After a record-breaking development cycle, this was the year Duke Nukem lived again. It started when Gearbox Software surprised attendees of PAX 2010 with the announcement that it was taking over publishing duties of the beleaguered Duke Nukem Forever. Studio head Randy Pitchford appeared in teaser videos with breathless excitement, and for a brief moment we believed that the game might be worthwhile.
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Its reception was less than positive, with a current MetaCritic score of 54 and only slightly better user reviews. Our own review treated the game as a bit bland and mediocre, and it may have been one of the kinder ones. Meanwhile, the frosty reviews led to a PR blow-up when one representative seemed to imply he'd blackball those who gave negative opinions. He later clarified, but his company was released from PR duties for 2K Games we all got a reminder of the close, sometimes hostile relationship between publishers and the press.
Duke Nukem's trademark misogyny didn't seem to make a dent in the collective unconscious, but we learned a valuable lesson that sometimes dead games are dead for a reason. Though ask a number of Shacknews community members and they'll tell you we're crazy and that Duke's return was a triumphant one.
2011 was chock full of game releases and announcements, along with the highs and lows you'd expect from any 365-day period. Since we follow the news closely here -- it's right in the name -- now seemed like a good time to reminisce about some of the biggest happenings of the past year. These are the events that thrilled, frustrated, shook up, and baffled players in 2011.