So Duke Nukem Forever came out. Those are some words many of us never thought we’d say, read, type or hear, but it happened. And boy did people not like it all that much.
Nobody apparently took more offense to this than Jim Redner of The Redner Group, 2K’s PR firm for Duke Nukem Forever. He tweeted the following:
“#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many people went too far with their reviews. We are reviewing who gets game next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.”
Now, I have corresponded with Jim on several occasions. I like him. He’s been very friendly to Game Over Nation, and even sent us a couple of review copies of other games when he likely had no clue who we were. I’m not the only one who’s felt this way. Guys who I respect, who have likely dealt with Jim a lot more often, such as Arther Gies of IGN, have said nothing but the best about Jim and I believe it. I got the impression that a lot of people were surprised by his comments.
That being said, Jim, you done goofed. He knows it, and he has issued apologies to many outlets. Then to top it off, 2K fired him as the PR rep for any of their products. At that point I kind of started to think that 2K made the bigger mistake. I don’t think it’s any secret that sometimes review copies stop showing up after a particularly harsh review. Jim just had the balls to say it. Also, he mentioned venom in some reviews. I don’t think that was necessarily an implication that a bad score meant you weren’t getting a copy in the future. Joystiq gave the game a 2/5, but I don’t think I saw a bit of venom in the review… same with Giant Bomb. IGN posted a 5.5/10, but Charles Onyett defended his opinions very clearly. Venom implies irrational criticism, and who gives a fuck if those people don’t get a review copy again?
To take it one step further, Jim’s job is not to be fair and balanced… he’s not a journalist and he’s not media. His job is to present the products he represents in the best light possible. He’s a salesman. 2K, he stood behind your fucking game no matter what stupid way you decided to promote it. Hey we’ve got Duke slapping asses, Jim was there for you. Hey, we’re delaying the most delayed game ever and tagging it with “Duke never comes early…” Jim was there, dawg. Hey, we released a game that was generally perceived as poor quality… Jim was so there he lost his fucking job for it. Jim may have cared more about the success of Duke Nukem Forever than 2K, Gearbox, and Duke combined. Maybe 2K felt that they had to do what they did because something was compromised? But really, what was compromised? He didn’t say “hey, those checks aren’t headed your way anymore reviewers.” He didn’t even threaten to skew future scores by only hitting up favorable outlets. Like I said above, he was more concerned with legitimate venom than he was with a bad score. Also, if it was really that big of a stink, I can guarantee that a lot of outlets would just buy a copy and fucking review it. Giant Bomb has said as much. Hell we buy almost every copy of every game we review. I know that Ben Kuchera at ArsTechnica has said that he started off buying all his own review copies. Not saving people $60 on review copies won’t keep word from getting out that your game is bad. Jim made a mistake, but he stood with you. And when it came to Duke, he may have been in the minority.