Yeah, I've heard that before.
Well, supposedly, this time, it is for real, although how anyone can expect it to be taken seriously, I don't know.
For those who came in late -- Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. Duke Nukem started out as a generic 2D adventure shooter, of which there were dozens on the market at the time. Then, the game was made into a 3D shooter along the lines of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, and just about every other trendy game at the time. Duke was the Howard Stern of video games -- shocking, puerile, and completely visceral (for example, you could pay strippers and see their pixelated BEWBS!!1!, then blow them up). This isn't to say anyone who likes the games has no taste (I reserve that insult for people who like Data Designs), just saying that my firm belief was the game wasn't a hit because of stellar gameplay but from the audience getting an environment to live their dream.
In 1997, Duke Nukem Forever was announced. Typically, your really tricky games with lots of 3D and such will be done in about three years. Duke Nukem Taking Forever was never finished and became a running gag in the industry as vaporware. What exactly went wrong? My theory is that 3D Realms' co-founder George Broussard is a dipshit. Broussard wanted to make the next Quake or Unreal Tournament, and chucked a lot of completed work when more advanced game engines and graphics cards hit the market. Comments he made to message boards and gripes from devs who jumped pointed to a guy more interested in making something spectacular instead of getting the job done. In fact, 3D Realms developed other franchises, like Max Payne and Prey, from the ground up within two year windows for each while supposedly working on Duke Nukem Whenever. The design staff was understandably pissed -- in this business, you have to keep moving. You constantly need to show off new stuff with current tech to make studios want to hire you. Not only were most of the workers stuck without anything new appearing that they could brag about, but they also signed up for profit participation. I don't blame them, back then, this seemed as sure as the sun rising. In fact, an anonymous person claiming to be a former staffer at 3D Realms posted that the 2001 trailer was complete machinema, it wasn't in game footage but modeling to make a movie specifically to make people think there was a game there when their wasn't.
During this time, GT Interactive, which held the distribution rights, got acquired by Take Two Interactive. Broussard went on message boards insulting his bosses at Take Two who questioned his abilities and stated they didn't think the game would make its constantly sliding target dates (the same people fronting him money instead of just canceling the project and putting up with his bullshit. Way to be professional, dude). As I reported here, 3D Realms tried getting more money to "finish" Duke Nukem If Ever, Take Two decided this had gone on long enough and told them to fuck themselves, 3D Realms folded, Take Two asserted its rights and grabbed everything, and promptly farmed out the project to Gearbox Software (lots of 3D shooters like Half Life expansion packs, a remix of Halo, Brothers In Arms, and a new Aliens game).
Yesterday, at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, a nearly finished version of Duke Nukem: Forever In Development was available for fans to try. Gearbox is saying that the game WILL be finished and out in 2011 for the PC, PS3, and 360. Okay, THEM, I'll believe.
It's not that I'm a Duke fan, I honestly don't give a shit about the games. It's not my bag, others like it, have a blast. But it's been the biggest running gag in the history of gaming. Even John Romero and Derek Smart have become footnotes instead of immediate entries. And now, the ride is almost truly over. Oh, the fans will still bitch. But it won't be the same as the creative stuff like one guy who posted a picture of the receipt he got when he preordered the game for $5 from Circuit City. The quality control on the lulz is going to go way done.
Broussard famously said the game would be released "when it's done". And I've only had this blog for about a year and a half. And in that time, the game went from "when it's done" to "next year, definitely." And I hope all the staffers who hitched their wagon to this dead horse can get something they can use on their resumes out of it.