Highly anticipated video game sequel glorifies violence toward women

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:08 EDT
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A forthcoming video game sequel is taking an innovative approach to “capture the flag” … They’re calling it “Capture the Babe,” and not only will players be capturing digital women, they’ll be slapping them around, too.

With just over a month to go before the long-anticipated shooting game “Duke Nukem Forever” is released, some of its more controversial elements are finally leaking out.

But is violence against women really a gaming innovation worth 12 years in the making? Or is this just an obvious play for media controversy by the developers at Gearbox Software?

In the game, Duke — a burly, blond action star-type known for his macho attitude, objectification of women, crude wisecracks and buckets of ultra-violence — faces down an onslaught of alien invaders bent on kidnapping and impregnating every female on the planet.

Even with a story that’s so purely camp, like something ripped out of a bad 1950s movie, anticipation over Duke’s return has reached a fever pitch among longtime gamers. But how will those same gamers feel about glorifying domestic violence?

According to a recent report by The Official Xbox Magazine (OXM), there’s at least one clear point of controversy: In the online “Capture the Babes” mode, if a “babe” can’t take the stress and “freaks out” while Duke saves her from alien rapists, he’ll have to “slap” some sense into her.

Reacting to the details of this bizarre multiplayer mode, PC Gamer seemed more than a little put off.

“WTF?” writer Owen Hill asked. ”According to [Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford], Gearbox are intending to ‘Get right up to that edge and then relax enough so people don’t reject it.’ Sorry Randy, I just rejected.”

“Our goal isn’t to shock people, but I think there’s some stuff that’s a bit uncomfortable,” Pitchford told OXM. “I mean, the alien’s plan is to capture our women and impregnate them to breed an alien army, so you can imagine some horrible shit happens.”

Video of the gameplay in question has not yet been released.

Gearbox Software did not respond to a request for comment.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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