Ars Technica reported early this morning that PR agency The Redner Group (who was in charge of DNF PR) posted up a rather threatening tweet on their official Twitter account in response to some of the reviews that Duke Nukem Forever has been receiving (our review is coming out tomorrow, just FYI, as the PC build was not able to be played early). This tweet has since been deleted from their Twitter account.
In response, 2K Games has apparently stopped doing business with the PR agency, as per this official tweet from the game publisher/developer:
2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by @TheRednerGroup and confirm they no longer represent our products.
Jim Redner, head of The Redner Group, has since apologized for the tweet made earlier, by way of another tweet:
I have to apologize to the community. I acted out of pure emotion. I will be sending each of you a private apology.
Again, I want everyone to know that I was acting on my own. 2K had nothing to do with this. I am so very sorry for what I said.
I am editorializing this at the moment, but I have had the pleasure of communicating with Jim, in covering various games his company has handled PR for, over the last couple years now. I have never found him to be unprofessional in any way and I have always felt him to handle games with the passion of someone who might as well have created the darn things. He gets behind the products he represents 100%. So, I can understand the reason behind his purely emotional outburst on Twitter. It is difficult seeing something that you believe in getting roasted over the coals and I have to agree with him that many reviews out there seem like they are pouring on the hate just for comedy’s sake or purely for the sake of getting additional article reads. Then again, most of these reviews have been of the Xbox 360 version of the game – so, my experience with the PC version could be completely different. The game is not the Gone With the Wind of video games, but it is not “barely playable” as some reviews state (again, at least the PC version).
Does this excuse the threatening nature of the Tweet? No. But, it does make for a fascinating look at the inter-relationships between game publishers, PR agencies, and media outlets – especially for many average gamers out there who may not realize just how inter-connected the three entities really are.
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Welcome to the seedy underworld of Video Game Reporting =). Blacklists do exist and this unfortunate tweet put a spotlight on it. I don’t think he should have lost his PR Firm contract for it but those are the breaks as damage control was needed. There are bigger issues out there such as PR agencies and Video Game developers who refuse to work with smaller media outlets. If only every agency/Dev understood that a stronger passion for the industry almost always comes from the smaller outlets who don’t have big backers.