Duke Nukem Forever Goes Gold (Or So They Say)

The fact that the world did not end on Saturday means there is an increased probability that “Duke Nukem Forever” – a title first announced in 1997 – will actually come out.

The wait for this game has been long enough to outlast at least two End of the World Predictions, and if it turns out that the world ends in 2012 (based on some unorthodox interpretations of the old Mayan calendar), gamers will have little more than a year to actually play the game.

Duke Nukem Forever’s publishers at Take Two Interactive announced today the title has gone gold, meaning it’s ready for a retail release. In honor of this allegedly momentous occasion, and the fact that I have a lot of work to do today on the Daily Bulletin’s and Sun’s business beat, I’m just going to post the full press release after the jump.

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Duke Nukem Forever delayed, try not to be shocked

In what 2K Games calls “the shortest delay in the history of ‘Duke Nukem Forever,’ the title’s release date has been postponed from May 3 to June 14 in North America.

“In case you haven’t heard, Duke never comes early,” said 2K Games president Christoph
Hartmann, said in a press release Thursday. “We’re committed to deliver a laugh-out-loud,
politically incorrect experience that people will talk about for years
to come. We thank Duke’s fans for their continued patience – I promise
this won’t take another 15 years.”

Duke Nukem fans who have been patient enough to wait 15 years for the title have matured aged bit since 1997. The game appears to have more than enough violence, profanity and nudity to warrant an M for Mature rating, although the word “mature” may not be the best word to describe anything related to Duke Nukem.

Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be released in 1997, but that didn’t happen. Games that actually came out in 1997 included “Starfox 64″ and”GoldenEye 007″ for Nintendo 64, “Star Wars: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter,” “Fallout,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “Age of Empires” for PC and “Gran Turismo,” and “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” for PlayStation.

Wha? “Duke Nukem Forever” gets launch date

I’m new to this blog and writing about video games in general, but given that today’s date is not April 1, I’m going to go ahead and act under the assumption that 2K Games is not joking today in its announcement of a May 3 launch date for “Duke Nukem Forever.”

That’s May 3 in North America. The rest of the world has to wait three additional days before getting a chance to pay actual money for what may indeed be an actual game. The game is set to be released for XBox 360, PS3 and PC.


From the press release:

Put on your shades and prepare to step into the boots of Duke Nukem, whose
legend has reached epic proportions in the years since his last
adventure. The alien hordes are invading and only Duke can save the
world. Pig cops, alien shrink rays and enormous alien bosses can’t stop
our hero from accomplishing his one and only goal: to save the world,
save the babes and to be a bad-ass while doing it. The King arrives with
an arsenal of over-the-top weapons, non-stop action, and unprecedented
levels of interactivity. This game puts the pedal to the metal and
tongue firmly in cheek. Shoot hoops, lift weights, read adult magazines,
draw crude messages on whiteboards or ogle the many hot women that
occupy Duke’s life – that is if you can pull yourself away long enough
from destroying alien invaders. Duke Nukem was and will forever be a gaming icon, and this is his legend.

The long story of Duke Nukem Forever’s banishment to development hell – or perhaps more accurately, development purgatory, is in itself the stuff of near legend. Check the link if you want to read details, but it’s probably enough to note here that gamers are just now getting a launch date for a title that was first announced back in 1997.

The year 1997, for those who remember or care, was back when Bill Clinton was president, when Notorious B.I.G. was murdered and continued to rule MTV, when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” made its television debut, when “The Simpsons” was still funny and when this writer was still in high school. It was, in the parlance of those times, “back in the day.”

In video game time, 1997 was a year before the XBox console existed, a year when Sega still made consoles and the year when the Fallout, Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto and Age of Empires franchises made their debuts.

After more than a decade, 2K Games and Gearbox Software say Duke Nukem Forever will be out in May. There’s even a NSFW trailer with profanity, violence and blurred T & A.

Readers are supposed to be 18 to watch it. That means a baby born in 1997 would still have to wait four years to play the game, assuming strict observance of ESRB ratings.

Duke Nukem Forever Lives…or Lives Forever


However you want to say it, DNF is alive and well.

Not happy with a simple blurb in saying that it’s actually real? Jaded by so many years of false promises?

I would be, too, along with many fans that had been waiting for this thing longer than some of today’s gamers have been alive. But at PAX 2010, a playable demo was actually available on the floor showing off the progress made. There’s also some talk that it might actually make it out sometime in 2011 courtesy of Gearbox Software.

The long wait is almost over and it looks on track to finally chuck that Lifetime Vaporware award Wired gave it in 2003.

George Broussard takes questions at Formspring

George Broussard, the designer behind 3D Realms and Duke Nukem, has decided to take on all questions at formspring.me. Now anyone can ask him a question and hope that he answers it on the site. He’s already spoken his thoughts on a few of these, such as:

  • his preference for the Xbox 360 (but admits that he also likes the PS3)
  • that he doesn’t mind used games sales, but hates the way that Gamestop does it
  • that he doesn’t think that games are art. At least, not yet.
  • loves the Atari 2600

So take advantage of it quick! Now if only other developers were to do the same thing…

Edit (3.6.2010): Actually, yes they are. Pi Studio’s Kenn Hoekstra, courtesy of Blue’s News, has posted up a few more links to other devs that are doing just that:

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