In an interview with Eurogamer (which was conducted during Gamescom earlier this year and has yet to be published on the site in its entirety) Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel indicated his belief that Duke Nukem Forever was not reviewed fairly. He argues that some reviewers may have used the game as a chance to "soapbox" and that "everybody should really be thankful that it existed to some degree at all."
Looking back at the reviews Martel said that Gearbox wished that the "reviews were a little less caustic" and didn't understand where "some of the anger came from."
When asked if he thought that the game was reviewed fairly Martel said “I think that if we were going to review the reviews fairly, no." He also felt that some players just didn't get the old school vibe of the game or that Gearbox adhered as closely as it could to 3DRealms' original vision for it.
To make his point, Martel compared DNF to Half-Life.
"We've had this internal debate," he revealed. "Would Half-Life today be reviewed as highly as it is, you know, even today? As a new IP coming out with the same sort of mechanics Half-Life had. I think we all have a nostalgia and love for that particular brand. Obviously Gearbox got its start working on Opposing Force so we love Half-Life. But is the current gamer, would they have the same love for that? It'd be interesting. I think the same kind of thing happened with Duke."
Martel also acknowledged that DNF's subject matter, characters and settings were caustic in some ways and could have been softened by Gearbox prior to release.
"It is a caustic game in some ways, so maybe in some of that respect it could've been softened," he added. "But it's [3D Realms'] vision and people should understand that in a world where we embrace the creator's vision for something, we let that go. We let that be what it was supposed to be. And that is the team's vision. Gearbox made sure the world got to see what they made and I think everybody should really be thankful that it existed to some degree at all. Because it really would've just gone away."
Finally Martel said that DNF was not a Gearbox game and that when they make another game in the series it would be consistent with the kind of games Gearbox makes. He also said that it wouldn't take another 15 years to see a new Duke Nukem game.
"I can guarantee it won't take 15 years to see another," he said. "We love the IP and I think there are a lot of people that really love it. You just have to make sure the character is something that people can love as well.