Gearbox CEO 'very proud' of Duke Nukem Forever
With all of the promising upcoming titles Gearbox is looking to deliver this year, CEO Randy Pitchford took some time to talk about a game that was released last year, and met with some pretty critical reception: Duke Nukem Forever.
"I took the risk to dive into the middle of that and be the one to finish it," Pitchford said to The Verge. "I bought the game and the brand and said look, this is never coming out unless we do something."
Well, Gearbox did something. After being in development hell for over 12 years, Duke Nukem Forever, thought to be forever un-shippable, was finally released by the company in 2011.
"I thought it was a worthwhile thing to do and I am very proud of [it]," said Pitchford.
Unfortunately, Duke Nukem Forever didn't live up to the hype, scoring an abysmal low-50s Metacritic rating. Pitchford blames the low scores on "15 years of expectations built up" and claims that of all the games they've shipped, Gearbox gets more positive fan mail from Duke Nukem Forever players.
"In the case of Duke Nukem Forever, there has been 15 years of expectations built up," Pitchford explained. "There are a lot of people who were perfectly gratified by the game; they liked the surprises, the details of how the humor manifested itself or how the scenarios manifested themselves ... and there were other people, because of the development effort or because of the way it’s been upsold throughout the years, there is just no possible way to meet or exceed such expectations."
To Pitchford, it's the fan response that indicates Gearbox hit the mark in terms of quality with Duke Nukem.
"The true definition of quality," he says, "is not about things like fidelity or features, or you know production values, or anything like that. The true definition of quality ... is to what extent does the thing meet or exceed expectations of the customer."
"We are so proud of that, you have no idea," Pitchford says. "It’s like, it is a miracle. The game exists and we get to see that content with what those guys have been working on for so long. And I love the game, I think it is hilarious frankly," Pitchford concluded.