Aliens: Colonial Marines, after a belabored development cycle, was finally released to a critical drubbing the likes of which hasn’t been seen since, Daikatana. This isn’t because Colonial Marines was so especially bad (though, it was), but because of the three-way melee of finger pointing between TimeGate, Sega, and Gearbox.
Also, the demo shown years ago looked so good that it was impossible to believe that the two were the same game.
TimeGate has since stated that the earlier demo was running in real-time (not a pre-rendered mock-up sequence as many had suspected) on a high-end PC that exceeded the specs of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. TimeGate is claiming that scaling the game back for the consoles forced them to take out many of its most atmospheric effects for the sake of performance.
This seems to be a spurious excuse at best. While much of what is missing from the retail title is present in the demo, many areas have also been redesigned in less compelling ways. Further, Aliens: Colonial Marines doesn’t even look good by launch title standards. The Xbox 360 and PS3 might not have been capable of the full effect of the demo, but surely they can offer more than flat textures, low-poly models, and jerky animations.
And, most tellingly, these higher-quality shaders and high-resolution textures that Gearbox ostensibly excised are not present in the PC version either, even as an option. That would be an odd choice, especially for Gearbox, which generally invests so much in catering to its fans.
Source: DSO Gaming