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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 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 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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RE: Who cares?
By JasonMick on 6/22/2011 3:04:15 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?


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.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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