back to article Duke Nukem flack eats words over threat to reviewers

The PR team behind the US launch of Duke Nukem Forever has apologised for threatening to blacklist publications who gave the eagerly anticipated title bad write-ups. After the game received critical brickbats, it seems topping the games sales charts wasn't enough of a consolation for The Redner Group. One staffer posted …


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  1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    so what?

    if it takes them another 12+ years to get the next Duke Nukem out, how many journos are going to care if they don't get the game?

  2. CmdrX3

    Speaking of blacklisting

    They should be blacklisted from the game producing community if that is the kind of piss poor shit they are releasing.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Speaking of community,

      When did they decide to retract their threat? Before or after they realized that only the Karachi Medical Gazette had written a vaguely positive piece, and so would be the only ones to receive a review copy?

  3. James Le Cuirot

    This reminds me...

    ...of the dispute between Team17 and Amiga Power.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It also reminds me of..

      ..A PC Pro review which started "XXXXX asked us to review YYYYY on the condition that they could pull the review if it was unfavorable. It didn't occur to them that we could simply go out and buy it then review it without censorship.... So we declined, and went out shopping". (I paraphrased a bit)

      I can't remember if the subsequent review slated or approved of the review. Either way, the review column after that regularly stated "Our editorials are independant, and are not influenced by our advertising department, we can simply go out and buy anything we want to do a review of". ( I paraphrase again).

      I think the Duke people probably recognised this, and that nowdays people are more ready to believe reviews that point out "we're independant, look we paid our own money to review this".

      1. Brangdon

        Advance copies

        Often reviewers get given a copy of the game a week or so in advance of it appearing in shops, so they can spend time playing it and publish an in-depth review by the time the game is available to buy. If the reviewer has to buy their own copy, they have to wait until release, and their reviews will be late. It seems a lot of games sales occur within a week of release, so the reviewer would miss out on a lot of excitement and buzz.

  4. Fibbles

    Titles are pointless

    Maybe if their PR team had sent out copies of the PC version for review rather than the horrendous 360 port they wouldn't be in this position? I doubt we'd have seen any ratings above 75%* but the reviews may have been a bit more balanced (something along the lines of that done by PC Gamer).

    *That's a review percentage, not a real world percentage where mediocre games get 50% and perfection gets 100%

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      PC Version seems no better.

      From what I understand, the game seems to be overall underwhelming, and this goes to the fundamentals of the game, not to anything attributable to porting. We seem to just have another case of "Too Late, Too Little".

      1. Arkasha

        "From what I understand..."

        so... no 1st hand experience then? Why'd you bother commenting on something you know nothing about? How likely is it that your 3rd hand opinion bears any relation to reality?

    2. LaeMing

      But but...

      ...then they wouldn't have got their console-manufarturers' bonuses in the mail.

  5. jonathanb Silver badge

    Cutting nose to spite face?

    If it doesn't have a good review on RegHardware, I don't buy it, and I'm probably not even aware that it exists, so blacklisting you means excluding your readers as potential customers.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I have heard

    Its so bad, people are not even bothering to pirate it :)

    1. TJK
      Thumb Up

      It's funny because it's true

      See title

  7. eric 2

    well well...El Reg saved me $59.95 so I'm happy

    Reg's piece on DNF saved me from buying it. I looked forward to the game for years, only to find out it's utter trash.

    Thanks El Reg!

  8. NoneSuch Silver badge

    If they keep producing such high quality games... Duke Nukem Forever, it will not be long before they go out of business anyway. So hollow threats all around.

  9. Asgard
    Thumb Up

    I'm very happy to see the coercive blacklisters named and shamed. :)

    This (attempting to) blacklist media outs is unfortunately an all to common occurrence and its been around for a long time, its just that now the blacklisters can be far more easily named and shamed online.

    This blacklisting is basically blackmail. The news providers seek to force news organizations to give them a favorable review or they threaten to withhold future news from the news companies and so as news companies need news to survive, its literally blackmailing them to try to put the news companies at a disadvantage, leaving only the crawling news companies to suck up to the blackmailing news providers.

    This is happening (and has happened) in all areas of news. Even political news organizations are treated this way by the governments (who try to delay and withhold future political news from news organisations that give them a bad review) and it has to be stamped out. So I think its great news these blacklisters are getting named and shamed. :)

    Back when we had only a few big corporate news outlets, (e.g. the old Murdoch like media empires of this world), then the blacklisting would have worked much more effectively, (because back then, the most corrupt media companies would have been at an advantage as they simply just played along with what the blacklisters wanted, whilst the more honest media companies would have been placed at a disadvantage as they would have got blacklisted. (In hindsight it goes a long way to explaining the rise of the corruption inherent in old media companies).

    But now we have the Internet, so someone somewhere is going to leak any attempt at blacklisting and news spreads in minutes, so no advantage in trying to withhold news. So I find it very interesting this all gives new media companies another advantage over old corporate media, with their biased reporting. Also ironically now the withholding of news can become the news online, so the blackmailers won't win online.

    Good on TheReg (and thank you) for reporting this attempted coercion. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: I'm very happy to see the coercive blacklisters named and shamed. :)

      El Reg were very right to write about this case, but *lots* of sites have been writing about this. Ars Technica, for example, had a comment from the company before 2K made its statement.

      However, as the PR company tweeted the threat, it's not really a case of naming and shaming guilty parties, is it?

  10. Studley

    No free copy of their next game...

    ...But there must be a downside too, right?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redner Group fired.

    "2K fires Redner Group over threat to punish bad Duke Nukem Forever reviews"

  12. RichyS


    Top if the charts? Is that what 12 years of pre-orders gets you?

  13. MrHorizontal

    You think games PR is bad

    try dealing with Ferrari as a motoring journo:

  14. NEXIS


    There's a diffrence between negitive criticism and being an all out abyss of human suffering and angst bent on pouring out your hatred for yourself in reviews. if a review is below the belt then what makes the person giving such vile reviews think they will be privileged to anything ever from the person/Co. being dragged through the mud. There is a limit to what one can/should say and still remain a respectable author.

  15. Head


    I am just hoping the PC version will leave me in a blissful state of post metrosexual wank-gasm!

  16. Heff

    Jeff Gerstmann, Macro Level

    ta da, right there is the reason that potals and sites which only deal in games only every give out 80% reviews as a "bad score", and this sort of crap will continue hilever there are kids that cant discern between a rehashed press packet and an actual review. which seeing as the kids in question are 8-14 year old, is prettymuch never.

    this is like the story about google and facebook playing dirty tricks with PR companies. the content itself isnt the story. the story is that Redner group is so fucking incompetant as to put it out there on display.

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    One thing I find really interesting

    Apparently, some people are blaming the console version for the amount of negativity in the reviews.

    Independantly of the gameplay, which should not change between an Xbox and a PC, there appears to be technical issues and exaggeratedly long load times.

    I remember a time where console fanatics were heralding the "death of the PC" due to the "perfect accomodation" of a known platform with set characteristics versus the heterogenous nature of the PC gaming hardware.

    Seems that the PC continues winning.

    1. Justicesays

      Ported the otherway

      This is what you get when you port a game from the PC platform to a Console, textures too big to render properly, levels to large to load quickly etc.

      You cant just recommend they get a graphics card with more memory for their XBox.

      When you go from console to PC you tinstead get interfaces that believe the mouse doesn't exist, forcing you to push the "Shoulder buttons"(?) on your keyboard to access your inventory and other such nonsense.

      The X-Box has made this alot worse as

      a) Microsoft lean on PC game manufacturers to release on X-Box as well (and first)

      b) X-box uses much the same API interfaces as windows , making is easy for lazy developers just to cross compile the game for PC (or vice versa) without bothering to actually modify it for the platform.

  18. nigel 15

    typo in first line of article

    blacklist publications who have the eagerly anticipated title bad write-ups. should be

    blacklist publications who gave the eagerly anticipated title bad write-ups. surely

    as for the game. feh, it's ok. i guess that's not a perfect review. but it wouldn't gave got me banned.

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