Why was Duke Nukem Forever s**t?
Developer demands answers
Game developer Gearbox has put together an online survey asking for feedback on its widely-panned game Duke Nukem Forever.
When the shooter was released in June after 14 years of delay after delay and almost unflagging anticipation, it was hit by stonkingly bad reviews. Aside from the super cool launch party, we weren't too pleased with our own Duke Nukem Forever experience either.
Your chance to put the boot in
With the company already talking up plans to continue the franchise, it clearly feels a reminder is needed of where it all went wrong.
"Gearbox prides itself in listening to the community, and this is your chance to tell us how you feel about Duke Nukem Forever," the DNF survey reads. You don't have to have played the game - or at least not admit to the fact - to submit your thoughts.
Unfortunately, all opinions are anonymous and private, so we can't pick out some hilariously negative submissions for your entertainment. Feel free to write your own in our comments box before sending it off to Gearbox, though. ®
How can you give them proper feedback if all you're doing is regurgitating what reviewers told you about the game? Given that you aren't even interested in a sequel means your opinions would be worth even less to them.
Endless indistinguishable corridors?
Did you ever play the original Duke 3D? Thousands of textures, spread across (IIRC) 16 .ART files (held within the main duke3D.grp archive)- and used to great effect to create some pretty impressive scenery. Even now you can look at screenshots and say 'that's duke 3D'. From cracks in the ground to submarines to space-stations, it really was a fantastically varied game.
The level design was great too- it's the earliest 3D shooter I can think of off the top of my head that had crawling through air vents, working mirrors, multi-layered levels (which are a bitch to work with in a 2D level editor :P), a character with visible legs, security cameras, an interactive pool table or even just non-linear level design (they were more realistic, with multiple paths from one place to the other- the Richard Gray (The Levelord) made a point of having levels that it was difficult to get trapped or cornered in).
Nothing I've played recently- with the possible exception of some levels in Deus Ex 3- has had level design to match it.
DNF was an embarrassment to the masterpiece of a game that was the original Duke3D, even if it was cheesy as hell!
Filled it in.
After selecting "I did not play", I got a set of questions along the lines of "do you like shooters with puzzle elements / driving sections", etc.
Clicked Next and that was the end of the survey.
I suspect they're only interested in the opinion of people who played it (and hence probably bought it, or were able to play for free) and not the opinion of people who deliberately DID NOT buy it after reading reviews / seeing footage. Which kinda seems contrary to the point. If you bought it, they probably don't care about it because you bought it. If they could work out why people WEREN'T buying it, though, that would be a million times more useful to them.
I didn't buy it because:
1) It was shite, as the article inferred.
2) It was a dull, wishy-washy FPS with no imagination, specifically:
a) linear. TOO MUCH LINEARITY. By far
b) toilet-humour with nothing to back it up with
c) over-use of violence/sex as the reasoning behind a character / image / scene
d) It looked and, from what I saw, played like a shooter from the pre-Duke era with fancier graphics
e) None of the "good" content that's been leaked of previous iterations of DNF were included.
3) It was expensive
Seriously, the title was nothing more than a cash-in on the name. Want to know why it failed? Go look at other FPS and even the original Duke.
And stop being patronising - you really AREN'T interested in why it failed, hence why your survey doesn't even cover the greater proportion of people who you need to capture.
P.S. Think we'll be buying another sequel even if you fix most of the problems? Think again.
It was nothing like a game from 1998
Almost purely linear levels pushing you relentlessly from cut scene to cut scene are a much newer invention. As the cost of assets has gone up the temptation to limit the ability for the player to explore has raised proportionally, presumably in order to ensure that all the money is on show. A bog-standard shooter from 1998 would have been endless indistinguishable corridors and caves and an insistence on making you find coloured key cards and buttons.
As for the feedback, I notice they've stuck to asking how much you approve of Duke's style of humour rather than anything about the specific execution. So that's: "Well, obviously you have a problem with the style of content" as a counterargument to "It's just not funny".
"the core game play hadnt changed since 1998."
Nintendo has been reissuing virtually identical sequel / remakes of Mario, Pokemon, Zelda etc. since the year dot. They tend to be high quality titles though and attract high review scores.
So it doesn't really matter if a game is just more or the same as long as it delivers it with some style and perhaps a little twist of innovation each time around.
I think Duke Nukem's problems were simply that the title had been languishing in developer hell for fifteen years. It must have undergone countless rewrites, staff turnovers, arguments, and eventually the money was burned out. it's new publisher decided to cobble a game together from the assets in the shortest time possible. I don't particularly blame them for that. The real failing lies with 3D Realms / George Broussard for turning the project into a money pit in the first place.
It's not unique amongst games for not delivering after a lengthy, troubled gestation but it probably stands as the worst example by far.