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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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Whereas a lot of folks that try it, there's no delineation between that world and our world, and there's just jokes for the sake of it. It's a very subtle but very important part of the formula.

With the game having been in development for so long, there must have been a lot of jokes that were out-of-date by the time you got a hold of it?

Yeah. Back when I originally worked on the project, and even through to today, the writing for Duke has never been the responsibility of one person. It's not just writing the script, it's also the idea. There's a body of people that, within them, is where the heart and soul of Duke lives. Any one of them might come up with something and the others will say whether or not it works.

A classic example - and I wasn't at 3D Realms when this happened - Duke needed to drive a car because he's in Vegas but you've got Area 51 out across the desert. He's got to get there. So what does Duke drive?


A monster truck.

Of course, he drives a monster truck. But imagine when they were trying to figure that out. Like, does he drive a Lamborghini? No. Then someone said 'dude, he drives a monster truck'. But then it's like, what's the truck called? It's called the Mighty Foot, because the most famous monster truck is Big Foot, and Duke has the Mighty Foot move from the old games, and it just works.

With both Nintendo and Sony ready to bring super-powerful new handhelds to market - particularly Sony with the PS3-like NGP - have you considered the possibility of doing DNF on either of those?

Yeah, I'm actually now responsible not just for DNF but for the brand. We own Duke Nukem as a franchise. Some of these emerging platforms are interesting and exciting.

To sincerely answer the question though, I'm responsible for shipping DNF. So if I put mindshare on a sequel or some other thing and anything happens to make this go wrong, I'm a dumbass. So all the effort and attention has to go into making sure this works out. And once we're past this that'll be a great time to think about 'okay, now what should we do?'

It's irresponsible for me to worry about those things until this is taken care of. But between the 3DS and the new Sony device, these are things we've known about for a while and it's kind of interesting to think about them. But right now we've got to see what happens when this experience transpires.

It must be tempting considering PS3-to-NGP ports can be achieved so easily...

We'll see. I mean, we also have to think about why we're doing it. Are we doing it just because the platform exists or is there a customer there? How many people can I reach, and to what extent can I gratify them?

If I believe that there's a customer in place that wants the entertainment that I have to offer, and the only way to do that is to do a game on that particular platform, then that might be a good decision if however many customers there can rationalise it.


But if I don't really gain any customers or earn anything for that effort then why bother? I have a feeling that, especially at the beginning, the people that buy the Sony NGP are probably people that I can reach on the PS3 or 360. And those people would probably rather have a Duke Nukem experience on their couch with a larger television.

Duke Nukem is probably not optimally a portable quick-play game, it's something you want to immerse yourself in. Having said that, I think there's some angles on what it stands for and angles when we think about multiplayer that maybe portability could be fun. So we'll see. That's a sober approach - we'll get DNF done and then we'll really think about it.

The industry is a different place than it was 10 years ago. It comes under much more scrutiny. Do you have a set defence plan if it comes under fire from some feminist group that doesn't get it?

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