The fourth installment in the popular Duke Nukem series. Originally supposed to go gold sometime in 1998, we're still waiting for it. It's expected to come out "When it's done." Uses the Unreal engine. This looks like an great game from what few screenshots I've seen, but then again, so did Daikatana.

3D Realms, The developer of DNF (as it's cool to call it) maintains the press blackout by not releasing any screenies or movies, but they did put together an kick ass trailer for E3 2001. You can get it from 3drealms.com, and I personally recommend the high quality Bink version.

From what we can tell (official sayings and info from 3DR's message board) is that the game will take place partly in Las Vegas and the main badguy will be Dr. Proton from the original Duke Nukem PC game from waaaay back in 1991. Powered by the UT version of the Unreal engine, DNF doesn't have any of the internal company problems that Ion Storm had while making Diakatana. 3D Realms, funding Duke Forever pretty much totally of Duke Nukem 3D sales, has only lost one employee during DNF's development, and that was a programmer who left the industry for personal reaons. They've hired additional staff (like Brandon "Greenmarine" Reinhart from Epic) and, from what the trailer alludes us to, we can hopefully expect to see this game in the year 2001.

Just as a side note, yes I did play a lot of Duke Nukem 3D and I loved it. Personally, I love 3DR's style of the media blackout and then "When it's done release date. Oh, and as a example of how cool the company is....I've emailed George Broussard (part owner/lead designer at 3D Realms) twice to show my support after someone in the industry knocked 3DR, and I got two responces within a few hours. I'm sorry, but to me that's just really freakin' neato. ;)
Also known as the biggest joke in the history of computer entertainment. 3D Realms' press blackout has made them the laughing stock of the industry; there has been no sign of any actual progress in the development of Duke Nukem Forever for well over a year.

In fact, Duke Nukem Forever sets new standards in the field of development delays, surpassing both Daikatana and Heart Of Darkness in development time. 3D Realms have been working on the game for over five years (or at least they've claimed to be working), and there's still no release date anywhere on the horizon.

"When It's Done", indeed.

I feel the need to update this archaic node with a few new facts about the development of Duke Nukem Forever by 3D Realms.

From searching the 3D Realms forums about Duke Nukem Forever, I have found many comments from George Broussard about the development process of the game. It has become apparent that 3D Realms is tired of working on the game and is trying to bang out the best thing they can (they are striving to not pull a Daikatana) and move on to a different Duke game. Broussard himself admitted that they wanted to release it as fast as possible, but didn't want to release a piece of junk and lose what little respect they have left. From Broussard's comments it is clear that they intend to work on another Duke Nukem game after this. How long it will take is questionable, though I am sure the community will entertain many more jokes at the company's expense when the idea is brought public.

The development underwent many different problems that affected the length of time. As we all know it has now been bordering a decade since Duke Nukem Forever has started development, and so many are wondering exactly what is going on that could be delaying our favorite womanizer from making his leap back into popular culture. George Broussard has pin-pointed two topics on the forum that attributed to the delay and extension to the game's deadline.

Staff

Duke Nukem 3D had fourteen people on staff during production. This included the man who voiced Duke Nukem himself and Ken Silverman, the genius teenager who programmed the wildly popular Build engine in the first place. Going into Duke Nukem Forever, George Broussard was severely understaffed. At first the workload seemed reasonable, but over time it became very clear that they would need more and more people. As the development went on, more staff was brought in to work on the project. The understaffing of the game increased development time immensely, and they ended up taking longer than expected due to this circumstance. The current estimate for staffing is around thirty people, and 3D Realms is asking for two more people on their website.

Engines

Duke Nukem Forever has had about three different game engines at various times of development. They started development with Quake 2 and ran through several popular engines before finally ending up scrapping the whole deal, hiring an extended programming staff to update all of the graphics and audio, and finally ending up with Unreal 2.

Duke Nukem Forever has undergone change after change, mess-up after mess-up. It's time for them to finish it and release it, and I am under the impression that this will be happening quite soon. Like the apocalypse, it is only a matter of time before it happens. So prepare yourself.

It's finished: on May 6th 2009, 12 years and 9 days after Duke Nukem Forever began production, 3D Realms has closed and Duke Nukem Forever is no more.

Duke Nukem Forever was the much-anticipated fourth instalment in the Duke Nukem series of first-person shooters, after Duke Nukem 3D. It was said to be a game that would "push the limits of gaming and establish new standards in interactivity, variety, and pure fun." Its release was delayed so many times that most fans gave up hope of ever seeing it, and the developers took a "when it's done" approach to expected release dates, which meant they were, theoretically, off the hook in that regard.

The publisher, Take-Two Interactive, has cut the project's funding; so 3D Realms is without a source of finances, and has closed its doors. Forever's development has ceased, and we may never even know how close it was to completion. Perhaps it was all a hoax or in-joke anyway; the "in-game" footage was admitted to be completely scripted, which lends credibility to this theory.

Take-Two's VP of communications Alan Lewis made a statement, saying, "we can confirm that our relationship with 3D Realms for Duke Nukem Forever was a publishing arrangement, which did not include ongoing funds for development of the title. In addition, Take-Two continues to retain the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever."

So 3D Realms could not have turned to another publisher, nor can now-former employees, but the possibility of future development or publication by Take-Two depends on the details of their contract with 3D Realms.

Regarding the infamous time spent in development hell, producer George Broussard has joked that, "there's of course been the hookers and the cocaine, there's been a lot of mistakes, and a lot of lessons we had to learn, and most of all there's been a lot of World of Warcraft."

Talking about very slow progress made in development, an unnamed ex-3D Realms employee said in a forum post; "designer would be assigned a task (build a new map, rebuild an old map, polish a bit of a map, etc.). Designer would work on said task for two, three weeks, a month, all the while lower management would be looking over it and making sure it was going in a "good general direction." Designer would move on to another task. A month or two later upper management would finally look at the work and say, "It's all wrong, do it again." Rinse, repeat."

There is, of course, The Duke Nukem Forever List (see references for URL); it is a list of major accomplishments (mainly in the video game industry, of course) and events that have occurred during Duke Nukem Forever's production. Here is a small sample, paraphrased somewhat:

There are also a few things that have taken less time than Duke Nukem Forever's failed production, most notably: The Beatles' entire career, the design and flight of the Wright Brothers' aeroplane, The US program to put a man on the moon, World War I and World War II.

At the top of the page is a photograph of a yellowed receipt for a deposit on the PC edition, dated October 10th 2001. Its owner has been a patient gamer indeed. Below that, as of two days ago, there is a headstone with a cigar sitting gently atop it, that reads:

R.I.P.
Duke Nukem Forever
April 28th 1997 - May 6th 2009

I find it a little bit funny that Duke's final words were his lines from the last teaser trailer, released in late 2007: "I'm lookin' for some alien toilet to park my bricks. Who's first?"


References:
IGN article, "3D Realms No More", by Hilary Goldstein, http://au.pc.ign.com/articles/980/980457p1.html
Shacknews article, "Duke Nukem Developer 3D Realms Shuts Down", by Nick Breckon and Chris Faylor, http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=1127
The Duke Nukem Forever List, updated by Eli Hodapp, http://duke.a-13.net/
Duke Nukem Forever, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_Nukem_Forever


November 2011 update: I spoke too soon. The game was finally finished in a couple of months by Gearbox Software, and the general consensus seems to be that it sucks hard.

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