You may have raised an entire family in the time that it’s taken Duke Nukem Forever to reach near-completion, but Duke hasn’t become family friendly by any stretch of imagination. Duke’s words speak louder than most people’s actions, and his actions speak louder than some Vuvuzelas. We’re talking about a man whose idea of banter with his foes involves tearing off their heads and s***ing down their necks. And he’s had more than a decade to put his razor-sharp tongue to the grindstone.
The result? Well, strippers are a lock, of course, which means gratuitous nudity can’t be far behind. Then there’s the violence, which includes Duke’s disturbingly gleeful willingness to resort to genital mutilation against his alien foes. And then there’s that whole bit with the two, erm, ladies of the night where… things are heavily implied.
Gearbox, at the very least, harbors no delusions that Duke’s larger-than-life legacy will get him a free approval stamp from the ESRB. Speaking during a recent London press event, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford acknowledged that the ESRB will "not exactly be approving of this." And the big, Duke’s boot-shaped kicker? We’ve been told by Gearbox that what we’ve been shown so far is the “tame” stuff.
That sound you’re hearing? That’s the M-rating. It’s sobbing. Why? Because Duke Nukem wakes up every morning and has 100 Mafia IIs for breakfast. Granted, we do have to worry a bit here. After all, if Duke Nukem gets dipped in glue and dropped in a bucket of sensor bars and strategically placed blurs, what happens to his appeal? Duke Nukem is offensive on purpose. It’s what he does. It’s why he makes us laugh. A compromised Duke Nukem, then, might as well not be Duke Nukem at all.