Randy Pitchford has revealed that Duke Nukem nearly ended up with a "gay robot" sidekick – which could still make an appearance in a future title.
Speaking last night at BAFTA in London, the Gearbox boss said, "Sexuality is part of the Duke personality", explaining that the original idea behind the sidekick was "to explore how Duke would relate to a peer that might have a different sexual orientation".
He added: "I don't want to spoil it because we might go there. Ultimately the robot was in a situation where for an order for victory against the aliens to be accomplished, the robot's inner workings – a nuclear generator – had to be sacrificed.
"The exploration was all very sincere and real and maybe we'll come back to that at some point."
Defending the tone and content of Duke Nuke Forever, amid accusations of sexism and misogyny, he said: "Duke is a wild guy; in his world they love him. His world is similar to ours but it's not our world. We are in the time when most of our heroes have become pussies. They're emo and everyone's trying to take themselves so seriously."
Aside from Duke Nukem, Pitchford shed some light on other titles his studio is working on. On the subject of a sequel to Bordelands, he confirmed: "You know we're going to want to spend some more time in that space," while acknowledging that he had been "silent" on upcoming shooter Aliens: Colonial Marines "for far too long".
And he also hinted that there was more to come from the company's Brothers In Arms series, stating: "We're going to want to talk about some of this things we're doing there soon."
Meanwhile, responding to a question about Valve's long-rumoured but never officially confirmed Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Pitchford, whose studio has worked on six Half-Life titles, dashed hopes.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that's not even in development," he said. "We assume there's one but clearly [Valve's] priorities are different. Those of us on the outside are making assumptions, [but] let's cut 'em some slack."
After 14 years in development, Duke Nuke Forever finally releases on 10th June for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.