Duke Nukem Forever devs: Game heroes are pussified now, sh*t's gone off the rails

I played Duke Nukem Forever yesterday. Seriously, that is a thing that actually happened. I still can't quite believe it, and I was there. As well as finally playing a game that I've been emotionally invested in for nearly half of my life, I had a great time talking to Randy Pitchford and Steve Gibson, respective President and Marketing Director at Gearbox Software, Duke's new developer.

It was a fun, in-depth, and really funny chat that really blew the lid on Duke's 12-year journey, as well as exactly what we can expect from his triumphant return. I'm currently typing like the wind to get it ready for you to read later this afternoon [EDITIt's here! Click on for everything you need to know about DNF over three knowledge-packed pages], but as a little bonus I wanted to give you a quick preview, containing a couple of my favourite talk-bits from the outspoken duo. Thought Duke was an outdated has-been? You won't in a minute.

When I asked how on Earth a character so grounded in the balls-out machismo of '80s and '90s action movies would sit alongside the more sensitive, emotionally troubled heroes of our gentler modern gaming age, Randy spoke thusly:

"Yeah, it’s really interesting. It’s almost ironic because of that. He’s almost fresh now. Like, here’s the guy who was really an amalgamation of all the action heroes. He was a cliché. And someone who was a cliché when he was created, because of this almost pussification of our heroes over the years, they’ve become so emo, now Duke is actually kind of fresh in this world"

And Mike was even more forthright on the subject of the new breed of caring, sharing, emo heroes, bleeding their hearts instead of their enemies:

"Shit’s gone off the rails. Everybody’s so like, 'Oh, a game’s got to be art, and oh, I need to show my creative…' You know, it’s bullshit. A lot of it’s just bullshit. I don’t want to just crap all over things. There’s a lot of great things happening too. Like Uncharted, I think is amazing. That is one of the most amazing, fantastic things. It blows us away. But it’s so different from what we’re doing. (laughs) It’s a different sport, not just not in the same ball park. "

So why are we stuck with such a miserable blanket archetype in a medium that's all about fun? Says Mike:

"The more people get involved, the more things kind of get homogenised. It’s like 'Okay, here’s the formula we know works...

"So sometimes things will become the standard, but they actually don’t even matter. So that’s frustrating sometimes. And you have to fight against that. “Dude, that doesn’t even matter! Do what’s fun...

"One game did that, and it sold well, and now we all have to do this crap"

Personally, I think that bodes very well for Duke's bid to kick gaming's arse back into the raucus fun that got us all into it in the first place. Hell, having played it, I know that things are looking great. But what do you think? Do we need Duke's blunt badassery back? Let me know. And absolutely keep checking back on GamesRadar this afternoon for the rest of my talk with the Gearbox guys. You'll be really glad you did.

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  • philipshaw - October 9, 2010 2:32 p.m.

    I'm sure Gearbox will do a decent job with this but there is not much you can do with a dated game
  • Groteth - October 8, 2010 9:03 p.m.

    waiting the king!
  • mausjake - October 8, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    I can't stand the new generation of gamers, I decided last night when my half brother who is now a freshman in high school says "who's duke nukem?" WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE THESE DAYS!?!? It's so strange to think that Duke is going to be something new and edgy! But he'll be just that to so many new gamers, i don't know if i should be excited, or just plain sickened
  • caseyverhagen - October 8, 2010 3:48 p.m.

    I have been reliving my earliest memories of gaming on a PC by playing Duke Nuke'em 3D on my iPhone. Me and my friends used to play this all of the time, and I can't wait to see the finished product!
  • Clovin64 - October 8, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    I like characters with emotion and depth. The problem is, developers often try to create "depth" and end up instead with "whiny pussy emo boy". Duke may be a refreshing change, but we don't need loads of identicle Duke-clone heroes.
  • Turboash - October 8, 2010 3:15 p.m.

    I am sick and tired of shooters, but Duke is going to inject some much needed fun and laughs into the genre! Do want!
  • rabidpotatochip - October 8, 2010 3:08 p.m.

    In other news, a pig flew by my window this morning and the AC in Hell was said to be functioning again. I'm still not going to believe it until I see it on the shelf of my local games store.
  • SenatorPepper - October 8, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    DN 3D is probably my favorite single-player FPS after Dark Forces. (Doom holds a special place in my heart, but I'm willing to concede it hasn't held up as well as these two.) I'm hoping DNF will be a really polished, hilariously dumb Serious Same or Painkiller. But with more interesting levels.
  • Baron164 - October 8, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    I'm pumped for this game, it'll be nice to have a new Duke game actually come out and not just re-releasing the same Duke Nukem 3d.
  • dibs - October 8, 2010 2:58 p.m.

    So, all our heroes have to be made of cardboard then? I'm all for goofy, fun characters, but nothing says they can't be deep as well. Really in the end I need characters with depth, not a washed up cliche of 90's "'tude"
  • Lionzest7 - October 8, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    In a Sea of FPS good luck DNF. Btw I completely disagree with his dislike of creativity and innovation.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - October 8, 2010 2:30 p.m.

    Shane: Given the way things are going with Half-Life at the min... No, I'm not even going to say it. Don't tempt fate, Dave, don't tempt fate.
  • OriginalJonty - October 8, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    It's about time. Even Kratos was still a bit emo. Duke needs to bring back fun.
  • ShaneCedt - October 8, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    Yeah, Duke Nukem might be a badass, but you know who's also a badass? Gordon Freeman. No one-liners, no crying, no nothing. Just crowbarring aliens and the military with no damn jetpack or steroids to help him out. He ain't a pussy. I just hope we don't have to wait 12 years to see him again.
  • Redeater - October 8, 2010 2:16 p.m.

    @db1331 Shenmue jokes? Though we might not be able to do that much longer...
  • Fro4show - October 8, 2010 2:13 p.m.

    I like emotional games and characters sometimes, I like badass outright characters other times. Personally I think that Kratos does it best. Im am worried that the gameplay might be outdated. Its been like 12 years, maybe we've all grown out of it...
  • Hydrohs - October 8, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    I'm definitely looking forward to this coming out and enjoying a game that's sole purpose is to be kind of ridiculous.
  • db1331 - October 8, 2010 1:54 p.m.

    I think it's terrible that this game looks like it's actually going to come out for real this time. What are we going to do now that we can't make any DNF jokes?