As rumored, 2K Games is reviving Duke Nukem Forever, the first-person shooter that was canned when original developer 3D Realms shut down last year.
2K, which says it has the publishing rights, has turned development over to Gearbox Software, best known for its recent work on Borderlands. If you don’t count the 16-month hiatus, Duke Nukem Forever is now in its 12th year of development, and if it’s actually released next year for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC, as planned, it will no longer be video gaming’s greatest example of vaporware, but rather an impressive feat of deposition.
I’ve already grumbled about how a completed Duke Nukem Forever just doesn’t seem right. I liked it better as an example of video gaming’s relentless technical improvements, and one developer’s futile attempts to keep up, than an actual product you can play. But unless you believe in curses, the game is going to be made, so now I’ve got a bunch of questions in light of all the time that’s passed.
How raunchy is this going to be? Duke Nukem 3D’s strippers and crude language were shocking in 1996, but in a post-Grand Theft Auto world, adult themes are have a harder time raising eyebrows. Kotaku’s Duke Nukem Forever preview speaks of sex acts and urination. Is that just part of the preview hype, or will the finished product be saturated with that stuff?
How many people care about Duke Nukem? Consider this a litmus test of nostalgia for late-80s machismo. Is Duke Nukem Forever purely a love letter to people who remember the old games, or does broader appeal exist?
Are we supposed to take this game seriously? It’s hard not to see Duke Nukem Forever as a parody of itself. The demo being played at Penny Arcade Expo includes at least one wisecrack about 12 years of development, but to what extent will the game’s history be roasted in the finished product?
Is this the start of Duke Nukem Forever, Forever? Successful video games tend to enter an endless cycle of sequels — to put it nicely, they become “franchises” — and while I have a feeling Duke Nukem Forever will be a commercial hit, I’m not yet convinced that this game is anything more than a single release of built-up tension. Where does Duke go from here?
Can we finally stop using this darned image? Taken from a 2007 teaser video and spread like wildfire. A few other images of 3D Realms’ later developments have popped up here and there, but this glamor shot has appeared in pretty much every Duke Nukem Forever-related story in recent memory. I might be more excited for new story art than I am for the actual game.