Can you remember when you were a child and you had a game you played non stop, maybe because you really enjoyed it, maybe because it was the only game you could get your hands on or maybe a little bit from column A and B?
For me one of those games, that took sentiments from both columns was Duke Nukem 3D.
It was quick and easy to play, a true game without the added bullshit that now must accompany games in order for them to be accepted by the new age acolytes of "art and depth".
Yes the game wasn't exactly brimming in feminism friendly themes, but it represented a grind house era that did exist and we can't really change that.
Most people, who are aware of the Duke Nukem games, are aware of the massive anticlimactic build up that went on for far too long with regards to the next gen new game that would blow our minds and bring back fond memories of the older, harmless games. I use the word harmless because what we had waited for and finally received was the opposite of harmless. It was gift wrapped in explosive trailers and polished off with complete disregard to consumers taste in gaming and taste in general decency.
Gearbox gave us a game that was not only awful in game play and story, but was one of the most vile depictions of misogynistic mockery I had ever seen and for some reason it triumphs even House of the Dead Overkill's debauchery of the female form and genitalia (you know that vagina that everyone of us came out of?).
Given some of the other decisions in terms of gaming creations and mouthed words, that Gearbox have executed, I'm finding it hard to really respect them or find them to currently be a positive influence on the gaming industry in terms of the messages they put out. In fact I think Gearbox is part of the problem, a very damaging one. Here's why.
Lets start with ball-basic gaming
Duke Nukem Forever is a broken game in terms of playing, story and even the graphics. Now I'm not one who's big into the fight for specifics in graphical differences but for a game like that by a studio as big as Gearbox, it was poor form all round.
Facial animations and movements are diabolical to view and the game would have actually been less of a deterrant to eyes, if it had of featured no NPC's whatsoever. In fact compare the game to DK 3D, where there are hardly any humans, in fact the only humans we see are some strippers and coccoon'd women.
Weapons are boring, enemies are boring, dialogue is boring and the cross gaming puns aren't even puns. Seeing Master Chief armour and saying "power armour is for pussies" in a very drab uninterested voice, just...does...nothing.
The game isn't enjoyable for anyone, least not for anyone I've come across in person or online. Duke Nukem Forever let down fans of the series who had waited for a long time and the worst part about it is, the game looks like it could have come out on the original Xbox...launch day. Gearbox had the tools and ability to make it at least fun and they failed, they needed to churn something out fast and you shouldn't do that with a game that is a classic and you should not take advantage of fans who will want to play the game because it's a guaranteed profit.
Lets move away from Duke Nukem Forever for a moment, we'll be coming back to it and to the main issue soon, unfortunately.
Gearbox were given the license to make an Aliens game, Alien Colonial Marines. We were all very excited and we all had high expectations. A good alien game was long overdue and one that was to be canonically added to the franchises story, had to be great. It had to, the franchise and fans, deserved no less. Heck even Gearbox deserved no less.
What we got was a game that looked like it would be the ultimate Aliens interactive adventure. The trailers promised us amazing graphics, tension and best of all, a fitting homage to the xenomorph world.
Gearbox butchered the whole thing, there's no point tip-toeing around it. They flat out lied in their trailers and their developer videos were laced with pop phrases and catch words that were all made up and meant nothing. They should have cradled, perfected and invigorated the Alien gaming franchise, but instead they gave us a boring shooter, that quickly loses any sense of unnerving, hostile tension from the environment we had to trudge through. Don't get me started on that Alien Queen final boss 'battle'.
Maybe one of their worst crimes was even having Hicks in the game at all. The character is irritating and bland and Michael Biehn reminded us of that in his lacklustre voice acting. The guy didn't want to be there and he didn't care, but then again he's always had a chip on his shoulder because Fox went on without him with the Alien series and he never overtook Sigourney Weaver as the lead.
The made up an unfeasible, ridiuclous, plot destroying story to tie in between films and Alien Colonial Marines was a flop.
Twice in a row, Gearbox had been given, for some reason, the keys to a beloved franchise and they disrespected it, lied about it and produced just bad games. Will it happen a third time? Well according to Wikipedia...there's a Duke Nukem sequel in the wings.
Personally I never want to see another Duke Nukem game in my life and I will probably never play a future Gearbox title and here's why, the crux of the grinding of this gamers post.
Who gives a damn about women eh?
I can't forgive them to be honest, I really can't. It's the straw that broke the radioactive bears back.
Duke Nukem Forever features naked women who have been kidnapped by aliens, raped (you can hear them sobbing) and impregnanted, then shows scenes of the tortured vapid women moaning for release from agony before Duke Nukem. That's what happens, for real.
What is this characters response, what did a writer at Gearbox pen?
Then he slaps a pair of giant jelly titties stuck to the wall.
Frankly all I can say to Gearbox is, how fucking dare you. How dare you think that was acceptable or funny. Did your writers laugh and then did you all watch the video and pat each other on the back?
Well done guys.
Did any of you say or even think "Damn that's too much".
That's their worst crime, in my opinion, but it's not the only one. The Borderlands girlfriend mode peeved a lot of people and then we were told that we got the wrong end of the stick. Because you know, game companies never backtrack when the heat gets too much and claim that they meant something else?
Burch doesn't represented the views of Gearbox necessarily, but when you look at how many misogynistic related incidents has occurred in association with one gaming company, that really doesn't matter. Even if they don't personally make the game, the association is still incredibly strong, you're putting your name to a product that is laced with either disturbing scenes that could be trigger warnings for the people that put money in your pocket or products that are just terribly designed and cause mistrust for any future games.
Even in Aliens they seem to completely forget that it's not just a story about xenomorphs and corrupt companies, it was the story of a woman who kept on going and never gave in. The female characters in Aliens, may as well not be there, you instead do that age-ol' routine of lumping up with a boring white dude (no offense to boring white dudes) and forget that the other Queen of Aliens, is mothra-ducking Ellen Ripley.
I said it in that linked Burch post and I'll say it again, himself or Gearbox talking about supporting inclusivity is hilarious, in a depressing way. It's also not backed up by the games and statements that have come from them. Sometimes I actually wonder if Burch and Pitchford were born with the inability to see women or know that they exist. Half the time I think that they must genuinely assume that "women" is the term given to giant walking flesh-lights covered in bruises.
I couldn't find an apt image so here's a really content loaf
There's no point moving forward if we don't deal with the problems that exist now and you can't do that by sweeping it under the carpet. I just actually wish that Gearbox were swept under a carpet, then a large boulder place atop so they couldn't get out. I just wonder if anyone else really sees the harm their portrayal of female characters and mindset towards females in general, can cause.
I didn't think that I would take such a strong stance in terms of using the word boycott, within a hobby I enjoy so immensely, but I've been pondering this for a while and Gearbox have grinded my morals so much, that I will never buy another game from them nor will I have ever have a good word to say about them. I don't care if the next Duke Nukem game, features Duke dressed as a cupcake, in a gay pride, snuggling puppies made out of equality and decent alien beheading mechanics.
Here's an audio version of this piece, for anyone that can stand to hear a hoarsey Irish moaner -