Then why do you insist so much on Duke needing to be a parody? Can't you see that, as a requirement, it's bogging the character down?
No, there's only one person to blame for DNF, and his name is George Broussard. It was him who decided to switch from Quake2 to Unreal just because the Quake2 engine could not render the outside area around the Hoover Dam. And then, developing on the Unreal engine got to his head. In few days, I'll upload the Text Docs section of the DNF Museum, and you'll be able to see exactly when things started going south, from reading all interviews I collected. You'll see how the approach to DNF switched from "get it done soon with existing technology" to "use DNF as a platform to try everything and the kitchen sink, chasing technology ad infinitum". I'll let you appreciate the contrast between something George said in 1997...
George Broussard, on April 27, 1997 said:
...and what he said in 1999:
George Broussard, on April 9, 1999 said:
And it was George who had a perverted concept of project management that boiled down to "see what level designers are doing, tell them it's fine even when you know it's not, and when they are almost finished, tell them to scrap everything they did and restart". Of course people liked working with him! He never complained! He never stressed them out! He never gave them deadlines!
And we were right, because 3DRealms used DNF as an excuse to test whatever was tickling George's fancy at the moment, as opposed to... you know, make a game. It was only after the last restart, when most employees got mad and left, that George started trying to finish the game. Only, by that time, the market has changed, and in order to make money, the game needed to run smoothly on consoles too, which meant that most of what was planned in the previous iterations could not be done unless the decision was taken to make the game look obsolete in exchange for non-linear levels. Unfortunately, the opposite decision was taken.
It was George who decided to go for the 2-weapon limit, because he played Halo, that had it, and he liked it! It was George who decided not to include the level editor, because the game was supposed to come out for consoles too, and consoles could not use the level editor!
All Gearbox did was release what 3DRealms was capable to come up with, attempting to keep it together the best they could. But blaming Gearbox for the condition of DNF would be like blaming whoever glued a shattered vase back together because there's glue on the vase, because the singleplayer campaign was FINISHED in late 2009, by Triptych!
No, the only thing Gearbox can be blamed for is bending over to 2K's request to remove the command console from the game. Had 3DRealms released DNF in 2009, we would have gotten exactly the same game, just with a different Duke model and maybe even without the singpleplayer DLC (if you check out the Screenshots and Videos sections of the DNF Museum, you'll see that no 2009 screenshot shows Area 51 with enemies, and no video released before December 2011 shows the Moon level).