Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (born December 7, 1963) is a British designer of board games and video games who worked on Aliens magazine and its sister publication Alien3 Movie Special for Dark Horse International, primarily serving as the writer of the "Technical Readout" sections in the publications. He later expanded his contributions to the magazine as the technical guide Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. Brimmicombe-Wood also worked on the comic Do Aliens Dream? for Argus House and the 1999 video game Aliens versus Predator. Outside of the Alien franchise, he has worked on numerous popular video game series, including Far Cry 3 (2012) and the Killzone franchise (2004-present).
History with franchise
Do Aliens Dream?
Brimmicombe-Wood's first work in the Alien franchise was as illustrator on the comic book short story Do Aliens Dream?, included in the UK-based Skeleton Crew magazine, Vol. 2 #2, in July 1990. This remains one of very few Aliens comics not to be published by Dark Horse Comics.
In the late 1980s, Brimmicombe-Wood spent a weekend with his friends Tim and Elaine, neither of whom had seen Aliens, and so Brimmicombe-Wood brought the film and they watched it. After the film, Tim and Brimmicombe-Wood talked about "all the wonderful weapons and toys" in it. This conversation "planted a seed in [Brimmicombe-Wood's] mind," and so the next day, when he began his train ride back home, he pulled out a pad and started to write out in longhand a fictional technical guide to the M56 Smartgun.
Brimmicombe-Wood quickly wrote up a number of these pieces: the Smartgun, the M41A Pulse Rifle and a couple of others. However, he wasn't sure what was going to become of them, as the notion of getting the essays published was "something of a pipe dream back then, as [Brimmicombe-Wood] wasn't yet a pro". Indeed, he was still serving an apprenticeship in fan publishing, so the articles were shelved for a while.
A few years later, Brimmicombe-Wood was doing some freelance work for Dark Horse International, which published (among others) Aliens magazine in the United Kingdom. While the magazine was primarily focused on reprinting Dark Horse Comics comic books from America, it also included a significant amount of new and exclusive feature material. As such, Brimmicombe-Wood and his business partner, Dave Hughes (who had also worked on Do Aliens Dream?), were asked to contribute reviews and articles on the background of the Alien franchise. The pair brainstormed some article ideas and Brimmicombe-Wood realized he had still had the technical overviews he had written stashed in a drawer. He "dusted it off and polished it" and the material formed the basis of the regular "Technical Readout" section started in Aliens magazine, Vol. 2 #1. As the magazine progressed, Brimmicombe-Wood continued to develop new breakdowns of the technology seen in the films, and the Technical Readout became a mainstay of the magazine.
After the first articles were published in Aliens magazine, the reaction from readers was very positive and a lot of people began asking if the articles were "official" or canon, or simply assumed that they were.
Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual
The Technical Readout articles in the Aliens magazine piqued the interest of Dark Horse in America, who asked whether Brimmicombe-Wood's team could adapt the material into a six-issue comic-book series. Randy Stradley was confident they could produce the Technical Manual under their existing comics licence and Hughes and Brimmicombe-Wood met up to "glad-hand" Stradley at the UK Comic Arts Convention. Brimmicombe-Wood and Hughes were "pretty much" ready to sign contracts when Dark Horse shut down their entire UK operation, and with it went the Technical Manual project.
Although Hughes and Brimmicombe-Wood were discouraged, they still had a sample of the Technical Manual material, which Hughes "hawked" around London-based publishers, until they came to the attention of Boxtree Ltd.. Having already published a couple of Alien-related book titles, Boxtree was familiar with the property and were prepared to make a deal with them. Soon, they were signed and Brimmicombe-Wood was faced with "a pile of work and a deadline" to create Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual.
Much to Brimmicombe-Wood's chagrin, he soon discovered that Boxtree had only bought a license from 20th Century Fox for the 1986 film Aliens. This proved frustrating, as he had hoped to fill out the book with new material based on the films Alien and Alien3, as well. However, when Fox's licensing division began to read drafts of the Technical Manual, "they had kittens". As a result, the studio decided to "stretch things a little" with regards to Alien — as various events and items from the first film (such as the Nostromo) were mentioned in Aliens, Brimmicombe-Wood was allowed to include breakdowns of them in the book.
However, Alien3 was not so lucky. Originally, a section of the final chapter in the Technical Manual directly mentioned the events of the third film, and went into detail about Xenomorph biology, but due to the fact Alien3 fell outside of Boxtree's license, this information had to be edited. In the end, Brimmicombe-Wood had to cut much of the content based around the third movie from the final chapter, including a large article on the escape pod from the film originally created for Alien3 Movie Special (a sister publication to Aliens magazine). This left the final section of the book at about half its original length. Mention of the third movie was ultimately restricted to an oblique reference.
Later versions of the book were edited and the blanket ban on Alien3 material apparently lifted, as the escape pod article now appears towards the end in more recent editions. It is unclear what other alterations may have been made.
Aliens versus Predator
As well as his work for various magazines and books, Brimmicombe-Wood also did a lot of initial design work on the 1999 video game Aliens versus Predator a few years before its release, although by the time the game was released, "pretty much all [of Brimmicombe-Wood's] contribution had disappeared and [his] credit was little more than a thank you".
Brimmicombe-Wood attended Alien Convention '93, where, after lunch, he was included in a questions and answers panel along with Aliens magazine features editor Dave Hughes, features writer Jim Campbell and Harry Harris. The one to two hour long session concentrated mainly on the origins and biology of the Xenomorph, the derelict ship and the Pilot. Brimmicombe-Wood also later attended Aliens Convention '99.
- As of April 28, 2007, Brimmicombe-Wood hadn't watched Aliens since he wrote the Colonial Marines Technical Manual 14 years earlier.
- Hudson Interviews Lee Brimmicombe-Wood 4/28/07
- Lee Brimmicombe-Wood - Google+
- Lee Brimmicombe-Wood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia