Gearbox’s upcoming release Duke Nukem: Forever has been on fan’s wishlists for a long time since it was announced to be in development over ten years ago. In anticipation of the May 3, 2011, release date here in the States, Gearbox revealed the multiplayer modes featured on the game, including “Capture the Babe,” the principals of which are exactly like those in Capture the Flag, except instead of a flag the object is a woman.
According to arstechnica.com,
you’d be slapping the women on the butt while they were slung over your shoulders
and Ben Kuchera doesn’t seem too thrilled about it,
But there’s no way around the fact that there’s some offensive misogyny going on here. What’s next, rebooting a movie like Blazing Saddles, complete with racial slurs?
Pcgamer.com writer Owen Hill seems even less excited,
I like flags and guns as much as the next man, but abducting and slapping women has never been on my gaming wishlist. Yes, footage of the mode in action hasn’t yet been released, but I’m finding it hard trying to imagine how this could be work out fine.
All sorts of similar articles have been popping up since Gearbox’s revelation of this particular multiplayer mode, and gamers of all kinds await the reactions of the feminist brigade, which has been chillingly quiet considering the offense.
But exactly how offensive is this new development, especially when looking back on Duke’s history? Duke Nukem has been a robot-shooting, city-saving badass since 1991. He has been a misogynistic, quick-witted, alpha badass since Duke Nukem 3D in 1996, where he notoriously perused porn shops and frequented strip clubs, and his character has been developing that persona ever since. That there is a “Capture the Babe” mode to replace the original Capture the Flag from the DN 3D release should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the Duke Nukem franchise. As a girl gamer in El Paso not particularly offended with Duke, this writer is more surprised that feminist groups have yet to crawl all over this controversy than the fact that this game has misogynistic tendencies.
It is only a matter of time before feminist groups catch wind of this and come for Gearbox with tar and leather in hand. When that time comes, this little corner of the Internet has a proposition for such groups: play the games before demanding that Gearbox cough up Duke Nukem’s testicles. Find out if you’re really offended or if you’re just jumping on a feminist bandwagon before condemning it. You might be surprised.