Randy Pitchford’s BAFTA Duke Nukem Forever Game Developer Q&A – Part 1

Duke Nukem Forever

Recently, the Train2Game blog attended a very special Duke Nukem Forever Q&A session with Gearbox Software’s Randy Pitchford at BAFTA in central London.

During the hour long event, the Gearbox Software CEO discussed many issues of interest for Train2Game students.

This included his path into the games industry, the history of the Duke Nukem franchise, Game Design concepts that were dropped during development, Borderlands and much, much more. Luckily, for those of you who didn’t attend the event, the Train2Game blog is here to give you a run down of the key points.

There was a lot of information, so we’ve decided to divide our feature into three pieces, with one published a day between now and Friday. So, be sure to stayed tuned to the Train2Game blog this week! Part one is right here.

The Duke Nukem Forever Q&A at BAFTA begun with Randy Pitchford talking about how he first started working was a game developer – something surely of interests to Train2Game students!

Like many who entered the games industry during the 1990s, Pitchford took his first steps into game development by programming computers as an amateur. (As the Train2Game blog recently reported, the Raspberry Pi could revive this era of bedroom coding)

The young Pitchford originally studied law at university – which he claims to have paid for through a part-time job as a magician – before dropping out to pursue a career as a game developer.

It’s a tale many Train2Game students surely see as familiar, with many now taking Train2Game courses with the aim of a brand new career.

Pitchford’s first role in the games industry as a game developer was at 3D Realms where he worked on…Duke Nukem 3D. He left the company in 1997 and went onto found Gearbox Software two years later. However, despite spending a relatively short period with Duke Nukem at 3D Realms, Pitchford said “I owe him my career”

Duke Nukem Forever Screenshot 02

15 years later and it’s Gearbox Software that ensuring Duke Nukem Forever is finally released, and despite all of the delays, and the cancellations, Pitchford believes the game will be the “ultimate version” of 3D Realms vision.

But with the original Game Design concepts being thought of way back in the mid 1990s, will Duke Nukem Forever work in 2011? Pitchford not only believes that it will, but believes it could be the most complete FPS experience since Half-Life 2. (As the Train2Game blog has previously reported,  2004’s Half-Life 2 remains an inspiration to game developers)

“The gameplay, I’m really excited to see how people respond to that because when you think about Call of Duty and games like that you realise that games today have really started to become narrow” he told the the BAFTA Audience.

“A shooter is now just an exercise of reaction-time skill test after reaction-time skill test. Get your cursor on the next guy and knock him down before he gets your health to zero, and every test is just a complication of that very simple [Game Design] mechanic”.

“Sometimes a new mechanic will be introduced like stunning guys and performing combos, or sliding on things and jumping around environments. Whatever it is, at the end of the day they all focus on that same one mechanic”

“It’s been a while since we had a game that was comfortable having pacing and variety from action to puzzle-solving to exploration and discovery. Even just non-sequiturs, like all the interactive stuff we have in Duke are total non-sequiturs but it’s just entertainment, right?

“It’s been a while since we’ve had that; I think the last great one for me was Half Life 2. So I’m excited for Duke to show up and have some of this because I think it will remind everyone how great that kind of experience is and it may motivate some more of us to remember that you don’t have to have all these one-trick ponies in terms of gameplay mechanics.”

Parts 2 and 3 of our report will be posted on the Train2Game blog on Thursday and Friday this week.

1 thought on “Randy Pitchford’s BAFTA Duke Nukem Forever Game Developer Q&A – Part 1

  1. Good stuff, I’m glad to see that Gearbox picked up good ol’ Duke and are giving him the best sending off.

    I’ve already pre-ordered on Steam, can’t wait 🙂

    I also loved Half Life 2 and I think it’s great how game developers still look up to it after several years, defiantly inspiring stuff.

    Did the T2G guys see any cheeky footage of the game first hand or was it just a general Q & A?

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