Tainted Love: The Marketing of Duke Nukem Forever

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DeathWyrmNexus:
I do love being written off as a fanboy by the pretentious who make sure to state they "get" adult humor. Yes, it was a nice article but it also gets rather sigh inducing. I am getting quickly tired of all the people who write about the game acting like it did lascivious acts to them as a child and this is their one and only chance to get payback. It's... Weird.

It wasn't going to and didn't change the world of FPS but I've had plenty of fun. I got my nostalgia and an average shooter with quirky bits of multiplayer. I still enjoy stalking people in Duke Burger with my friends.

I am also galled by how many people act like Duke 3D was somehow different... You could kill women in cocoons, there were strippers, there were porno flicks. The level of humor is pretty much the same. What I find funny is that Duke is basically Tony Stark without the pretension and gift of being Robert Downey Jr. Yet, I don't see the bile and misogyny card played every five seconds on Tony Stark. So yes, I am glad it is going to make money. I am waiting for DLC. Hell, my wife is waiting for DLC.

I found parts of the trailers and the footage I watched of this game genuinely upsetting and unpleasant. By this, I don't mean some faux moral outrage offendedness; I mean I genuinely felt sick and upset and found it hard to get some of the images out of my head.

DN3D was pretty vile too. I'm old enough to remember it, and I'm also old enough to remember choosing not to buy it after seeing a demo, even though I liked shooters and played games like Doom, Heretic, Quake etc.

I don't deny the company their right to make or sell this game, or to make money from it, but all I will say is that just because something is supposed to be funny doesn't make it okay, and if you tell me you love this game or find it funny I will think less of you for that. Sorry, but that's just how I feel. Enjoy your DLC.

I'm not enitrely sure what they've done with Duke here, he was meant to be selfish and cliched, but he always respected women in an odd sort of "they give me pleasure and they're soft" sort of way, at least enough to murder aliens and catch bullets with his health bar.

Anyway, that was a truly interesting read and I'm glad to see you posting articles again.

Bad graphics, dated level design, immature humor, long loading times...

Still found it more fun than Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm.

Really interesting read!
Hope Gearbox & 3DRealms create something more polished and more 'acceptable' with their clean slate.

ms_sunlight:

DeathWyrmNexus:
I do love being written off as a fanboy by the pretentious who make sure to state they "get" adult humor. Yes, it was a nice article but it also gets rather sigh inducing. I am getting quickly tired of all the people who write about the game acting like it did lascivious acts to them as a child and this is their one and only chance to get payback. It's... Weird.

It wasn't going to and didn't change the world of FPS but I've had plenty of fun. I got my nostalgia and an average shooter with quirky bits of multiplayer. I still enjoy stalking people in Duke Burger with my friends.

I am also galled by how many people act like Duke 3D was somehow different... You could kill women in cocoons, there were strippers, there were porno flicks. The level of humor is pretty much the same. What I find funny is that Duke is basically Tony Stark without the pretension and gift of being Robert Downey Jr. Yet, I don't see the bile and misogyny card played every five seconds on Tony Stark. So yes, I am glad it is going to make money. I am waiting for DLC. Hell, my wife is waiting for DLC.

I found parts of the trailers and the footage I watched of this game genuinely upsetting and unpleasant. By this, I don't mean some faux moral outrage offendedness; I mean I genuinely felt sick and upset and found it hard to get some of the images out of my head.

DN3D was pretty vile too. I'm old enough to remember it, and I'm also old enough to remember choosing not to buy it after seeing a demo, even though I liked shooters and played games like Doom, Heretic, Quake etc.

I don't deny the company their right to make or sell this game, or to make money from it, but all I will say is that just because something is supposed to be funny doesn't make it okay, and if you tell me you love this game or find it funny I will think less of you for that. Sorry, but that's just how I feel. Enjoy your DLC.

I worry about the life you must have to find like this that jarring. Especially after the article mentioned Family Guy. I feel sorry for you. Seriously... Hopefully the rest of your evening is better.

mikev7.0:
Hello I just wanted to leave a quick post to say that I couldn't finish your arcticle. I'm sorry, I know everyone here at the Escapist considers themselves the intelligentsia yet they are the elite that apparently doesn't know how to spell or type. Reading the posts here is often nearly too hard to let me finish them.

So when I find typos and poor editing in "professional" material? Especially material that is already being critical of someone else's work? Right. See yuh.

Glass houses y'all....

Yea, I was thinking a little of the same thing. It felt like a pretentious letter, with typos.

I mean the basic points of the article are correct. They used contrived controversy, nostalgia and anything other than gameplay in order to sell the game. But the tone of the whole article felt a bit holier than thou.

nice view about marketing!
liked it very much, thanks for that!

We missed you *Hugs*

I think an exaple of marketing really not being met by the product is what we have seen from dead island. The game had an intial flurry of "Wow that trailer was neat" but as soon as people saw what the game would actuallly be they switched off almost in disgust a what they saw as a bait-and-switch. Now dead island actually looks like a very decent game BUT their initial marketing built something up they simply couldn't live up to.

The dissapointment of some with Halo 3 was not really due to the game ebing at all bad (it was actually pretty great) it was to do with the MASSIVE marketing machine that was built around it pre-launch. This got INSANE and even the best game in the world would still leave many with a sense of "They made all that fuss.. for THIS?!".

Duke is just an example of this but more extream, the disparity between marketing and reality was pretty wide and the type of marketing used really didn't play into anyone giving the game a good reveiw.

I just have to say that I like JP and his articles on marketing, some of the best writing on the subject matter to be found on the Escapist and the web in general. I also think it's a cruelly overlooked item on the Escapsist - gamer marketing is some of the most aggressive.

This industry that we are all bought into relies heavily on non-mainstream marketing. When was the last time you saw a TV advert for a game? I think I saw one for Halo during the SuperBowl (?) this year and was shocked. I expect to see Mass Effect 3 adverts and see the same "what the hell was that" from my family and friends; nonganers just don't get them.

My wife works in accounts for an advertising company in Soho (London, as if there is any other), and games are a tiny part of their remit, even though they do work for Xbox live, the money just isn't anywhere near the amount for games as it is for simple things like bread or old age incontinence pants. The money in traditional marketing spheres just isn't there for games and so advertisers like Redcar have to resort to selling the myth and not the product. In the paraphrased words of Terry Pratchet; selling the smell of sausages without the sausage.

That's what Duke Nukem Forever is, the marketing smell of a sausage but when bitten into you get the grizzle, lips, eyes and arseholes of disappointing gaming.

WaspFactory

I missed your articles greatly.

That said, I'd probably agree that the biggest problem was the fact that the victims were willing. To demonstrate...the cartoon Johnny Bravo (though lacking sexual overtones) is funny PRECISELY because he always struts around ladies, flexes his pecks and calls them names that are just hilariously lame in this day and age...and the girls ALWAYS give him a beating for it. That's what makes that type of relentless mysogony (light though it may be) funny - because you can certainly see women in this day and age reacting the same way (and not necessarily because he got what he deserved for all of you hypersensitive types that feel the need to think JUSTICE! at this point - Johnny Bravo is just genuinely clueless to the fact that the times have moved on from when this sort of approach was actually considered bold, something he and Duke Nukem most definitely share in spades). There is an even more awesome episode, however, about how Johnny Bravo's mysogony is at least honest and really is nothing compared to the lying sleazes that regularly successfully pick up babes but...that's getting off topic now.

The point being...that's the problem here really. It's not that Duke should be a different person - hell no! Duke should always be the Duke. The problem is that the game world, in which he finds himself, hasn't moved on without him. If he managed to stick to his guns to the end of the game through the adversity of modern sensibilities constantly trying to change who he is...then sure I might actually have a bit more interest. Because like it or not, that is the tale of a hero making it to the end in spite of the world telling him he's passe. And wether you agree with his style or not, it would actually make Duke a true old-skool hero again!

Unfortunately, by all accounts, the writers and game designers didn't have the savvy to think of doing something like this to surprise their audience with it. And instead we just got a mysogynistic fantasy land that really holds little long-lasting appeal. A shame really, because I'd probably like a story of someone, who is at the very least completely honest about himself, making it through to the end in spite of the many politically correct hypocrites that try to dissuade him from his path.

TL;DR It's not what Duke does during the game that's offensive. It's how the characters within the game react to his actions that is offensive by deliberately overestimating the audience's suspension of disbelief.

Sovvolf:

TerribleAssassin:
But to be honest, like Yahtzee said, you can't live up to 12 years of development time, they marketed it well, but under the presumption that it could live up to 12 years.

I honestly think it could have or at least gotten close if they'd just stripped the game back to the drawing board and maybe started again. What they did is, they released a game that as been in development hell for 12 years, just polished it up to the point that its just about playable and released it.

So as many have pointed out, it looks and feels like a dated, inconsistent mess. If taken back to the drawing board, reworked and such from the ground up... I think they could have released a very good game.

Hopefully now that this one is out the way and they still have the I.P rights, they'll release a new one from the ground up.

I really don't think that is the case. I imagine they took a few concept boards and such from the initial 10-11 years of developing to help with stage ideas but that was the extent. Everything beyond Duke's humor and some of the levels feels like a Halo reskin. In my opinion, it was made from the ground up within the past year or so. They just chose to model it after the modern games which, for a game that is being sold on nostalgia, was probably the worst move possible.

I think, if anything, DNF proves how bad the modern FPS age is. If this was Halo, people would have been all over it, 10/10 from every reviewer on the Microsoft payroll, because it IS a Halo game. But, we went into it expecting a Duke Nukem game; the "old school" shooters. When all we got was a reskin of Halo, the nostalgia goggles broke and it got the scorn it deserved.

First of all,

Thanks for the warm reception back to the fold. I really appreciate it.

I'll take aim at the critiques first:
- typos and grammar flubs. Good input, I re-read the article and found a couple of them... I'll put more time in editorial to make sure those rookie errors happen less frequently.
- holier than thou tone:
obviously, that's not my intention, however like any writer, I need to weigh the information, the emotion I want to convey and my audience.

I appreciate your critiques and will work to do better.

Again, I had a blast writing this and by all means, if you have any burning questions about the marketing of video games, drop me a DM and I'll put it in my spreadsheet of article topics. My goal is a new article every other week.

Thanks again!

Welcome back. Always nice to get a little inside glimpse at how the wheels turn.

Honestly, this was exactly what I expected from DNF. A metric ton of hype, and zero follow through. Hopefully they just needed to get 12 years of constipation out of their system, and now a real Duke Nukem sequel can get started. (not exactly holding my breath for that one though)

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