It looks like Duke Nukem Forever has hit one more speed bump on its way to retail store shelves as media outlet Fox News is now criticizing its ‘Capture the Babe’ multiplayer variant. Though the game itself has always been light hearted and not in any way meant to demean, Fox News feels that ‘Capture the Babe’ sends the wrong message to gamers
After hearing Fox News’ statements about ‘Capture the Babe,’ Randy Pitchford of Gearbox Software has come out to say that the intent of the mode is not to be derogatory towards women, but simply to highlight the over-the-top and sex crazed nature of the game’s protagonist.
Unfortunately, when viewed outside of the context of the game, this multiplayer mode does seem a bit sexist. Different groups have come down on either side of the issue, but what it boils down to is your familiarty with the property.
For a group that focuses on women's rights like Women’s Media Center, the mode is “extremely harmful, especially to young women,” whereas for fans of the series or game journalists, the mode is just as tongue-in-cheek as the various other elements of the game. Duke Nukem Forever is not meant to hurt anyone, but looking at 'Capture the Babe,' groups like Fox News and Women’s Media Center are having a hard time recognizing that
For those who haven’t heard about this particular multiplayer variant, it can best be summed up as Capture the Flag only where the flag is a person and that person has the capability of escaping your clutches. In order to combat the attempts of the “babe” to escape, the player is given the ability to “love pat” them in order to keep her from squirming away.
It’s a mode that has Duke Nukem written all over it, but, as such, is going to be prone to intense scrutiny for potentially being in poor taste. Pitchford, hoping to clear the air on the issue, took to Twitter to reinforce that ‘Capture the Babe’ is not meant to glorify violence towards women, but is more about Duke’s obsession with sexual acts.
"It's a love pat on the ass - more about sexual innuendo. Not at ALL about violence towards women, which is SUPER UNCOOL."
Some gamers are even looking to the recent and unexpected delay that Gearbox just announced as a sign that Fox News might have forced the developer to reevaluate the mode, but Pitchford assures fans that the delay was only meant to improve the experience of the game.
"Nothing is getting cut because of the delay. Some things are getting better, though."
It doesn’t seem like things are going to be getting any easier for Duke Nukem Forever, despite being in the home stretch of a very long development cycle. Many had thought time and time again that Forever might never see the light of day, but thankfully Gearbox stepped in to take the reigns on Forever and jumpstart a new franchise.
Fox News and various other organizations might try their hardest to censor Duke in various ways, but unfortunately they are unaware of the long and arduous road the title has had to brave in order to get to this point. Duke Nukem is hitting store shelves come hell or high water, and he is bringing his signature sense of humor — that is pure of intention — with him.
Do you agree with Fox News and various women’s rights groups’ claims that the ‘Capture the Babe’ mode is sexist? Is it possible for a video game to still cross lines when the intentions are comedic in nature?
Duke Nukem Forever releases June 14, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PC, and PS3.