Duke Nukem Forever – exchanging flags for “babes”

Duke Nukem Forever has been in development since 1997. There are a lot of people who a pretty excited about it’s upcoming release. I admit I’m not one of them (I always preferred Doom) but have been interested to see how Gearbox have updated the franchise. It seems they’re going for a hefty dose of controversy (or stupidity?).

Check out the “Capture the Babe” multiplayer mode:

Duke Nukem Forever’s “Capture the Babe” CTF variant requires you to abduct a woman to score. The mode is revealed in the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine US where they explain that Gearbox will give the option to give her a “slap” if she “freaks out” as you drag her across the map.

I…see. Excuse me for saying so, but doesn’t that sound a bit…sexist? Women becoming literal objects to be won and who just need a reassuring slap as their womanly hormones make them hysterical when captured? Oh I know, I know, it’s meant to be ironic and Duke Nukem is a satire of the whole guns, women and glory genre. But I don’t get the joke. Usually a satire makes a comment or pokes fun at the original. This is just straight up sexism – or a really lousy joke.

But perhaps it makes sense in context of the game?

Speaking to the magazine, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said: “Our goal isn’t to shock people, but I think there’s some stuff that’s a bit uncomfortable. I mean, the alien’s plan is to capture our women and impregnate them to breed an alien army, so you can imagine some horrible shit happens.”

“Our women?” Hmmm.

Just for the record, if alien’s invade Earth with plans to capture, rape and impregnate women I won’t be standing around, swooning hysterically, waiting to be saved. I’ll be armed to the teeth!

It’s not like I’m particularly offended by this game mode. More disappointed. It feels like the chance for actual irony or parody has been missed and the game has become exactly what it set out to mock. Like Kurt Vonnegut said “Be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end, you are what you pretend to be.”


10 responses

  1. Slythe

    “…I’ll be armed to the teeth!”

    In this country (the UK), that would be illegal. You’d have to wait for the government to save you from the aliens! 😉


    March 25, 2011 at 12:38 am

  2. But…but…games have lead me to believe that you can find assault rifles lying EVERYWHERE in a crisis!


    March 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

  3. Slythe



    March 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  4. I have pre-ordered the special awesome version with the bust. I’ll believe it exists when it’s in my hands. It’s already been delayed by a month.

    As for being sexist; yes it is. That’s just Duke. It just is. And I love him for it.

    Babes, guns and explosions.


    March 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm

  5. You get a free bust? That’s awesome!

    In this case, the sexism stretches it a bit too far for me and I can’t really get on board with the joke anymore. But to be fair, I haven’t actually seen the game mode yet!


    March 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

  6. For me it Just doesn’t matter. I expect it to be sexist. Just doesn’t bother me. I didn’t even consider or think about it until you wrote this.


    March 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm

  7. Amanda

    I have to say I’m with JenJen on this; but it’s easy for me as I never enjoyed or cared about Duke Nukem.

    It’s aimed at the fourteen-year-old-fanboys-grown-old demographic, and it’s one I’m not in. It’s eyeroll inducing and it is a little bit insulting, but instead I’ll drop money on Mass Effect and play Femme Shepard, who saves the universe as a space marine badass without having a man to pick her up and ‘slap’ her to keep her from getting hysterical.


    April 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm

  8. Slythe

    I have never thought that the original side-scrollers stood out significantly, though they were fun. Duke Nukem 3D was a good first person shooter for the time, with some imaginative features such as the jet pack and shrink ray as well as some very well designed levels. The story line was very much a secondary feature, as were the jokes, sexist or otherwise. They were amusing, but not the reason for playing the game. If they have decided to turn the sexism into a gameplay feature to sell the game, I think they’re making a mistake: the important part still needs to be the level, monster & equipment design. IMO Serious Sam picked up and ran with the Duke Nukem ball years ago, Duke is going to have to pull out something pretty damn special if he wants to regain his crown.


    April 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

  9. I don’t think it’s sexist. I think it is jsut the devs playing up on one of the things Duke is known for.

    I really don’t see another game after this one. This is the culmination of 12 years of waiting. If it wasn’t what it was meant to be 12 years ago then I’d be disappointed. Sure we’ve moved on from the crude jokes, but if Duke suddenly grew up I’d be disappointed.


    April 12, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  10. Some person

    So ehm…
    There are women who become hysterical, there are men who become hysterical, there are gay people, lesbian people, straight people.
    There are women armed to the teeth and extremely tough, there are women that would complain about a broken nail at very inopportune times and who would scream.
    There are men who only think about sex, there are men who sit on the couch watching football and who drink beer whenever they can.
    There are men that do none of the above and have helped invent the atomic bomb (not sure what the better thing to do is by the way).

    Point is: There are LOTS of different people. This is just about a certain subset of women. Don’t think it’s meant to say every woman is like some are portrayed here. Just like a standard American TV-show isn’t saying the only men out there are either obnoxious nerds or amoral womanizers.

    You’re not one of them. Okay. I hope you’re not too happy about not being one of them or you might be biased and prejudiced, thinking women who are strong and tough are better period. No, everyone is good and equally valuable as a human being. Whether we become hysterical and faint (man or woman) or whether we pick up an assault rifle. If we can truly accept and allow people to be different from us in that way, then there is no problem 🙂



    June 23, 2011 at 12:55 am

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