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Anonymous Sega Exec Says Gearbox Embezzled A:CM Funds

By - Source: Sega Awakens | B 29 comments

Gearbox used Sega's Aliens: Colonial Marines money to fund the two Borderlands games and Duke Nukem Forever, says an anonymous Sega executive.

An unnamed Sega executive has supposedly taken to Blogger to separate the fact from fiction regarding lies surrounding his employer. The latest entry centers around the recent FPS bomb called Aliens: Colonial Marines and all the controversy surrounding the Sonic publisher and associated developers.

Last time we tuned in to this channel, no one was really sure who developed the game, only that Gearbox was in charge. Even more, there were accusations of false advertisement, as both Sega and Gearbox promoted a product that gamers never really received. The anonymous Sega employee adds his own opinion to the data, pointing fingers at TimeGate and Sega, and accusing Gearbox of embezzlement.

Why? Because Gearbox reportedly took the funds Sega shelled out for Aliens: Colonial Marines (A:CM) and use those funds on Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and Duke Nukem Forever, all three of which were published by 2K Games. The latter game was the biggest leech of the three, as Gearbox supposedly purchased the IP and hired on some of the 3D Realms team using the A:CM funds.

"Gearbox essentially lied to Sega, mishandled funds, broke agreements and contractual obligations to work on other projects, didn't want to work on a game they were contractually obligated to work on and gave it to another team, poor organization and direction on ACM, took on too many projects from different companies at once, and other things that we may not even know about," he said. "Hell, part of me believes that Gearbox wanted this thing delayed as much as possible so they can get more funding money to embezzle from Sega."

This anonymous executive also confirmed that 99-percent of the information that has been provided by the likes of Kotaku, Destructoid and others is true. "This is depressing as hell for all of us, because money that should go towards our paychecks and the well-being of the company was taken from us," he added.

Sega is reportedly looking to take legal action against Gearbox even though the contract has been fulfilled by the game's retail release. The source said that A:CM never should have been released in its current state, and would have given Sega a better defense. If anything, the publisher may have a case if it can prove that Gearbox used Sega's money to develop the two Borderlands games and Duke Nukem Forever.

"By all rights, Borderlands 1 and 2 should be a Sega published game, since they got the money from us to fund the game, and since those games are smash hits, our jobs here at Sega would be more secure and just having those two games, the Sega brand might be on a path to being revived somewhat," the unnamed Sega official said. "Instead, we're going through this difficult period of our lives, and people have lose their jobs from this, and in my view, having ACM game on their resume will damage their chances of getting back in the industry."

The blog is rather lengthy, and gives an outline what what's been said since A:CM hit the market weeks ago. One of the linked articles provided by the blog includes a timeline written by Kotaku which details how the game fell apart like a taped-together Android. Here's one of the quotes that seemingly backs up what the anonymous Sega executive described:

"Considering that Sega was pretty close to taking legal action against GBX, asking for an extension wasn't an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping. Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in an incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn't cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn't because GBX didn't care, mind you. At a certain point, they couldn't risk changing ANYTHING that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get."

Ouch.

 

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  • -6 Hide
    thor220 , February 26, 2013 3:10 AM
    Lol the blog is already gone. Anyways I have a hard time believing they funded multiple other AAA titles from one games seed money. It's likely that sega is just cheap and now they are having a hissy fit about the end product. If they can somehow prove that Gearbox did funnel money away from the project, only then will I believe sega. Another thing to mull over is: why would gearbox take the duke nukem project knowing they don't have the cash? They wouldn't and it's extremely malicious for sega to even suggest that gearbox is that kind of company. The day that gearbox knowingly accepts moneysinks just to find a reason to embezzle is the day that bill gates suggest an iphone to his wife.
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , February 26, 2013 3:19 AM
    In my opinion, both companies are to blame and heads should roll.
    I have been a avid aliens(and predator =D) fan since Aliens came out. To "carrot and stick" people like this is a complete line of BS....
  • 1 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , February 26, 2013 3:27 AM
    As a huge fan of both Sega and Gearbox I really hate hearing about all of this. I don't know who the blames lies on and I really don't care. I just want to see them both move on and learn some valuable lessons from this.
  • -2 Hide
    Kami3k , February 26, 2013 3:39 AM
    I'm betting this "unnamed Sega executive" is actually a troll.
  • 2 Hide
    m32 , February 26, 2013 3:45 AM
    So you not only you let one "Borderlands" title slip by you, but two? You need to be fired if you didn't hopped on it.
  • 1 Hide
    sublime2k , February 26, 2013 3:52 AM
    I used to hold Gearbox in high regard because of Borderlands, I but I don't know what to think any more after this.
  • -1 Hide
    natoco , February 26, 2013 3:54 AM
    Lessons will 'probably' be learnt by all involved, the question remains. Will gearbox be made to give the money back for every single copy? I definitly think they should. Laws should protect the consumer from bad products that say they do one thing and yet do another. It would be the best start in cleaning up this mess or even a free game or exchange.
  • 1 Hide
    dormantreign , February 26, 2013 4:19 AM
    And the plot thickens....
  • -6 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , February 26, 2013 4:22 AM
    I laughed at that^^
    Excellent hun^^

    But to answer to other things you said, it's impossible to fund 3 games with the money of one title. Unless Sega just poured a few hundred million into the project, which I highly doubt. Plus one game would have required a significant buyout to obtain from 3Drealms and it's publisher.

    There's just no way.

    I think Sega is trying to play the blame game (No one ever blames themselves of course, esp companies), and Gearbox just happens to be an easy target atm.

    I'm not happy Aliens failed, I don't think anyone would be. But I can't believe it was entirely Gearbox's fault, they'd made several high quality titles, and helped release others that were also of good quality, to blame ACM on gearbox is just absurd imo. They may have a share of fault, but not all of it, sounds as if there was a lot of problems in the whole development time that were shared between several companies.


    thor220is the day that bill gates suggest an iphone to his wife.

  • 2 Hide
    kinggraves , February 26, 2013 4:57 AM
    bluestar2k11I laughed at that^^Excellent hun^^But to answer to other things you said, it's impossible to fund 3 games with the money of one title. Unless Sega just poured a few hundred million into the project, which I highly doubt.


    You don't get it. They don't need to use the money for ACM to fuel all 3 other titles completely. Funds that were given to them by Sega should have been spent entirely on ACM, but the accusation is that those funds and resources were moved to the other projects. If Sega gave them $10m and got a project that was only worth $1m, then where did those resources go? They are entitled to get the project they funded. AAA titles are made on very thin profit margins these days, all the money that funds a game needs to go to increasing the quality of that game so the end product can make back the expenses.

    Of course this blog is not Sega's official stance. You can't speak about pending legal matters. Stiil, I can't imagine why anyone would play the apologist for Gearbox. If the game was poorly built, blame the people that built it. If they outsourced the project elsewhere, then clearly they were trying to produce the game for less.

    On the other hand, if this slipped under their radar then Sega needs to learn how to manage their dev teams better. This isn't the only poorly crafted game Sega has released, even their flagship Sonic series has had some titles lately that weren't up to code. They should have dropped Gearbox the moment Gearbox started working on other games. A development team should only have one project at a time and should at no point be working for a different publisher. That was a conflict of interest from the start.
  • 0 Hide
    chibiwings , February 26, 2013 5:06 AM
    Like we Care with their Corporate *BS the damages is done, They can just release a Patch to redeem themselves I bet they won't return my Pennies.. Just Fix the mess.
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , February 26, 2013 7:16 AM
    Without any facts on the table all that have been done from the developer / publisher is playing a blame game seen from different perspectives while the people who bought this title is the only proven victims thus far - And what is done to compensate them for buying a sub standard title sold at an AAA price point?
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , February 26, 2013 8:52 AM
    thor220Lol the blog is already gone. Anyways I have a hard time believing they funded multiple other AAA titles from one games seed money. It's likely that sega is just cheap and now they are having a hissy fit about the end product. If they can somehow prove that Gearbox did funnel money away from the project, only then will I believe sega. Another thing to mull over is: why would gearbox take the duke nukem project knowing they don't have the cash? They wouldn't and it's extremely malicious for sega to even suggest that gearbox is that kind of company. The day that gearbox knowingly accepts moneysinks just to find a reason to embezzle is the day that bill gates suggest an iphone to his wife.


    gearbox released 3 games, borderlands 1, 2 and dnf in the time between when they were suppose to do acm to when it was released.

    i can assume that acm was a 30-50 million $ game, at least, and seeing borderlands 1 2 and hell even dnf (even though it was pieced to together just good enough to work) were better games than acm (dnf at least was on the pc, console port sucked) i wouldnt be surprised if some of that money went to their own gamens and not acm...

    considering what gearbox has done in the past, i really hope they screwed up big on this and sink. most of the developers wont have to much trouble getting a job, they have borderlands 1 and 2 on their resumes after all, but i doubt Pickford would get another job after acm, hell haveing anyone high up from gearbox would be a pr problem.

    sublime2kI used to hold Gearbox in high regard because of Borderlands, I but I don't know what to think any more after this.


    look at duke nukem reloaded and than make a judgement call.

    bluestar2k11I laughed at that^^Excellent hun^^But to answer to other things you said, it's impossible to fund 3 games with the money of one title. Unless Sega just poured a few hundred million into the project, which I highly doubt. Plus one game would have required a significant buyout to obtain from 3Drealms and it's publisher.There's just no way.I think Sega is trying to play the blame game (No one ever blames themselves of course, esp companies), and Gearbox just happens to be an easy target atm.I'm not happy Aliens failed, I don't think anyone would be. But I can't believe it was entirely Gearbox's fault, they'd made several high quality titles, and helped release others that were also of good quality, to blame ACM on gearbox is just absurd imo. They may have a share of fault, but not all of it, sounds as if there was a lot of problems in the whole development time that were shared between several companies.



    they were contracted to make the game, and than they passed it to someone else. gearbox is almost entirely to blame, sega only a little because they didnt have it in their contract they cant farm it out.

    kinggravesYou don't get it. They don't need to use the money for ACM to fuel all 3 other titles completely. Funds that were given to them by Sega should have been spent entirely on ACM, but the accusation is that those funds and resources were moved to the other projects. If Sega gave them $10m and got a project that was only worth $1m, then where did those resources go? They are entitled to get the project they funded. AAA titles are made on very thin profit margins these days, all the money that funds a game needs to go to increasing the quality of that game so the end product can make back the expenses.Of course this blog is not Sega's official stance. You can't speak about pending legal matters. Stiil, I can't imagine why anyone would play the apologist for Gearbox. If the game was poorly built, blame the people that built it. If they outsourced the project elsewhere, then clearly they were trying to produce the game for less.On the other hand, if this slipped under their radar then Sega needs to learn how to manage their dev teams better. This isn't the only poorly crafted game Sega has released, even their flagship Sonic series has had some titles lately that weren't up to code. They should have dropped Gearbox the moment Gearbox started working on other games. A development team should only have one project at a time and should at no point be working for a different publisher. That was a conflict of interest from the start.


    most bigger developers work on more than one project at once, and if they arent owned by a publisher, they work for whoever wants them to.

    the art department and the coders finish at different times, haveing smaller projects or more than one major one isnt unheard of just because the size of these places and the fact that if you just have the people who are done sit on their hands its a waste of time.

  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 26, 2013 9:15 AM
    Stick a pitchfork in Pritchford!!
  • -4 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , February 26, 2013 10:02 AM
    I wouldn't call this embezzlement but I would say some suing should definitely be happening now. I think I know what really happened and nobody is mentioning it. It looks to me like they decided to do console ports at the last moment and then realised that the game wouldn't fit on consoles so they stripped it down to fit them and then made the PC version identical to the console versions to simplify quality assurance testing. I blame this on the desire to have console versions which I blame on the ease of piracy on PC. If the game had been released now only for PC with the intention of porting to the upcoming console generation then I'm betting things would have gone fantastically. The people who should suffer are the ones who decided it was acceptable to compromise the game quality to get it on the current old console generation.
  • 3 Hide
    irish_adam , February 26, 2013 11:09 AM
    IndignantSkepticI wouldn't call this embezzlement but I would say some suing should definitely be happening now. I think I know what really happened and nobody is mentioning it. It looks to me like they decided to do console ports at the last moment and then realised that the game wouldn't fit on consoles so they stripped it down to fit them and then made the PC version identical to the console versions to simplify quality assurance testing. I blame this on the desire to have console versions which I blame on the ease of piracy on PC. If the game had been released now only for PC with the intention of porting to the upcoming console generation then I'm betting things would have gone fantastically. The people who should suffer are the ones who decided it was acceptable to compromise the game quality to get it on the current old console generation.


    Is that a trolling post or are you just retarded?
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , February 26, 2013 11:24 AM
    irish_adamIs that a trolling post or are you just retarded?

    have to agree with you, i lost brain cells reading that... I WILL NEVER GET THEM BACK
  • 5 Hide
    ddpruitt , February 26, 2013 12:51 PM
    Even if GBX used the funds for another game, and that's a pretty huge assumption (Borderlands could have easily paid for Borderlands 2 and DN was done before GBX got most of the A:CM money) it doesn't matter. I don't know the fine print of the contract but as long as they released A game, regardless of how uninspired, they fulfilled the contract.

    If Sega really cared about the game they would have had someone at GBX full-time making sure they were getting their money's worth. They just figured they would slap the Aliens brand on something and they would have a cash cow, sorry but the real world doesn't work that way, as they've figured out.
  • 3 Hide
    jabliese , February 26, 2013 1:35 PM
    So, nobody at Sega bothered to play A:CM before giving the OK to release?
  • -1 Hide
    mamailo , February 26, 2013 2:22 PM
    I have just finished my run on A:CM on PC and, yes is only half baked.I did not find any major bugs that break the game but a lot of AI glitches. The game sold at steam for $50 is just a beta and can be finished in one afternoon.I want my money back or the DLCs for free.For those who haven buy it; wait until downs to $12 witch is what it worth.

    6 years and the aliens are not animated right ?, the facial animation of the marines match the xenos, I mean they do not have any.And the final "battle" is just ridiculous. I haven't read the word "embezzle" before but it seem it was happens here.BUT; I think is too late for SEGA it should have refuse the game and sue the bastard and getting their money back.

    Any way the game have his moments; the sewer level,the Giant's deliric ship and Hadley's Hope designs are OK, also the sound effects and music did. So people comparing A:CM to E.T. as the worst game in history are just talking from their asses.Either they haven't play E.T. or A:CM.

    There is a lot of things wrong in A:CM, there was nothing right in E.T.
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