Are you a Lilith-a-like?

When Crystal Dynamics started feeding us information for the new Tomb Raider game, I applauded them for dropping the dated promotional campaign of hiring models to look like Lara Croft. For too long, most of the focus felt like it was directed towards the models instead of the game she was meant to be advertising.

Gearbox Software has announced a similar campaign for Borderlands 2 and are asking via their website (spotted by Kotaku) for any Lilith look-a-likes to step forward. Where this differs from what Eidos where doing up until only a few years ago is that whoever is picked to portray Lilith will actually become part of the game as an NPC that players (presumably) interact with. The request on Gearbox’s site is as follows:

Do you want to be a character in a video game? We’re looking for someone to become Lilith from Borderlands. If hired, you will appear in the game, Borderlands 2, as the live action version of the character. Additionally, you may be invited to participate in promotional events and trade shows.

It’s not a competition either, the developer will pay the live-action Lilith a thousand bucks per day and state this is a job opportunity for anyone – well, any lady – aged between 18 and 30. I fit within the latter category but certainly not the former. Not with this beard! My hope is that the chosen model will be able to properly represent Borderlands 2 and be a purposeful inclusion within the storyline, so any promotional material – and we’re bound to get plenty – this casting call produces will be relevant to the game instead of simply ‘some chick in tatty clothing with funky coloured hair’. I’ve always had a soft spot for Borderlands and indeed the character Lilith as I thought the way she spoke and laughed during combat added a real human quality to the character. This could certainly further that feeling. Then again, it could easily just become ‘some chick in tatty clothing with funky coloured hair’.

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Hail to the king?

Nearly 14 years from when first conceived, Duke Nukem Forever shambled onto PCs and consoles early this month and was met with sea of negative reviews. Taking a handful of creditable sources, the average score is around 40 per cent which doesn’t say a lot for the quality of the game. However it somehow managed to top the UK all format charts in a mere weekend, beating what is confidently positioned at the other end of the maturity scale, L.A. Noire and sales are predicted to go well above 1.5 million units. The US wasn’t so forgiving as its first day sales have been called mediocre at best but Duke Nukem Forever is still being seen as a success. Only monetarily speaking mind you.

Duke’s saviours, Gearbox Software, took the game from the shady back alley of broken dreams and finished off what 3D Realms started so for them, the high sales figures are a comforting achievement. Even more so when you think that Duke Nukem will almost definitely become a revived franchise. Gearbox wouldn’t have taken on such a turbulent property if they didn’t intend to make at least one or two more games. Randy Pitchford, ceo of Gearbox, tweeted his pleasure over the success of DNF and gave a little dig at reviews at the same time. He said (via VideoGamer): “With sales data, It seems like *customers* love Duke. I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar…”

Fair point. Sometimes we do want greasy hamburgers, we want those games that play to our most immature desires and are almost embarrassed to admit liking it. But there’s a massive difference between greasy hamburgers and out-dated mechanics and concepts. I’ve not yet played DNF but intend to soon although when critics who you trust tell you a game is terrible, chances are it will be. And it’s such a shame when Duke Nukem 3D was so good. Back in the nineties, it did things few other games tried and it sounds as if Duke Nukem Forever is still doing things few other games do. But this time, it’s because no-one wants them anymore.

What will be most telling is what happens when the initial nostalgic hype dies down. Will gamers still be buying DNF in droves or will it become a dominant feature of bargain bins and pre-owned aisles?

Come get some balls of steel

Over at VG247, they found an image, presumably from a source of off the tinterweb, of what appears to be a special edition of Duke Nukem Forever. The Balls of Steel edition contains art cards, an art book, a comic, two poker chips, a pack of cards, dice, a bust of Duke and certificate of authenticity. Lord only knows how much it’ll cost but making such a extravagant edition of a game that has had so many development struggles and an ever decreasing franchise fan base is mighty silly to me. Previews of Duke Nukem Forever are pretty good with the general consensus being that it’s a decent laugh so no doubt that will have brought back a few stragglers who are writing it off before it’s released but I can’t imagine a Balls of Steel version would be all that popular. I am excited for DNF because Gearbox make great games just not a special edition. Maybe if the art book shows the 13 years of development and the disc included playable segments of older code then yeah, I’m in. Otherwise I think I’ll stick with the standard version.

Duke Nukem Forever is back. Again.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

When I first heard the rumour that Gearbox Software were planning on finishing off the financially abandoned Duke Nukem Forever, I figured it was nothing more than a joke. As cool as it would be to play a game that’s been in development for almost half my life I didn’t expect anyone to pick up the franchise after the closure of 3D Realms. But Gearbox have only gone and done just that and Duke Nukem Forever is officially back on again with 2K as the publisher. Announced at PAX a few hours ago, gamers got to try it out for themselves just to prove it is indeed happening and at the same time, Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford’s chat with the Wall Street Journal (via 1up) went live.

Despite the ongoing lack of a firm release date, Pitchford told WSJ that Duke Nukem Forever is only being “polished” and that Gearbox had pieced together what 3D Realms had left behind adding “It’s the game it was meant to be.” Word is that it’s coming this year but I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that. The captured live stream above looks interesting but Duke Nukem Forever has a hell of a lot to live up to and may fall victim to its own hype. We may find out later this year. Or next year. Or the year after, who knows.