Pulp sci-fi, muscle-bound alpha males, bad language, outrageous violence – on the face of it, it would seem Epic's forthcoming FPS Bulletstorm and the Duke Nukem series have a lot in common. Not so, insists developer People Can Fly.
"It's hard to believe, and I often kick myself for this, but I never really played Duke," the Polish studio's creative director, Adrian Chmielarz, told Eurogamer.
"I mean, I tried a few times, but I somehow always stopped playing after the first chapter or so. It was 1996, and I guess I did not know enough about American pop culture to appreciate Duke properly. So yeah, I never truly played it, so I guess I can honestly say that Bulletstorm was not inspired by Duke.
"I might be wrong," he continued, "but I believe Duke was always more of a parody than a real story, and while our one-liners and over-the-topness are icing on the cake, for Duke it is the cake. I guess people sometimes compare both games just because there's nothing else out there you can compare your game to if it's not a modern conflict type of shooter or just a shooter that's not afraid of humor."
Chmielarz went on to explain how much input Epic's design director and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has had on the game.
"Cliff - and a lot of other guys from Epic - have huge influence on the game. They're an integral part of the development process. That's their modus operandi; they worked very long and very hard to become one of the most respected and successful developers in the world and they'd never attach their name to anything that is not up to their ridiculously high standards.
"But it's important to remember that PCF is not an indie developer that Epic funds or something. We are Epic. It's just that Epic brass allowed us to keep the name, but other than this, we're just Epic, so it's not surprising that Cliff and the gang are heavily involved with the development of Bulletstorm."
People Can Fly started out as an independent developer but was snapped up by Epic following its bonkers, Marmite 2004 shooter, Painkiller. Has much changed since Cliff and the gang stepped in?
"There were 15 of us in 2002, and now there are over 70 of us supported by numerous companies from all around the globe, so the total number of people working on the game is in the hundreds.
"But you know what? I don't know how, but we managed to retain the spirit and the madness that was PCF in 2002, so despite the fact that now we have to be, like, serious and professional and stuff, we're still the guys who work hard so you can be rewarded for shooting other people in the ass."
You can take Chmielarz up on that offer when Bulletstorm launches on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in February 2011. Eurogamer's Kristan Reed went hands-on with the game in May.
Gearbox Software's Duke Nukem Forever, also for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, shouldn't be too far behind it.
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