The 140 Characters that Cost Jim Redner His Job
2K Games takes its PR seriously. When their US PR firm, The Redner Group, took to Twitter last week to vent about the overwhelmingly negative reviews its latest title Duke Nukem Forever had drawn, 2K sacked Redner on the spot. It’s not surprising. Redner’s tweet seemed to suggest that certain games reviewers would be blacklisted in future as punishment for publishing negative reviews. The text of the tweet, since deleted, stated “too many went too far with their reviews…we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom”
Now Jim Redner has taken to the internet again, this time in the form of an essay-length guest blog in Wired Magazine in an attempt to explain his side of the ‘Duke Nukem Twitter Brain Fart.’
“I overreacted when I read the review and I vented on Twitter,” Redner wrote in his Wired guest blog, entitled ‘My Side of the Duke Nukem Twitter Brain Fart.’ “It was an act of passion on my part that lacked objectivity. In my opinion, someone had gone over the top to attack the game and those who spent their lives trying to make it. Ultimately, I committed a cardinal sin in marketing.”
The Redner Group is run by Jim Redner, a one man operation working out of a bedroom-turned-office. In his own words he describes his job as ‘the little guy against big corporate agencies.’
“Over the course of the Duke Nukem Forever PR and marketing campaign, I spent every day working as its evangelist, virtually traveling from writer to writer trying to spread the gospel. Whatever the client asked for, I went above and beyond to deliver. Duke Nukem Forever was a labor of love for me,” Redner wrote.
Redner was in favor of controlling the number of review copies that would be sent out, taking a calculated risk that hand picked reviewers would write more favorable reviews. “I had hand-picked certain key editors that I felt would enjoy the game for what it is. I based my selections on previous coverage and personal conversations. It is a selection process. The idea was to generate the highest possible cumulative scores for the game at launch.”
However, Redner’s strategy did not work out as most reviewers went ahead and panned the game anyway. Some reviews spared no mercy, calling the game ‘barely playable, not funny and rampantly offensive.’ Others slated the games ugly visuals and gameplay, while one summed up a review with the words ‘absolute garbage that should have stayed confined to the bowels of Development Hell.’
It is difficult to find many potitive reviews of 2k’s Duke Nukem Forever. MetaCritic gave the game a generally unfavorable review with a score of 49/100 and a similarly unfavorable user score of 3.9/10. It doesn’t require a huge leap of logic to see how a series of what Redner described as “scathing, derogatory uncalled, venomous” reviews might affect him on a personal level.
Although Jim Redner’s actions may have been born out of frustration, they ultimately cost him his PR job with 2K.