Duke Nukem Dev Says Game Legislators Are “Bullies”

Duke Nukem Forever is scheduled to launch next year and it’s bringing all the guns, violence, blood, baddies, babes, and boobs it can to make sure the decade-plus wait was worth it.

But what will the various ratings bodies such as the ESRB and PEGI think of Duke?  Will they slap him with a sales crippling rating?

Developer Gearbox Software’s big cheese Randy Pitchford revealed his thoughts to CVG:

“The thing is, these guys [the ratings boards] have a tough job. Their duty is to help inform customers what they’re going to be in for. But as a consequence, there are thresholds, and there’s one threshold that retailers won’t cross and that’s the ‘adult’ rating. You can’t be in that threshold if you hope to reach customers at all.

As a result, there is a line there, but it’s a fuzzy line, an unclear line. All entertainment has this problem. Once in a while, pieces of entertainment, pieces of content, come along that push that line a little bit – whoever the body is that’s supposed to figure out where it lies.

And when something pushes the line, when it tests the boundaries, it’s important. It’s important that it happens every once in a while. Because it’s our response that tells us where the line should actually be.”

When asked his thoughts on game legislation like the California law that’s scheduled to be argued before the Supreme Court in less than two weeks, Pitchford’s response became a bit more colorful.

“Honestly, the problem with all of it is: Look, when we see something, it’s up to the viewer to decide if they’re offended or not, to decide how they react… But it’s when people decide: "Well that offends me, so now it should offend everyone else. And, in fact, because I think it should offend everyone else, I believe that we should make a rule about such things."

Those people just need to get the f*ck off the bus. That attitude is not helpful to any of us – for anyone to think that they should impose their own morality on anyone else in this world. Those guys just need to go away, and just stop.

Unfortunately, those are the bullies, and we tend to let bullies bully.

We need to stop them. We need to get away from those people – certainly take the keys away from them. Do not let them play with the sharp objects.

They need to just move the f*ck aside.”

Read Pitchford’s full comments at CVG.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    Nerd42 says:

    ZippyOSMlee, does your principle that, "Seriously pushing an absolute ideal on someone else with no option to buy in or not is the very definition of bullying" extend to child pornography? Meaning, you think the FBI is bullying child pornographers?

    Seriously, this thread is like a perfect storm of demagougic politics on all sides and unexamined bad philosophy. Adults (over 18) ought to be able to buy Duke Nukem, (censored or uncensored as they want – some dads would like to be able to blow stuff up on the computer without there being a bunch of whores around in the game cause that would not be condusive to their chosen lifestyles, and you should respect that) but not because laws shouldn’t be morally-based but because a particular moral value/standard we think is right – freedom of speech – would be violated otherwise.

  2. 0
    Thad says:

    "Seriously pushing an absolute ideal on someone else with no option to buy in or not is the very definition of bullying…."

    That’s really not the definition of "bullying" at all.

    "whats even worse is that the modern public is more childish and insecure due to censorship than ever before. . ."

    Really?  More than the Puritans?  More than the people who made bonfires out of comic books and Beatles records?

  3. 0
    Nerd42 says:

    I agree with .

    And I think the "connotatively" sentence is just missing a word. I think he meant to say morality does not imply any religion connotatively, which it doesn’t. Kant is a moral philosopher without religion.

  4. 0
    gellymatos says:

    "That’s a swell red herring and all, but "morality" connotatively implies a certain specific, often rigid and religious, set of rules."

    First off, that’s not true, of morality implying any "conntatively". Morality is basically what one may consider "right" or "wrong", that certainly goes outside religion. While it certainly could be seen deeper than that, I’m just giving an extremely basic definition. Anyways, morality doesn’t stop being morality when one tries to find a logical reason for it, and religion certainly doesn’t stop one from logically discerning morality. Even if you argue that murder is wrong logically, that doesn’t stop some other opposing form of morality to be argued. And yes, law (a specific, rigid set of rules), is based off of morality. Even the constitution itself is a moral standard.


    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  5. 0
    Thad says:

    That’s a swell red herring and all, but "morality" connotatively implies a certain specific, often rigid and religious, set of rules.  "Murder is wrong" is a belief that is independent of any specific religious background, and indeed can be defended on purely secular and logical grounds.


  6. 0
    Nerd42 says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble but law (common law in particular) has always been based upon morality. Murder is a great example. Not only do we criminalize murder on the basis that it is morally wrong but we also spend endless hours in courtrooms debating over motive and intent.

    I can understand his or anyone’s saying "Censorship is wrong, Duke is protected free speech" and that would at least stay internally consistent, or even that basing law on morality in this case goes too far, but the premise that law is based on morality is what keeps people arguing with you instead of just killing you when they don’t like what you’re doing. To object that no law should ever be based on anyone’s morality is absurd, bordering on anarchism.

  7. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "PEGI does not censor content…"

    Neither does the ESRB. 

    "…they give an adult game an 18 rating stores and consoles say ok and support it."

    Unless PEGI refuses classification or the Video Standards Council decides to ban it.

    "ESRB gives a game an 18 and up rating as away of telling developers they went too far…"

    No, it gives games an AO if it feels the game’s content qualifies the title for that rating.

    It’s also worth pointing out that PEGI 12, 16, and 18 ratings are backed by law.


    Andrew Eisen

  8. 0
    Cheater87 says:

    PEGI does not censor content they give an adult game an 18 rating stores and consoles say ok and support it. ESRB gives a game an 18 and up rating as away of telling developers they went too far and its banned on consoles and from stores. So this might just be censored in the US and uncut in Europe.

  9. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    The difference here is that he’s not forcing you to believe him. He’s saying that these people shouldn’t do this or that but, unlike the legislators, he’s not forcing that opinion on you.

    The people who decide the legislations, the legislators, these are the people who are imposing their morality in a bad way. That’s what this guys point is.

    Personally, I agree with him. Keep your morality, share your opinions, but laws shouldn’t be based off that morality, your opinion.

    — Randi Tastix

  10. 0
    gonzlamm says:

    pretty sure he just means on a legislative level to not push your morality on people. he stated he understands ppl will be offended and thats fine, just dont ruin it for ppl that like that stuff by trying to pass insane/inept/worthless laws. and yes hes imposing but not with the force of law. like he said thats when it becomes a problem.

  11. 0
    Nerd42 says:

    Is he saying it’s wrong for someone to impose their morality on others?

    That’s a fallacy, because he is himself doing what he says is wrong in saying that. Anytime you say, "it’s wrong to" or "you shouldn’t" do anything, you’re "imposing your morality on others" by definition.

    I can understand a freedom of speech / First Ammendment argument against particular proposed legislation, but not this general self-contradictory plattitude that relates to no clearly definable moral value and yet itself makes a moral judgement.

  12. 0
    GrimCW says:

    even if they get the AO, most online retailers (DD or otherwise) are showing support for such titles no less.

    despite theres a severe lack of’em to represent the label.

    my quarrel is, when Duke is out (or nearly out) how long will it take for someone to try and get it banned? will this be the revival of the JT chronicles? or will new contenders step forward to try and ban a game thats merely a sequel of sorts to previous titles, but back to the roots as an actual adult game in a world of games being tailored for kiddies (despite the M ratings, lets face it, there is some shady sh** going down to sell these to kids, espeically of late with continually simplified controls and terrible plots that make Doom 2 look well written)

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