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3D Realms Shocker: Duke Nukem Forever Delayed For at Least Another Five Years, Possibly Cancelled

I’ve made quite a number of posts on Duke Nukem, specifically Duke Nukem Forever, on the blog, but this one will no doubt be the saddest, hardest one to write. Then again, I’m not exactly surprised.

The name Duke Nukem Forever was first thought up after Duke Nukem 3D came out in 1996, and this particular title was going to be a platform game similar to Duke Nukem 1 or 2. That title was cancelled and the name was recycled to be used in what has been nominated one of the most controversial titles of all time. It has won several vapourware awards over the years.

Duke Nukem Forever’s development began over ten years ago, with a movie showing at E3 in 1998. Back then, the game used the id Tech 2, or Quake II, engine and was set for a release some time in 1999 by all accounts.

The next time it reared its head was in 2001, once again at E3, then using the much prettier Unreal engine. They started off with the Unreal Engine, and eventually built their way up to using the Unreal Tournament build code.

Years later, and after much public abuse, 3D Realms still hadn’t released the game, but had once again switched engines to use Unreal Engine 2.0. A few screenshots were released in September last year, and of course, video footage was collected and shown by Jason Hall, who claimed "I saw it. They're working on it. It's not a myth. You will be pleased." Fans had until recently been waiting for twelve years or more.

Recently, there was talk of the game switching to the id Tech 4 engine, used for Prey, another title that had taken ages to come out, and was originally a 3D Realms game (they ended up being the publisher). The latest game to use this engine is Wolfenstein, currently still in development and due for a release later this year. There was a mention of the recent engine change in GEAR magazine.

George Broussard stated, “There has obviously been a lot of fan uproar over switching to yet another engine, and some claim that it isn’t even worthy, that id Tech 4 is too old, and by the time Duke Nukem Forever is released, it will be far too outdated. Others asked why we didn’t go for id Tech 5, but id won’t let us have it as they’re still busy working on Rage, and they want it to be the first game to use the engine, with Doom 4 following afterwards. I don’t know anymore.”

Scott Miller followed up with his own comments by saying, “Years ago I said that we screwed up Duke Nukem Forever, and now I mean we’ve really done it this time. The thing is that the development costs have become too much, and even though we’ve talked about switching to the new engine, I’m not sure that we’ll be around to see it through the way we’ve been going. We might just have to call it a day, stick our tails between our legs and cut our losses. To continue development with id Tech 4 would mean a possible five to eight year delay for DNF, and at this time we’ve faced major backlash and we could be heading for a financial crisis if we decide to go for it. Unfortunately the worldwide economic crisis just isn't in our favour at the moment.”

That means that Duke Nukem Forever, if delayed for the maximum eight years stated, would only come out in 2017- twenty years after development initially started.

Joe Siegler added that, “We wanted Duke Nukem Forever to be perfect, and we came this close. Now it’s just a perfect mess, a real f$$k-up! It makes me so pi$$ed. I just can’t believe it.”

So, it looks like it’s down to these options:

Continue development with id Tech 4 and possibly 3D Realms goes bankrupt.


Cancel Duke Nukem Forever.

Some have asked why 3D Realms couldn’t just release the game as is; Broussard replied, “We weren’t finished with it, and we weren’t happy with it anymore.”


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