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Gearbox Software
GENRE: First Person Shooter
June 14, 2011

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

Duke Nukem Trilogy

More in this Series
 Written by Kris Rosado  on February 08, 2008

Special: Forever feels so far away...

It is almost quasi-mystical at this point that the ironically named Duke Nukem Forever even exists in any fashion. But it does after two teaser photos and a teaser trailer were released late last year. Those, of course, prove nothing of just how far the development is but only that there are still people working on it? old people? people who played the first PlayStation! Actually, that means nothing as at this point there are very few people from the original team still working on the game.

April 28, 1997 was a day that would live in Duke Nukem infamy? it was the day Forever was first announced. It was a time when the PC was still the dominant shooter market, the Quake II engine was the most awesome graphics engine ever, and 3D Realms had just been born from Apogee Software. Having been in development for a few months prior to the announcement date, Forever was on track for a mid-1998 release.

Relying heavily on the Quake II engine, the Forever project would already hit its first road block? the engine was late arriving; everything prior to November 1997 was done on the original Quake engine.

In June of 1998, 3D Realms ditched the Quake II engine in favor of the Unreal engine. In a press release on 3D Realms site, project leader George Broussard stated that changing the engine was purely business:

?The switch to the Unreal engine was simply a business decision, and it came down to what we wanted to do with Duke Nukem Forever and how best to achieve it. It's important to note that this decision has nothing to do with id software or our relationship with them, which still remains very strong.?

He also went on to say that the development would not be delayed significantly and that the new target date was 1999. The game did not come out in any fashion in 1999 except for a Christmas card saying the game would now be out in 2000? err? did they say 2000? I think they meant 2001, with another Christmas card appearing the next year to announced the new date.

However, in 2000 Gathering of Developers (G.o.D) would gain publishing rights to Forever. The acquisition would not last however, as G.o.D folded the following year and Take-Two Interactive picked up the pieces.

By 2002, fans had already moved on, beliving Duke Nukem Forever to be a tall-tale. Console shooters were luring PC gamers away from their computers and the graphics race had just been kicked into high gear. With that, 3D Realms once again ditched one engine for another, this time, jumping to the Unreal Engine 2.0.

So what is a development team to do when development goes this wrong? Start over of course. According to George Broussard, at this point 95% of the work was scrapped. Broussard said the game had an unstable tech base.

The next few years of development would not go any better. Key people left the company. Take-Two and 3D Realms have never been on good terms and the revelation that Take-Two had offered a cash bonus to the company to have Forever done by 2006 was met with more harsh words by Broussard.

While little information about the game has been revealed in the intervening years, Duke Nukem Forever can at least say it's an award-winning game, taking the top spot in Wired's annual Vaporware Awards in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. It placed second in 2000 and won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. This award was meant to keep it off the list forever, but fan outcry led to its continued dominance of Wired's Vaporware Awards in more recent years.

So what is the story with Duke Nukem Forever now?

On February 6, 2008, the Dallas Business Journal reported that Duke Nukem Forever would be released in late 2008, however George Broussard later quashed that rumor stating the game is still in the ?When it's done? release window. Even if a late 2008 release date is a distinct probability, anything short of physically seeing the product on shelves will be acceptable to most gamers.

It has been ten crazy years for Duke Nukem Forever's development; here's to hoping the game will be like a fine wine and get better with age.

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