Following massive controversy over misleading demo footage, screenshots and marketing, the much-maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines has been targeted by a class action lawsuit on the grounds of false advertising.
As reported by Polygon, the Californian suit was filed yesterday by Edelson LLC, who allege that SEGA and Gearbox deliberately mislead consumers with the E3 demo, late review embargoes and unrepresentative screenshots.
"Unfortunately for their fans, [the] Defendants never told anyone - consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters - that their 'actual gameplay' demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers," claims the suit, citing studio boss Randy Pitchford who both referred to the demo as "actual gameplay" several months ago before admitting that the backlash was "fair."
"That is understood and fair and we are looking at that," Pitchford tweeted back in February. "Lots of info to parse, lots of stake holders to respect." SEGA also recently (if tacitly) admitted that the publicity was misleading when confronted by the (albeit toothless) Advertising Standards Authority.
The suit seeks damages for customers who pre-ordered the game or bought it on launch day.
We don't know whether anything will or even can come of this, but it's arguably an important statement of intent that shows the industry that consumers aren't willing to simply take being manipulated by 'bait and switch' marketing without kicking up a fuss. We'll bring you more as the story develops.