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Alien: Colonial Marines "leaves a few dangling threads" for future Alien stories

"It's actually a broader universe than a lot of people pin it down to"

Aliens: Colonial Marines isn't just a cheery, popcorn-crunching corridor blaster to while away your weekends with - according to cinematic director Brian Burleson, it's a carefully calculated foundation for future sojourns in the Alien universe, Gearbox-led or otherwise.

"I think it's actually bigger than a lot of people give credit for," Burleson told me, when I asked whether the IP had been drained of juice. "If you look at the canon of the movies, if you look at where Alien was versus Aliens versus Alien 3 versus Alien: Resurrection, they all share a common genealogy but go off in different directions.

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"If you look at the expanded universe, including the comic books and those sorts of things," he continued, "they go off in even farther directions - water planets, sky planets and xenomorphs of all shapes and sizes. So I think it's actually a broader universe than a lot of people pin it down to - and usually people want to pin it down to 'there's a xenomorph running at me, I should hide or kill it'.

"Hopefully there's going to be lots more stories. I think we've picked an interesting bit for ours, and I hope other people are going to continue to make more stories with this universe in the future."

Warming to his theme, Burleson went onto discuss how Colonial Marines itself was born of questions the films leave hanging. "Looking at the end of Aliens - we've got them getting off the planet, we've got that atmospheric processor going off... where can we pick up that thread? What are the repercussions of that?

"That's sort of where we come in, because as storytellers it's always fun to figure out where someone else left some dangling threads in their story. That's another cool thing about this universe: all the stories do that, they always leave a few dangling threads for somebody else to pick up.

"So we've run with a few of those, and created our own fiction from that, and left a few dangling threads of our own for other people to hopefully pick up one day, and expand the universe even further."

Sega already has big plans for the IP - the publisher is brewing up another Alien game for next generation consoles, developed by prolific Total War household Creative Assembly. What little we know about it can be found in this interview.

For its part, Gearbox has expressed an interest in developing a more experimental follow-up to Aliens: Colonial Marines, and isn't averse to the prospect of a Predator project either.

Alas, Colonial Marines itself isn't quite the tour de force we were hoping for, thus far. The campaign has the makings of greatness, but the multiplayer leaves much to be desired.

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