Duke Nukem Forever: Randy Pitchford Talks PS3 Version, PlayStation Legacy

Duke Nukem Forever for PS3

“It’s like shaking hands with Bigfoot or riding the Loch Ness monster,” said Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford when talking about finally releasing Duke Nukem Forever. Look up the term ‘vaporware’ and Duke Nukem Forever will likely be used as an example, but it’s real and it’s coming to PlayStation 3 in just over a week. I caught up with Randy Pitchford to ask why you should always bet on Duke.

Duke is an all-American hero with the Stars and Stripes featuring heavily in the game’s art style. Characters like that haven’t always been so popular in Europe. Why is Duke an exception?

It’s because Duke is a caricature of all that – it’s silly! Duke Nukem takes place 12 years after Duke saved the world and he has leveraged that to live like a king. He’s walked on the moon, climbed Everest… he’s done it all. The only thing bothering him is that they were supposed to make a video game about him saving the world and it has taken 12 years for them to finish it. I think it’s that angle that makes it work internationally because we parody that image of America that exists in Duke’s world.

How do you meet the expectations and conventions of when the game was originally conceived and those surrounding its release, so many years later?

Because of the legendary development cycle of the game, it’s natural to imagine that we’ve just been sitting on parts of the game since 1997. That’s not true – it’s a modern game. The way you get a character like Duke is take all of the action heroes you can think of and then blend all of their most memorable traits and blend them together, and then exaggerate that even more. Basically, he is borne from the sum of all clichés.

If you look at the modern heroes currently being created for games and action movies, for some reason, they’re all taking themselves very seriously and trying to be more human. We [Gearbox] have done that too – just take a look at our Brothers in Arms games. We’re dealing with real human emotions and problems, but Duke doesn’t have any problems – he just goes around kicking ass.

What I’m getting at is that Duke started out as a cliché but now he stands out from the crowd, which is an odd thing to happen. I think that’s why he has become a meme despite there being no games about him for so long and Duke Nukem Forever leverages that. In some ways, games have come so far, especially when you look at what a machine like the PlayStation 3 is capable of, but there are still game experiences and mechanics that are kind of timeless, and we’re trying to hit a smart balance between that and modern sensibilities and technology.

Duke Nukem Forever for PS3Duke Nukem Forever for PS3

How can you reassure our fans that the PS3 version of the game is going to be top-notch?

Gearbox has a lot of experience with the PlayStation 3 with Borderlands and Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway and the PS3 version of Duke Nukem Forever is something we’re really proud of. What I particularly like about it as a platform are the vibrancy of the colours you’re able to get, the great performance and just how open the PlayStation Network platform is.

Interestingly, most of the Duke games have found their way onto PlayStation consoles; in fact, there are more Duke games on PlayStation than on any other platform. Sony customers of this generation deserve to experience playing as Duke and I’m glad we’re able to do it so well.

How is that current generation you speak of going to ‘get’ Duke’s mythology know what he is all about?

The game is designed not to have any entry point so it doesn’t really matter if you’ve played the previous games or not. Anyway, everyone has heard of Duke if only from all of the memes I see going around like ‘Balls of Steel’, the ‘Ventrilo Harassment’ video and ‘Always Bet on Duke’, which is a funny joke because this game has been in development for so long that it’s the one thing you probably shouldn’t bet on, but now its here.

Duke Nukem Forever for PS3Duke Nukem Forever for PS3

Duke Nukem Forever is surely one of the most talked about games, not least by you yourself, after such a lengthy press tour. Is there anything you haven’t revealed yet?

This game is massive and we’re only scratching the surface. I feel like we’ve put less out there than we did for Borderlands but such is the interest in the game that people are jumping on anything we announce and picking up the stories. Take the Penny Arcade Expo, where we announced that we were releasing Duke Nukem Forever, we didn’t tell anyone that we were going to be there or schedule any press, yet it became the number one trending topic on twitter worldwide.

You’ve told us before that some members of the original 3D Realms team have been working on the game; what’s going to be next for them?

Each person is their own individual but, as far as I’m concerned, Allen [Blum, 3D Realms Senior Level Designer] walks on water. He is Duke and he is one of the reasons I moved out to Texas in the mid-90s to join 3D Realms. I’m going to try and talk him into coming to E3. It has to be amazing to be in his shoes right now, to see the game finally coming out having been there for the whole ride. Then again, I can’t just single him out and I have to recognise the commitment that George Broussard, Scott Miller and others brought to the game. They’ve done so much for the industry – without Scott and George, we wouldn’t have had Wolfenstein and I don’t think the first-person genre would be as popular as it is today.

0 Author replies
ConvStation 01 June, 2011 @ 21:13

Time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I`m all out of gum…

Balls of steel


I just hope the store is back up before the First Access demo launches. I need to playing this game as soon as possible.


I don’t know other developers have said the ps3 version is top notch and it ends up being just rubbish *cough* treyarch *cough*

supersmith2500 01 June, 2011 @ 21:54


Duke Nukem returns to PlayStation after he had 3 titles from the PS1 Era (Duke 3D, Time to Kill and Land of the Babes), Shame he didn’t get Manhattan Project and Duke 3D since those are Xbox 360 exclusives. Not to mention, one score to Europe too since the America release is out June 14th and for us 10th. =D

SGTSTEELFACE 01 June, 2011 @ 21:58

number 4 so true i hope this will deliver also do i still need to retain my code from first access as i lost it :(


I am glad the guys know about the Ventrilo Harassment video, but I really wanted them to reference it in the game… perhaps a prank call or something. But we’ll see. lol

almighty-slayer 01 June, 2011 @ 22:05

Don’t really care about it to be honest. Will be getting InFamous 2 instead

I like balls of steel edition, how much is that?

Is anyone taking bets on whether PSN will be fully restored before DNF is released?

Huono_peleis 01 June, 2011 @ 23:44

“What I particularly like about it as a platform are the vibrancy of the colours you’re able to get, the great performance and just how open the PlayStation Network platform is. ”

Bit of accidental irony on the last sentence there…


The game seems great and all that… But I’m pretty worried about the environments looking too clean. They’re simply not dirty enough.

Most PS3 versions are better anyway, its just the internet trying to give the PS3 a bad name really. Anyway i am up for some good old Duke Nukem :D

SKIBADEE187 02 June, 2011 @ 05:47

IF2 DNF & RF all on the same day SWEET.



TroubleMaker411 02 June, 2011 @ 06:22

I can’t wait.
Been a fan of duke since he was a mute side scroller!

This game is gonna be great. Already loaded up on asprin for all those laughter headaches


The store is up but full of bugs :(


inFAMOUS 2 demo !!!!!!! WOHHOOO
currently 2% !!!!!!!!!

TBH I’d never heard of Duke Nukem before I saw the Balls of Steel edition advertised in my local online store, avid gamer that I am. I liked the Balls of Steel add ons and on dl’ing the oh so funny trailer from the US store I really wanted this game. The humour is funny, he kicks arse and I want to be the one behind him kicking said arse. Finito. So I preordered the thing back in march. Can’t wait. Hunted Demon’s Forge tomorrow, inFAMOUS2 Hero edition on the 8th, Duke Nukem BoS after that and Dungeon Seige a few days after. Thank the gods for being able to pay stuff off slowly. I was gong to get White Knight Chrons as well, but that game just seems kind of lame comapared to all of this fare. peace…

Balls of Steel edition!

I refuse to be hyped until the game is whirring in my disc drive. a lot can happen in the next week!

Nistelroy78 02 June, 2011 @ 13:16

Just wanna make people know this ..

Even you try to buy a game, and the store want to refund on your card, it probaly make a error, did it 2 times, because i was adding money to buy under siege, but i gave up after 3 errors .. but when i then notice my mailbox it actually have funded my account and when i then go back to the PS3 Store and Watch my downloa list the game also apperaed, just want people to know this if they are about to refund there account with big amounts so they dont do it twice because of error message.

Nistelroy78 02 June, 2011 @ 13:17

Ups wrong section .. sorry about this ..:S

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