Duke Nukem might finally be back — and the franchise is as classy as ever. On the heels of the release of Duke Nukem Forever, the founder of The Redner Group, a PR firm handling the game’s release, publicly threatened to blacklist journalists who wrote less-than-favorable reviews of the game. Although Redner has since withdrawn his comments and publicly apologized, the damage has been done, and publisher 2K Games has dropped the company.
Jim Redner claimed he was acting out of “pure emotion” when he threatened to blacklist reviewers from future releases based on their reviews of Duke Nukem Forever. Although petty squabbles and personal politicking are nothing new in the world of game reviews — and it’s relatively common for publishers or PR firms to drop the ball getting review materials to journalists they don’t like — Redner’s comments represented a clear breach of professional ethics and one of the first time such blacklists have been mentioned openly.
2K Games’ relationship with The Redner Group is not new, with the firm having handled release PR for Borderlands, published by 2K Games and developed by Gearbox.
After a 14-year haitus marked by bold promises, studio shutdowns, lawsuits, and seemingly interminable retooling, Duke Nukem Forever has received nearly universally negative reviews, with critics characterizing the game as crude, unfunny, offensive, misogynistic, and, perhaps the ultimate put-down in gamer culture, simply unplayable.