The biggest joke in gaming is about to get one hell of a punchline. The constantly-delayed ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ is not only going to be made, but it’s going to be made by one of the best developers around.
If you were a PC gamer back in 1996, you’ll remember when ‘Duke Nukem’ was relevant. ‘Duke Nukem 3D’ changed up the style of the franchise significantly, and heavily influenced the first person shooter genre along the way. As far as videogames go, it was big. Really big.
In 1997, the folks at 3D Realms announced a follow-up called ‘Duke Nukem Forever,’ which has been slated as “in development” ever since. The story of the development cycle is a long one better saved for another day. It’s fun to check out The Duke Nukem Forever List as a reminder of everything that’s happened since the game was announced. For example, the entire ‘Grand Theft Auto’ series and the entire ‘The Sims’ series.
The past is wonderful and silly, but it’s the future that’s really exciting. The legendary unfinished game is actually getting made, by a real developer, and it might actually be good.
Randy Pitchford of Gearbox – the company behind the ‘Brothers in Arms’ series and the absolutely brilliant ‘Borderlands’ – was speaking to 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard after development of the game was finally shut down when he realized that he was in a position to do something. “We felt we were in a spot where we can fix this,” explains Pitchford in an article from Gamasutra. “We’re local. Everyone trusts us. We can keep Duke alive.”
Pitchford then purchased the ‘Duke Nukem’ franchise from 3DR and obtained the rights, the game still under development and everything that came with it. “Ultimately, when I acquired the brand, I acquired the liability,” says Pitchford. “I was now the person having to defend the lawsuit with Take-Two. Fortunately, we have a good relationship with Take-Two and they got behind it.”
It’s going to be fascinating to jump into a game with so much history, and to see whether or not the 1990s action hero attitude still holds up. If everything goes well and there aren’t any more delays, ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ may be released as soon as 2011.