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Duke Nukem Forever: Feminism, fellatio and the funnies

Interview: Randy Pitchford discusses Duke's revival, his thoughts on a sequel and the game's opponents...

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But what we found was the world also kind of needed Duke to be triumphant, you know what I mean? Like, we needed him to win.

Duke is on the final straight and the general consensus is one of excitement, but there is a split in expectations with many concerned about the fact it changed hands during development. It was essentially a rescue mission. So what are you expecting from reviews?

I don't know. I know what I'm feeling when I play the game - it's fun, and at any given moment I can't wait to see the next moment. Honestly, I don't even know how much reviews matter for this particular game. Because, I mean, what we're looking at is the deepest unresolved tension in the entire history of the video game industry. And it's almost historical.

Zoom

Fortunately the game's good, I've played it, it's a great game. You're going to see a range of scores; I'd be surprised to see anything get down into the '7' range, maybe a couple 10s - you're going to get the range there. It really doesn't matter. Anywhere in that range - it's not going to change the results for what we're actually talking about.

What matters is if you have a good time or not, how much the experience us back [to Duke's former glory] to those of us that remember, how much it introduces to those who weren't there, and how much it tells us about the next experience we want. That's what really matters, and the scores - that's probably not going to be very relevant to the outcome of this particular game.

How do you deal with the pressure?

When I decided to buy Duke Nukem and be the guy responsible for finally shipping this monster, one definitive decision that I made was 'I have to ignore the pressure'. Because all you'll do is obsess over 'is this mirror is too high on the wall?' or 'why is this candle the same colour as the wall?' and that game will never come out, you know what I mean.

I had to decide is what's most important is that we finally get it in our hands and play the game we've been waiting for this whole time, and as best I can, realise the vision that 3D Realms provided for us so that we can finally f**king play it. That's the only thing that matters.

And once we're past that and the wreckage has cleared, we'll figure out what to do next. But you've played it. You played an hour to 90 minutes. And you're just scratching the surface, it's actually a pretty big game. It's between 14 and 18 hours of gameplay, so that's like four or five Call of Duties. *Laughs*

What's really interesting is how often the game breaks the fourth wall. Do you think this is something games should do more?

Zoom

I think especially if Duke Nukem is successful, and all the metrics and every method we have to guess suggest it's probably going to sell a lot of units.

I think that you'll have a lot of people in the industry look at that and wonder why it works. That's just tends to happen. I don't know how successful people will be with that. I know there's been, over the years, some games that have tried to get over into the Duke Nukem space but it's tricky.

The thing that most people get wrong - I'll give you the secret; in Duke's world it's all real. Like, the fact that in Duke's world the Bellagio Hotel is called the Fellatio Hotel - that's not a joke in his world. Families will go to that casino and not notice that that's a reference to blowjobs, right?

But when we see it through the lens to our world it's funny. And that's the secret; it's all sincere and natural in his world. His world is kind of a fun house mirror reflection of our world. And that's how you can break that fourth wall once in a while and get away with it, because there is a fourth wall to break.

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