After teasing fans and falling in and out of a virtual coma for some 15 years, Duke Nukem Forever has finally arrived on store shelves, though it’s been getting pretty consistently bashed by review outlets. For example, its Metacritic score is struggling to keep above the 60 mark and The Guardian’s 2/5 review concludes:
If this was 15 years in the making, it makes you wonder what they did for the other 14 years and 10 months.
Randy Pitchford, president of developer Gearbox Software, chose Twitter for his passive-aggressive blanket response, saying:
With sales data, It seems like *customers* love Duke. I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar…
Jon St. John, who voices the Duke and claims the greatest name ever, also chimed in as he told The Joypads:
I have no comments regarding bad reviews by clueless critics. They seem to want to compare Duke Nukem Forever to Call Of Duty and other FPS’s and they are missing the point. My thoughts about Duke Nukem Forever: It freakin ROCKS! Lots of action, lots of fun, sexy, funny, irreverent… It’s everything I hoped it would be.
Publisher 2K Games’ now-former public relations firm The Redner Group also wanted to get in on the action. Wanted to get even with low-scoring reviewers, the firm threatened to withhold review copies from reviewers who “went too far.” Such practice is one of the biggest problems facing the game industry. Company founder Jim Redner tweeted:
Too many went too far with their reviews…we are reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.
Here’s a picture of the now-deleted tweet:
Public relations firms doing that sort of thing holds the integrity of game reviews back, and 2K Games went the classy route by immediately terminating its relationship with the company.
2K’s own words were:
2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by TheRednerGroup and confirm they no longer represent our products
The Duke himself may have worded it slightly differently, but the message was still clear: negative reviews or not, 2K Games does not approve of withholding games from reviewers based on past scores.