To put this into context, Neville and I have talked about a multitude of things in our time, including but not exclusive to; a love of technology, social media, all things mobile and – on occasion – a shared love of really good whisky. Not this day however, this day we touched upon gaming. Particularly: Duke Nukem Forever (DNF).
It was when Neville and I were attending a conference together that he happened to tweet this Duke Nukem Forever review (from Ars Technica). To save reading time the overall opinion of the (fantastically written) piece is that DNF is terrible.
The first 30 minutes of the game consist of moments where people idolize you—oh, and you can turn the lights on and off. You walk through a museum where relics from the first game are stored, which gives you a hint at how this title was put together. While Gearbox obviously remembered all the neat little details that made Duke such a classic, they didn’t remember to put those details in a good game. The game is hollow.
Another thing to make clear at this point is that I am not a Duke Nukem player. However, I am aware of the series in general and, even if you have only a modicum of knowledge around the DN series, you know that this game has been at least 15yrs in the making and one point was consigned to the deadpool of games that were rumoured to exist but never actually get made – aka ‘vaporware‘.
So at long last – after 15yrs of waiting – the game arrives and it is ‘an overwhelming disappointment’.
“They’ve ruined it” said Neville. “It’s terrible. It’s like the developers [on purpose or not] have never left the 90s”
When such a monumental mistake is made with this kind of global brand property, the question has to be asked: what kind of effect has this had on the long term validity of the franchise?
Will there be another Duke Nukem game? Perhaps not. In the same way that in the film industry, trilogy opener The Golden Compass didn’t exactly set the box office alight (and subsequently never got finished), will Duke Nukem suffer also?
More and more we’re seeing money being
thrown at invested in gaming and – when systems are so far advanced and development costs are so high – a decent ROI is required to keep things moving. The question I posed to Neville, a fellow social media industry pundit and veteran, was:
How long will it be until the kind of reputation management processes we preach about make their way into this industry?
Devs on Twitter defending their work? Programmers blogging up in arms about the stress they’re placed under to deliver? What of the fans?
Another, arguably more popular, FPS franchise Modern Warfare came under fire recently for their plans around Call of Duty Elite that will require players to stump up an extra monthly fee for access to certain features. Pleased with this trend, the fans are not.
My point is: Reputation Management isn’t just about big FMCG brands, car manufacturers and retail. Other industries need to be involved too as, when the proverbial hits the fan, the processes need to be in place to handle it.
And, while Duke Nukem won’t exactly be taken off shelves and redesigned from the bottom up, perhaps the publishers will think twice in future before ruining such a beloved franchise ever again.
As the old adage goes:
It takes years to build a good reputation, and only seconds to destroy it.
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