So Duke Nukem: Forever isn’t a good game. At least that’s what a battalion of reviewers seem to think. The game is hovering around 50 on Metacritic. We can all agree that’s not a good score to average.
All those negative reviews eventually got to the PR company tasked with handling the game. Jim Redner, the PR guy, was apparently frustrated and upset over some of the reviews and decided to tweet the following.
“#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews…we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.”
What followed was a shitstorm of responses from gamers and critics and the game’s publisher – 2K Games – distancing itself from the game’s PR company. Redner was essentially released from his connection to the game he defended. Redner also sent a long email apology to reviewers he worked with for the game. There seems to be a perception that he was somehow unprofessional or out of line.
Our question is why? What was so wrong about what Redner did? He didn’t call out specific critics or complain about the scores. He didn’t go on a rampage of tweets or launch an email campaign. He didn’t really say anything inappropriate or directly attack anybody. He didn’t even officially blackball anybody.
All he did was publicly say that the tone of some of the reviews was making him reconsider how he chooses to send review copies out. So what? Let him stop sending copies to people. We can still review the damn game. We can still say it sucks. We can even still post the review. Reviewers and critics seem to expect the right to tear out the hearts of developers without getting any push back from the developers.
How is that realistic? Those same reviewers often get defensive when readers call the review shit. Those same readers get defensive when people call their comment shit. So why can’t a PR company or developer send one harmless tweet, in a moment of frustration, without being fired or attacked?
We’re not saying that reviewers shouldn’t be honest or that they shouldn’t tell us if they don’t like a game. They obviously should. Many gamers rely on reviews to decide if a game is worth buying.
But we can be honest here and say that many reviewers go out of their way to be over-the-top negative or positive.
Here is an example I’m taking from an actual review I found on Metracritic. Wouldn’t this upset you if it was your game?
“Shame on Gearbox for wanting their name on this stinking pile of crap!”
Reviewers can’t have it both ways. We can’t expect the gaming companies to have thick skins and take our abuse if we’re not willing to do the same. It unrealistic to expect gaming companies to see this many negative reviews without somehow responding. And so what if a company stops sending us review copies? Wouldn’t that hurt them more than us?
Again, we’re not excusing or defending the quality of the game and we’re not saying critics should have been nicer. Duke Nukem: Forever is not a very good game. But it’s not the reason cancer exists. I think we can find a middle ground and still be reputable. Lord knows PR people who defend their game shouldn’t then have to apologize.
You can hate on this post now. I won’t take it personal.
By the way, here is his entire emailed apology.
I would like a quick moment of your time to humbly ask for your forgiveness. I made a major error in judgment. I acted out of pure emotion without any thought to what I was saying. It is with a sad heart that I come to you now asking that you forgive me. I posted a Tweet this evening saying that I was reviewing The Redner Group’s policy for future reviews of video games based on today’s Duke Nukem Forever scores. I must state for the record I was acting on my behalf. 2K and all other clients had nothing to do with my comment. I want to be very clear that this came through me and was in no way affiliated with any of my clients especially my former client 2K.
Though I didn’t name names, I did say that I thought some reviews had gone too far in tone. Meaning, that the tone of some of the reviews was poor. I respect the scores, it had to deal with the tone. I was unable to properly convey that in 140 characters. But that it beside the point. We are all entitled to our opinions regardless of score, tone or meaning. My response was a juvenile act on my part. I know better and my emotion got the best of me. I have worked very hard on this project. I want it to succeed. I just got upset and acted out.
I believe we are all allowed to voice our opinions and that opinions by their very nature are correct. Many of you quickly pointed out my error in judgment. For that I thank you and apologize.
I truly respect what you do. You have helped me achieve a little bit of success in this industry. I depend upon you. Your coverage is of the utmost importance to me. You have helped me secure coverage for all of the projects that I have touched. I have tried to treat you all with respect, dignity and honesty. Tonight I threw that all away, and I am extremely sorry.
The video game industry is an industry that I love. I have tried to dedicate myself to this industry. Tonight I failed the industry.
With much respect, I hope that when we meet again you will be able greet me with a smile and without malice. I will gladly do the same.
I am truly sorry for what I did. I know better than that. If I have caused you any issues, now or in the past, I apologize.
Best of luck,
The Redner Group, LLC.
I agree with the article.. I think what he did was understandable..( from an emotional point of view. not from a buisness standpoint) and then he was fired by the ones he defended. That's not really fair.