The PR Man Whose Duke Nukem Forever Tweet Got Him Fired Speaks Out

Illustration for article titled The PR Man Whose emDuke Nukem Forever/em Tweet Got Him Fired Speaks Out

If you know the name Jim Redner, there's a good chance you know him for the single Duke Nukem Forever tweet that caused a brief public relations shitstorm last week. If you don't, Jim Redner will tell you all about the "brain fart" that caused Duke Nukem Forever's publisher to drop him like a bad habit.

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Redner, dropped by publisher 2K Games last week after calling out reviewers of Duke Nukem Forever for their "venom"—he later apologized—explains his side of the story at Wired's Epicenter.

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The source of Redner's frustration that ultimately lead to that heated-then-deleted tweet, he writes, was one review in particular.

"It was a scathing diatribe masked as a review," Redner says. "Hate is a strong word, but I believe after reading his review it is fair to say that the reviewer hated the game."

"I overreacted when I read the review and I vented on Twitter," he continues. "It was an act of passion on my part that lacked objectivity. In my opinion, someone had gone over the top to attack the game and those who spent their lives trying to make it. Ultimately, I committed a cardinal sin in marketing."

(Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford recently offered more measured defenses of Duke Nukem Forever, which he likened to other guilty pleasures.)

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Redner goes on to explain the process by which he fields what he says are hundreds (or more) requests for preview and review copies of games, a process that is largely governed by Metacritic weight and an outlet's coverage of the game before consumer interest peaks, right around launch day.

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The man behind The Redner Group goes on to explain more about the thought process behind which media outlet often gets which games for reviews, noting that he never used the word "blacklisting" in his original lashing out on Twitter.

"Publishers are under no obligation to send out copies of their game for review," Redner writes. "They reserve the right to pick and choose who they want to send their game too, just like writers have the right to publish a review in any manner they choose. It's call[ed] selection. It's a choice. [...] I personally have sent first person shooter games to one editor knowing that he likes FPS games, but then not sent him a copy of a game based on our national pastime because I know he finds baseball boring. That's not blacklisting. It's a selection process."

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There's a lot more where that came from, so if you're interested in some behind-the-scenes details on reviews and the people who control them, head to Wired.

Illustration for article titled The PR Man Whose emDuke Nukem Forever/em Tweet Got Him Fired Speaks Out
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Guest Column: My Side of the Duke Nukem Twitter ‘Brain Fart' [Wired]

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DISCUSSION

reynoldswrap
reynoldswrap

Tycho from Penny Arcade said it best.

"I was trying to explain this to Gabriel yesterday: it’s the job, the actual job, of PR to ensure that the game gets a soft landing in the press. You might think, as he did, that a game’s score is a function of its quality. It’s a factor, certainly. But it’s a rare title that breaks out of the 7.5 to 9 range, isn’t it? That’s not innumeracy, it’s the warping field generated by this relationship. As a young man, I might have used the F-word more frequently in my depiction of this phenomenon. I might have taken it upon myself to rail with greater fury and make dire proclamations. Now I just look at it and see its shape, in the dispassionate way I might look at a biopsy of someone else’s cancer.

There is nothing - let me repeat - there is nothing strange about what he said. It is only strange that he said it. What he described is the way it already works, which is why it didn’t seem weird to him as he was typing it. The relationship between publishers and the press is increasingly fraught, and with good reason; outside of a handful of truly massive outlets, the press literally has nothing to offer them."

The game, quite frankly, received reviews that were far too negative for how enjoyable it was. People were literally going out of their way to bash the game down. If it hadn't taken fifteen years, if it had just quietly slipped under the radar and been released in the same exact form but with less drama surrounding it, it probably would have scored solid 7's. But because it was a game with a lot of hype surrounding it, it was bashed to hell.

Don't give me that "it was bashed because it was a bad game" bullshit, either. It's NOT a bad game. You could make the case for mediocre. But mediocre games typically receive 6's and 7's, not 2's to 5's.

Opinions are never wrong, I realize, but the tone of all of those reviews has been downright insulting. The game did nothing to deserve the lashing that it got, the language that it got, or anything like that.

You know what? I think those media outlets, such as Destructoid (Jim Sterling is a fat turd), SHOULD be blacklisted. Not because they didn't give it a good score, but because they're unprofessional as hell.