Duke Nukem Forever, the perpetually delayed resurrection of misogynistic, line-stealing anti-hero Duke Nukem was finally released this year, thanks to the awesome Gearbox who mopped up the mess left by the now defunct 3D Realms to stitch the Frankenstein of a game together.
It was not met with positive critical reception, with our own review saying “You want to like this game, but it does its best to make you hate it.” Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel, in an interview with Eurogamer, has said that he believes reviewers used the game as “a soapbox” and weren’t fair in their reviews.
“Name another game that’s in a similar situation. This is a game that was around for 15 years and it went through a number of engine cycles. It could never be everything for everybody, right?” Martel asked rhetorically, saying the game “was what it was meant to be, which is a more old-school style game in what is today’s technology”.
“Would Half-Life today be reviewed as highly as it is, you know, even today? As a new IP coming out with the same sort of mechanics Half-Life had,” he argued. “I think we all have a nostalgia and love for that particular brand. But the current gamer, would they have the same love for that? It’d be interesting. I think the same kind of thing happened with Duke.”
"We wish the reviews were a little less caustic. We’re not quite sure where some of the anger came from,” he questioned.
“We let that be what it was supposed to be. Gearbox made sure the world got to see what they made and I think everybody should really be thankful that it existed to some degree at all,” he said. “Because it really would’ve just gone away. Is it a Gearbox game? No. When and if another Duke comes out it’s going to be more consistent with what I think people would expect out of a Gearbox product. But this is the vision that 3D Realms had and that’s awesome. It’s just great that the world gets to see it.”
As far as I’m concerned a bad game is a bad game, no matter its history, who made it, or the context of its release – and that the coarse, uneven and even backward DNF deserved all the hate it got. That said, with the Ip now firmly in Gearbox’s hands, I reckon they’re capable of doing something special with the character.
Last Updated: November 4, 2011