colonial Marines up for sale at a 90-percent discount, bringing its asking price down to $3. The sale led one buyer to consider pitching it as a cheap-fun option, post-patch, to the rest of the ResetEra community. And all it took was a single keystroke – backspace, or delete – to fix the game.

Okay, that might be generous. Between its low-resolution textures, inferior lighting and some jank-ass character models and animations, there's no way an AI fix alone could redeeem Aliens: Colonial Marines. In addition to looking way worse than what was presented at E3s past, Aliens: Colonial Marines featured numerous bugs that frustrated and is Largely regarded as one of the worst disappointments in recent gaming history.

Hyped to high heaven by SEGA and Gearbox Software as the one game that would do the Aliens franchise right, the game was pre-ordered the world over. But when it came to release, the final product was the kind of trash that was so flammable it lit fires across the Internet that continue to burn today.