Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem


Wired’s Clive Thompson has put together a great piece that looks into the demise of Duke Nukem Forever. In it, he examines how success had ultimately become the worst thing that could happen for it at 3D realms and the reason why the long delayed game may appear under the Take 2 label instead. It’s kind of hard to think of how such a good thing could be so bad for the Duke, but I was surprised to see just how far the combination of unbridled enthusiasm and perfectionism had ultimately wrecked his chances for a long awaited return. It’s a gripping read.

3D Realms isn’t dead as a company, that much was made clear, but as far as development goes…Thompson’s piece pretty much lays it out at the end. Ever since I had seen the working footage briefly demonstrated by Jason Hall in ’08 in his first show, it seemed as if it were close to finally gettting out. And then screenshots, rumors, more months passing without a demo, until finally the bombshell dropped in May this year.

It’s also a story that made me angry to think of how many missed opportunities there were for it to finally see the light of day, of how many lives were invested over so many years in seeing it through, and the pressure to live up to the unbelievable hype that DNF had created around itself. When you look at something such as the Duke Nukem List memorializing its fate with everything that the world had accomplished while it waited for development to finish, you have to wonder why no one had the sense to stop and see just where the endless feature creep in raising the bar would ultimately leave it.

And the thing is, from the screens and the leaked design docs scattered across the ‘net that I’d seen, I’d still play it. Even if it were in pieces.

Duke Nukem Forever Strategy Guide Offered for Free

…well, not quite the strategy guide, but how about the actual design documents covering the game from beginning to end?

Courtesy of Duke fansite, Duke4.Net, who seem to have their teeth in the jugular of what has been going on with 3D Realms, they report that the lead designer for Duke Nukem Forever, Rick Huenink, has leaked design docs, previously unreleased screenshots, and even a world chart showing how everything in the game was going to be linked together. You can catch all of the links leading to the goodies here along with the original article.

I downloaded the batch of screens and…well, I’d definitely play it. In addition to the pic at the top the article, a few more choice shots follow below after the jump.

UPDATE: The original link to the article is dead per Duke4.net who have pulled the story due to a response that they were given by an ex-3DR employee who has told them that they “were not obtained with the [employees’] or the companies’ permission and are slanderous to [employees] and the company.”. As a result, we’re doing the same thing as a professional courtesy to the original article, although putting the genie back in the bottle elsewhere is proving to be a little more difficult thanks to more than a few hardcore fans. Apologies to everyone.

Duke Nukem Never?


It looks as if Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms has finally been shut down due to lack of funding from publisher Take-Two. 3D Realms had been working on the follow up to the much loved, tongue in cheek title for over 12 years. Take-Two will retain the rights to the game but no real word has been given on it’s current status. Read the original story over at