Strauss Zelnick is, by all accounts, a pretty nice guy, especially as CEOs of major corporations go. But if it's one thing a steady diet of spy fiction and The Simpsons has taught me, it's that the nicest CEOs are usually the ones with secret plans for world domination and/or destruction.
Based on Zelnick's interview with Forbes today, it sounds like the next step in his plan to go all Hank Scorpio on the world is to move forward with new entries in the Duke Nukem franchise. When asked about future plans for the Duke Nukem IP, including any possibilities for film and TV off-shoots, Zelnick was quick to shoot down any immediate plans for other media, but did leave the lingering threat of future games wide open by saying, "We don’t really talk about it in detail but you will see future Duke IP coming from this company."
If that didn't just send shivers down your spine, I don't know what will.
Duke Nukem Forever has evidently been a financial success for the publisher, though whether or not that's relative to how much money was spent on the title over the last 15 years of development, we cannot be certain. At the very least, the game sounds like it's selling copies, in spite of largely negative reviews and significant audience criticism regarding the game's misogynistic, puerile, and sometimes downright nasty attempts at humor. The ensuing Internet kerfuffle has already led to insane people trying to bastardize science to prove the inherent "crappiness" of reviewers, and one PR person to commit career seppuku via Twitter.
Seemingly unsympathetic to the carnage already caused, Zelnick was defiant when asked for a reaction to the negative criticism associated with the game.
"...when we put something out I stand behind it, and will not compromise," he said, presumably while banging a fist down on a desk made from the bones of his enemies, while a shark swam menacingly in a tank behind him. "When you put all those things all together it’s difficult to be critical of the company. Because here in America, thank God, we have the ability to do what we want."
As a final piece of salient advice, Zelnick added, "What is there left to be said? I’m sorry if you don’t like it. Don’t consume it." On this point, Zelnick and the media would seem to be in total agreement.