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  (Source: arstechnica.com)

  (Source: gamefront.com)
Jim Redner explains what led to the tweet that got him fired from 2K Games

"Duke Nukem" fans waited nearly two decades for the follow up to "Duke Nukem 3D," which was released in 1996. Now that its successor, "Duke Nukem Forever," is finally here, many are wishing it would go back where it came from and stay there.

Such negative reviews did not sit well with the Redner Group, which is a video game PR company founded by Jim Redner in April 2009. Until recently, 2K Games was a client of the Redner Group, and the PR company was responsible for promoting and marketing "Duke Nukem Forever." But after Redner read a particularly nasty review of the game, he used Twitter to vent his frustration and 2K Games fired the Redner Group.

"Too many went too far with their reviews...we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom," said Redner's tweet.

This comment stirred the journalistic community, who saw Redner's tweet as a threat that whoever gives 2K Games' titles a bad review will be blacklisted from receiving video games for review in the future.

Now, Redner has appeared as a guest columnist on Wired.com to give a lengthy explanation of why he said what he said, and to clarify a few points. He described the particular review as being hateful and negative instead of fair, which led him to write the tweet.

"Opinions are never wrong," said Redner. "Reviews, when backed by fact, are always correct regardless of the score. The reviewer's story was downright mean spirited. It's as if the reviewer had a grudge and finally found an outlet to unleash his hostile brand of negativity. The review goes so far as to disparage the people who poured thousands of irreplaceable hours of their life, spent absent from families and loved ones, into the creation of this game."

While he did say that his actions were inappropriate and that he overreacted, Redner also defended his act by saying it was done out of an "act of passion." He explained that he was particularly tired and frustrated that evening, and made a rash decision to vent on Twitter where 15 million people can see what he says.

"It was a brain fart of epic proportions that registered on the social media Richter scale," said Redner.

"First and foremost, I do not support the McCarthy era notion of blacklisting. My tweet was not some social media form of the Waldorf Statement. I never used the word blacklist in my tweet. The term appeared in a story on Wired.com. I said that there were some reviews that had gone too far and that I was going to re-evaluate our reviews process (it was just one review and it wasn't even the lowest scored review). I have already apologized for my blunder and I will not do so again."

Redner went on to describe what it took to promote "Duke Nukem Forever," such as traveling from writer to writer to spread the word, hunting for clips, sending copies of the game to reviewers and meeting all client needs.

"'Duke Nukem Forever' was a labor of love for me,'" said Redner.

Redner also described the selection process when mailing copies of the game to writers. He noted that publishers do not have to send copies of games to reviewers. They have the right to select who they want to send it to just like writers have the right to write any review they please. He mentioned that the selection process is based on past coverage, past dealings and personal information gathered from certain writers, like their likes and dislikes as far as gaming goes. This selection process was not "blacklisting" certain writers, as other reports have pointed out.

"It is my job to generate consumer awareness and excitement through positive media attention in order to drive sales," said Redner. "I had handpicked certain key editors that I felt would enjoy the game for what it is. I based my selections on previous coverage and personal conversations. It is a selection process. The idea was to generate the highest possible cumulative scores for the game at launch."

Overall, Redner believes a particular review (which remains unnamed by Redner) had gone too far in regards to the poor review given to "Duke Nukem Forever." He believes writers can write poor reviews, but not to the extent of the anonymous review he speaks of. He mentioned that he still respects the honest and fair journalists he has worked with over the years, and wishes he had gone about this a different way.

"In hindsight, what I should have done was contact that writer directly and had an adult conversation about the issue, as I have done in the past," said Redner. 


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Who cares?
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2011 2:57:06 PM , Rating: 1
I don't care about all the bad reviews. I do care that a PR firm in charge of marketing a product threatens reviewers--that alludes to them being "bought" and "paid" for. Didn't this industry learn anything from the Gamespot Kain and Lynch fiasco?

Those games never earned a cent of my money because of it.

As for Duke--I bought the game. I've been playing it. I think it is great. It is a lot of fun, it has some flaws, but who cares. It is far from perfect but I haven't regretted buying it one bit.

I'm even looking forward to more games built off Duke's IP.




RE: Who cares?
By Omega215D on 6/22/2011 3:02:23 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, the PR guy probably shouldn't have done that but you gotta admit many reviewers sounded as if they had sticks up their butts as well.

Now is the game worth $50 (PC) or should I wait till it drops into $30 - 40 territory? I'll get the game as I always enjoyed the Duke Nukem franchise just wondering the price point.


RE: Who cares?
By Hieyeck on 6/22/2011 3:42:36 PM , Rating: 2
Notch has an excellent review as deep as the game is.

http://notch.tumblr.com/


RE: Who cares?
By rburnham on 6/22/2011 4:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
I bought the game for 45 dollars on Steam. I would say it is no more than a 40 dollar game. I really enjoyed it, but I feel that fans of Duke will like it at 40 dollars. Non-fans who just want a fun shooter will probably be better served when it hits 30 dollars.

The funny thing about the game is that the things that I found wrong with it are the same things I find wrong in modern shooters (frustrating boss battles, you can only carry two guns, puzzles that take away from the shooting). Is it possible that some people gave Duke a poor review because it mirrors the flaws in a lot of modern shooters? Maybe on a subconscious level that made some people mad?

Anyway, Duke is fun.


RE: Who cares?
By Jedi2155 on 6/23/2011 4:32:37 AM , Rating: 4
I blame Halo for ruining the shooter genre.


RE: Who cares?
By BZDTemp on 6/22/2011 5:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
Check the demo or let me just put it this way - this is the first Duke game I'm not gonna buy. There are two reasons for that:

1. I'm clearly not the target audience.
2. If the demo is anything to go by it is the huge disappointment the reviews also tell it is.

As for the 1. then let me elaborate. It's like they have taken the humor "formula" of the old games and let someone without humor doing the writing. Imagine someone that does not get South Park be ordered to write an episode - they will tick all the boxes but Kenny's death will be from natural causes. In other words the humor is for like a 8 year old that think a dirty word is fun to say.


RE: Who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2011 6:32:30 PM , Rating: 3
I think the guy is dead on. Clearly they blew it when selecting reviewers. Most of the Duke Nukem Forever reviews were extremely off base, unprofessional, and clearly biased. Also they never looked at the game for what it was, their entire perceptions seems skewed about what they were reviewing. I wonder if half of them actually played the game or the original.


RE: Who cares?
By B3an on 6/23/2011 1:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I think DNF got the scores it deserves, but most of the reviewers seem plain hateful and immature.
A lot of the reviewers seem to be politically correct nazi's as well. If duke offends there tiny minds then they should stick to reviewing rehashed Nintendo sh*t.


RE: Who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/23/2011 8:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
The problem I have with game scores is that it automatically assumes there is some standard for video games. A concept I reject.

Games should be reviewed on how "fun" they are for their target audience.


RE: Who cares?
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/22/2011 3:04:15 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't care about all the bad reviews. I do care that a PR firm in charge of marketing a product threatens reviewers--that alludes to them being "bought" and "paid" for. Didn't this industry learn anything from the Gamespot Kain and Lynch fiasco?

Exactly.

At least not everyone's on the take. I fondly remember an old issue of Pocket Gamer in which they gave the two GameBoy Color Austin Power stinkers an 'F' each, in the same issue that the makers of the game bought several prominent full-page ads.

Now THAT'S objective/gutsy journalism at its finest...


RE: Who cares?
By ClownPuncher on 6/22/2011 3:20:25 PM , Rating: 3
Being honest shouldn't be considered gutsy, it should be considered normal. Ah well, I can deam, can't I?


RE: Who cares?
By therealnickdanger on 6/22/2011 4:21:00 PM , Rating: 3
Today when I was taking a phone survey after calling Xcel Energy about cutting down some trees. The woman I spoke with was excellent, very polite and soft spoken, and easy to understand. The options for the survey were 0-5, 0 being below expectations, 3 met expectations, and 5 exceeded expectations.

Thinking about it objectively, my experience was a 3. I've got a bit over 10 years of retail experience and at no point should someone working in customer service be anything but polite and helpful - that should be the norm, the 3. However, I answered all 5s because I knew she would likely otherwise be reprimanded if I voted with 3s.


RE: Who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2011 6:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
There's a difference between threatening someone and calling them out. He called the reviewers out, and rightfully so. Their reviews were rubbish.


RE: Who cares?
By petrosy on 6/22/2011 7:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
but not as rubbish as the game! I think the Ars Technica review was spot on.... I bough the game and wish I had spent my cash on a more deserving title.

I can't believe I waited so long to be dissappointed... now I knwo how my parents feel!


RE: Who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2011 9:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
Developers aren't responsible for our nostalgia pushing unreasonable expectations.


RE: Who cares?
By Manch on 6/22/2011 3:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
I read a lot of the reviews, and a lot of them seem to be a little unfair, and their were a couple that were just attacks on the game. I understand the mans fustration. He knows what he said, and he knows he shouldnt have said it the way he did. He says as much. He lost his client over it which has to hurt his pockets. As far as I'm concerned it's beating a dead horse that was rendered using the Quake 4 engine :P

I like the game. Granted it's dated, and doesnt look that great, but I think it's funny and I'm enjoying the nostalgia of it all. My only wish was that they released it at a reduced price. I think at $30, the reviews may have been more positive and they would sell a lot more. I do hope they bring out a totally new game for Duke tho. I'm sure they will since they paid good money for the rights.


RE: Who cares?
By B-Unit on 6/22/2011 3:46:43 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. I read several reviews in the hours leading up to release, and couldn't believe the vitriol spewed out. Harping for entire paragraphs about how 'juvenile' the jokes were, and ranting about how 'wrong' it is to be able to pick up and throw a turd, even tho the whole time you do it Duke complains about what a sick f**k you are for making him do that.

The only silver lining was learning that after all these years, the consoles finally got a shitty port of a decent PC game! S*ck it down!!


RE: Who cares?
By Aikouka on 6/22/2011 4:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
That reminds me of when I was reading reviews for the movie "Kick-Ass" and I came across Ebert's review (I usually read his). It didn't take long for me to realize that his entire review for the movie focused around the fact that the movie had an 11 year-old girl swearing and killing people and how that was morally wrong. All I could think about was, "Okay... so is the movie fun to watch?" I ignored his review, saw the movie anyway, and had a good time.

His review may have been good for some if they agreed with his stance that such things in the movie were morally reprehensible, but I found it in bad taste. I stopped reading Ebert's reviews after that.


RE: Who cares?
By kattanna on 6/22/2011 4:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
yeah i remember all the fuss about the little girl and just recently watched it, and i have to say, if she wasnt in it like she was it wouldnt have been nearly as good.

same with this game. its a GAME.. its not life LOL


RE: Who cares?
By bety on 6/22/2011 5:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
"His review may have been good for some..."

Fine, by your own admission he made it clear what his complaint about the movie was. Just because you don't think it was an issue doesn't mean it was in "bad taste". He thought the movie was in bad taste! You disagreed. That doesn't make his review bad.


RE: Who cares?
By Aikouka on 6/23/2011 11:52:15 AM , Rating: 2
Typically when someone pulls a quote out and leaves off the rest of the sentence, they begin to read things out of context. Which... is exactly what you did. Let me explain that sentence a bit more as I guess the intent wasn't clear.

When I read Ebert's review, my only thought was, "Okay... there's a little girl that swears and kills people, but what about the rest of the movie?" He essentially went on a moral tirade about a single character that he found morally reprehensible and ignored any other aspect of the film. How was the music... the cinematography... the (other) characters? His review wasn't a review... it was a rant. A review needs a sense of objectivity to be effective.

I was looking around Rotten Tomatoes the other day, and I noticed that a new Winnie the Pooh movie was coming out and had a few reviews already. Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked at it regardless of my interest in the movie :P. There was a negative review for the movie that was along the same lines as the Ebert review where the reviewer essentially stated that he never liked the Pooh stories, and that he hates this movie too. How is that review helpful at all?


RE: Who cares?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2011 6:40:06 PM , Rating: 1
Ebert? People still listen to that fat paid-off fuck?

He lost all credibility as a reviewer when he gave the Star Wars prequels such glowing reviews. The writing, dialogue, plot and cinematography of those movies were pure SHIT. He was clearly paid off, no self respecting movie reviewer could possibly see so much good in those movies.


RE: Who cares?
By RjBass on 6/22/2011 6:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I love it. Ya the graphics are from 2008, but it doesnt matter, it's better then 3D's graphics from 96. It was done in true DN style, and is awesome.


RE: Who cares?
By inperfectdarkness on 6/22/2011 10:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
well imho, it's about time that reviewers got some of it back. need i point to the instance where a reviewer of postal2 was going to give it an 8/10, but was told by his boss that he could give it a max of 2.5/10?

reviewers suck. critics in video games are even worse than other media. it's been treated as a platform to spread individual ideology--not as an unbiased forum to evaluate each game on its respective merits.


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