Now that Duke Nukem is out and about and strutting his stuff on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, the drama surrounding the iconic hero and his fourteen-year journey through developmental hell just won't quit, and for good reason. A lot was riding on the release of Duke Nukem Forever: a lot of time, a lot of money, and a ton of emotions. For some, the harsh criticism against the game is something personal.
“I have no comments regarding bad reviews by clueless critics," said the voice behind Duke Nukem, Jon St John. "They seem to want to compare Duke Nukem Forever to Call Of Duty and other FPS’s and they are missing the point. My thoughts about Duke Nukem Forever: It freakin ROCKS! Lots of action, lots of fun, sexy, funny, irreverent… It’s everything I hoped it would be.”
Reviewers disagree. Duke Nukem Forever's Metacritic score for the PC version is an underwhelming 57 out of 100, followed by the PlayStation 3 version at 55 out of 100 and the Xbox 360 version at 49 out of 100. "The shooting is bland, the level design is uninspired, the jokes and ideas are old and tired, and the synthesis between old-school PC shooter and modern console shooter has resulted in a hideous chimera that rarely works as either," said IncGamers who gave the PC version a 42 out of 100.
But despite all the negativity Duke Nukem Forever is generating, the game is apparently also generating some hard cash for Gearbox and 2K Games. Gearbox Bossman Randy Pitchford, who became the game's sole promotional voice from the time it was brought out of limbo until the game hit the streets, has remained surprisingly quiet until now.
"With sales data, it seems like *customers* love Duke," he said on Twitter. "I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar..."
Analysts predict that Duke Nukem Forever will sell around 1.5 to 2 million units worldwide although first day sales of the game in the U.S. were "mediocre." Even more, Take Two shares took a beating on Tuesday as the negative reviews began to roll out, plunging more than 4-percent to $14.80. Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. believes the possibility of the company achieving its full-year earnings target "has been significantly reduced."