Patterico's Pontifications

1/21/2011

The Return of the Duke

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:01 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

For a little Friday frivolity/nerdiness, I present to you the trailer for the game Duke Nukem Forever (mildly NSFW, for pixilated nudity and bad language):

And of course Gearbox, is stating that this game is coming out on May 3 of this year (source).  For those who don’t know, this game has become legendary in the way it has taken for-frickin’-ever to come out.  It has literally been in development hell for over twelve years, until the company that originally created it went under.

Even those people who don’t care about games but just would like to read the fascinating story of a company going horribly wrong, this article in wired is excellent reading.  To give you a sample from it:

Broussard simply couldn’t tolerate the idea of Duke Nukem Forever coming out with anything other than the latest and greatest technology and awe-inspiring gameplay. He didn’t just want it to be good. It had to surpass every other game that had ever existed, the same way the original Duke Nukem 3Dhad.

But because the technology kept getting better, Broussard was on a treadmill. He’d see a new game with a flashy graphics technique and demand the effect be incorporated into Duke Nukem Forever. “One day George started pushing for snow levels,” recalls a developer who worked on Duke Nukem Forever for several years starting in 2000. Why? “He had seen The Thing” — a new game based on the horror movie of the same name, set in the snowbound Antarctic — “and he wanted it.” The staff developed a running joke: If a new title comes out, don’t let George see it. When the influential shoot-’em-up Half-Life debuted in 1998, it opened with a famously interactive narrative sequence in which the player begins his workday in a laboratory, overhearing a coworker’s conversation that slowly sets a mood of dread. The day after Broussard played it, an employee told me, the cofounder walked into the office saying, “Oh my God, we have to have that in Duke Nukem Forever.”

Read the whole thing.

Anyway, so the end of the story was that the company did go under and lawsuits ensued.  And somehow through all of that, Gearbox managed to “buy Duke Nukem.”  Gearbox’s big hit so far was a cell-shaded first person shooter called “Borderlands” which was moderately fun and fairly addictive.  So there is real cause for optimism in this case.

That all being said, I recall being in a Gamestop several months ago, wasting time as my wife shopped for shoes.  I was chatting with the clerk and mentioned the game and he pointed out that very soon they would be accepting preorders for the game and asked if I wanted to purchase one.  I replied, “Are you crazy? I believe this time they will finally get it out, but I am not willing to bet money on it.  Can you imagine if you bought the pre-order twelve years ago?”  To the clerk’s credit, he laughed.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

44 Responses to “The Return of the Duke”

  1. Sadly, I’ve heard this again and again and again. Game will NEVER happen. Us Dukies (game, not the school) have been buying in to this for well over a decade. We bought into it when the last Duke game, a 2D side scroller, came out. At this point, none of the gamers think it will ever come out.

    Sadly, I hope I am made to look like a fool with that comment, and the game comes out, and, around and around the Hope goes, because Duke Nukem 3D was the original greatest first person 3D shooter ever! Followed by the underrated Sin. Duke was the first to have multiple vertical levels, Sin was the first to really show blood and make the damage dependent on where you shot the character. All the other great ones, Halflife, Deus Ex, Far Cry, the Star Wars ones (hated the Knights of the Old Republic ones since they were turn based, but, Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy rocked!), and all the rest followed.

    Duke forever! (I was actually a beta tester for the supposed follow up to DN3D. Didn’t like it. Spider monsters.)

    William Teach (2d1bed)

  2. A bunch of the guys at Gearbox actually used to be the ones working on DNF, so I suspect that they will give it decent treatment…

    I’m still renting before I buy, though.

    And as an aside, I want to savagely beat the people who did Fallout New Vegas. If the game isn’t locking up on me, then quests are glitching on me. I want to hurt them. Badly.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  3. Also, I was at PAX in Seattle, and got to see what they had there. The game is coming out, and I would be shocked if they didn’t actually make the May 3 target.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  4. william

    even if it comes out, it will never seem foolish to have doubted it. not after 12 years.

    Scott

    what system are you using? my ps3 copy is fine.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. One of my favorite games is Gran Turismo 5, so I guess I don’t have much room to talk when it comes to long delayed games.

    I have long thought the ‘DNF’ was an inside joke, to constantly promise a game that is never finished. The last time they said the game was canceled, my comment was that in a few years, they would claim it’s about to be finished again.

    Of course, it’s a new company now promising release. I suspect it will be underwhelming.

    Thank goodness for Gamestops, one of the few stores in a mall that interests guys who are waiting for their wife to pick some shoes. I don’t think I’ve been in a mall for a couple of years, though. My wife found Amazon.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  6. I want to savagely beat the people who did Fallout New Vegas.

    I have avoided buying the game because of my experience with the last couple of glitchy Bethesda games. After they are patched up, Fallout 3 and Oblivion are great, but before that… no thanks.

    And this is one of those games where you spend a lot of time, so if your game is really broken, it’s incredibly frustrating.

    It’s not acceptable for games to launch unfinished.

    I will say the incredibly polished Demon’s Souls has ruined other games for me, because they seem like a joke now.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  7. dustin

    its a little more acceptable when a game is as massive as fallout 3.

    besides, i just haven’t had the same problems as you guys, apparently.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  8. Aaron – 360, natch. It’s a hit-or miss, I think. It seems completely random, some people have NOTHING but problems and epicly-long load times, while some don’t.

    When the game first came out, I had no issues with it. Then one day, BAM, nothing but issues.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  9. I actually downloaded the full game for PC from GOG.com, after playing it on my iPhone after all these years. Wanted to play the bonus and Atomic levels. Ended up running across the High Res Packs, and they rock. I found some copies of Duke it out in DC and Caribbean, with HRPs for those. I gave up on Nuclear Winter, was a big pain to get to play.

    Since then, I check out a few Duke sites and play the player maps. There are some seriously incredible ones. If you get it for PC, check out MSDN and Duke Repository.

    William Teach (2d1bed)

  10. I am gonna try deleting my HDD copy (360 lets you install a game to the HDD, though you have to have the disc in the try to prove you actually own it) and re-installing. I did upgrade to the new 360 slim, so it is possible that the transfer from my old 120 GB HDD to the new 250 just isn’t what I should have used.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  11. scott… yeah you might be right about the randomness.

    dustin has a ps3, too, so… huh…

    Btw, there is a sale at best buy, buy two games costing over $30, get one free.

    i managed to snag mass effect 2, heavy rain and little big planet 2 using that deal.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. When the game first came out, I had no issues with it. Then one day, BAM, nothing but issues.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 1/21/2011 @ 10:54 am

    Really?

    This sounds like your cache is screwed up. On the 360 version, you can clear the cache to resolve a lot of problems like stuttering, missing textures, pop-in, etc.

    Dashboard, system settings, Memory, hit Y, select ‘clear cache’.

    HTH

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  13. I don’t have New Vegas, Aaron. And my PS3 runs Fallout 3 quite fine, but it didn’t before it was updated.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  14. I’ve got Mass Effect 3 coming, but I really need to do one more play through of ME2 for the perfect game save…

    *sigh*

    Guess it’s time to put FNV away, and get to it.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  15. scott

    lol you make it sound like homework.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  16. I am really interested in ME2, but all the 360 gamers say the way the game builds off your ME1 game save has cultivated a little bit of jealousy. Still, I can’t blame the devs for that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. Any body else finging the “Read the Whole Thing” link broken? I’m getting a 404 error.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  18. And yes I know anybody is one word. Doh!

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  19. The link is wrong, Have Blue.

    This might be where it was headed.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  20. Sorry, link fixed, i think. try it now.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  21. Dustin, it DOES import from your saved game, but it is quite possible to play it without having played the first one. Check around for a plot synopsis of ME 1 (which had some graphics issues), and enjoy ME2. It really is amazing.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  22. Dustin

    Well, ME1 is never coming to a sony system, because microsoft published it. But what they apparently did to fix it was create an interactive comic reviewing the events of the first game and letting you make those choice, which then affect the new game. which is about as much as you can get, given that microsoft will never let us have the first game.

    besides, what we get out of the deal is a superior version of the game. apparently they created an all new engine for ME3, coming out later this year, and for the ps3 version the used the ME3 engine. so basically its prettier.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  23. given that microsoft will never let us have the first game.

    I can’t blame ’em for it. It was their investment.

    And I played the ME2 demo. It’s certainly a pretty game.

    I’ll just grumble a little. You’re right that the comic is a very thoughtful effort. I don’t have time for any more games at the moment anyway.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  24. Frankly, while I really liked the first game, it wasn’t anywhere NEAR as good as ME2.

    And with you guys beta-testing the ME3 engine, it should be REALLY good.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  25. I did three back-to-back play-throughs of ME2 before the DLC came out, and did every bit of side-stuff there was.

    I have no idea how much time I spent in total, but it has to have been more than 40 hours.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)


  26. I can’t blame ‘em for it. It was their investment.

    I could, if I ever played console games. It’s one thing to concentrate on your own platform, but it’s totally bogus to ignore the others that are satisfactory in the size of their user-base.

    It’s just flat-out bad business.

    Using “your” games as encouragement to buy “your” platform, is one thing. Using them as blackmail, however, is crap.

    [I believe this is igotbupkis, failing to switch back his nickname. -Aaron]

    Qwis Maffews (edf445)

  27. It pisses me off when one console maker pays devs simply to keep their games off other systems.

    That has always really ticked me off.

    But if the publisher invests in something… it seems like they have the right to control it. Would it be cool if Sony put Gran Turismo 5 on the Xbox?

    I guess I see ME1 on the 360 as “Using “your” games as encouragement to buy “your” platform”

    If I’m mistaken about that, then my conclusion would have to change.

    My initial fear was that the console market would become horribly monopolized, like Office Software and OSs kinda are, and MS’s ability to financially dominate would lead to far less competition and innovation, and far higher costs.

    I don’t think that was realistic, and it’s certainly not happening. Sony’s dominating many parts of the world. Nintendo isn’t going anywhere. Emerging markets like China probably will keep this trend. There’s so much money in gaming, from so many directions, that I don’t think a monopoly is possible (even if EA and MS would love to conspire for one, just look at ME2 and ME3 for how the market controls).

    What we have right now is actually, and surprisingly, the ideal. PS3s and 360s are different enough that people have genuine preferences that make sense. Both are hugely popular, and make tons of money for many devs. Competition between them leads to innovations like Kinect and Move, or 3D, or online gaming aspects.

    It’s true that MS, among many other companies, behaves in a way that sometimes seems to compete by undermining the ‘enemy’ rather than outperforming them. But hopefully it becomes more and more clear that this isn’t the best use of their money.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  28. Dustin

    > It pisses me off when one console maker pays devs simply to keep their games off other systems.

    I keep wondering how they avoid liability for anti-trust.

    > Would it be cool if Sony put Gran Turismo 5 on the Xbox?

    Actually, yeah, but you really can’t expect it.

    > I guess I see ME1 on the 360 as “Using “your” games as encouragement to buy “your” platform”

    Well, that’s exactly how this works. They call games like that “system sellers.” And sony has its fair share of them, notably God of War,

    > I don’t think that was realistic, and it’s certainly not happening. Sony’s dominating many parts of the world. Nintendo isn’t going anywhere.

    Truthfully, Nintendo is winning this round. In the beginning xbox did great by being out of the gate first. Then Nintendo captured the casual market with something like 40 million units sold. Which is nothing compared to the 100 million plus sold of the playstation 2, but beats the crap out of the 360 and ps3. It will be interesting to see if this changes. It does appear that a lot of people bought Xboxes for the kinect. I think both ps3’s motion controller strategy was just to remove an argument against them. but xbox tried to create some real buzz, although I am with Kevin butler in saying I prefer there to be buttons. Myself I am hoping the next socom is a winner, with its move support.

    The other thing that might pay dividends for the ps3 and move is that they purposefully made it so that programming for it was very similar to programming for the wii. So it is easier to publish across those two platforms. For instance, if you get dead space 2, some editions for the ps3 will include dead space extraction for free, which is a port of a wii game.

    But I think bluntly the ps3 is losing this round so far. Which is ironic because I think the ps3 did help them win the format battle of blue ray v. HD DVD.

    But if you want my theory, I think there is a lot of people who already hate how windows works (or doesn’t) and were thinking “I will be damned if Microsoft gets my free time, too.” and things like the red ring of death hasn’t exactly improved my opinion of Microsoft as a company. and that keeps microsoft from dominating.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. Would it be cool if Sony put Gran Turismo 5 on the Xbox?

    Eh. can’t say I’d really care. It’s only GT5. :)

    Towards Aaron’s point, though, I almost think that Sony hopes it doesn’t sell consoles. I mean, they STILL lose money on every unit they sell (or did as of mid last year), so they bank on titles.

    Now, this year is a good year for Sony exclusives. LBP2, Uncharted 3, and a bunch of others give them a good line up of one-console titles.

    But the fact remains that, for multi-platform titles, the 360 sells more, sometimes double the count. And if there is a serious multiplayer aspect? Forget it.

    I’m not going to get into PSN vs LIVE, because I frankly have never seen them as one-to-one competitors.

    Nintendo has – to this point – won this round, but towards the end of the year, Wii sales started to drop by a good margin, while 360 sales started to pick up. Assuming that we get some good games for Kinect (which I have, and kinda like, despite myself), I think it could be pretty big for them (Steel Battalion will be mine, oh yes it will be mine).

    MS might have taken sh*t for RRoDs, but they got a lot of goodwill when they extended the warranty to 3 years.

    You could do a lot worse than picking up a new Slim and a couple of games. For all it’s faults, I really like Gears of War, and Xbox still gets a lot of timed exclusive content.

    You ever come over to the dark side, you let me know. We’ll do some MW multi or something.

    And the new consoles are to the platform what Win7 is to their line of OS’s – What they should have released the first time (fun fact, Win7 is mostly the OS they shelves when they decided to do Vista, and thus it actually works).

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  30. Nobody steals our chicks

    …and lives

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  31. But I think bluntly the ps3 is losing this round so far.

    It depends. It’s making a lot of money. It is not outperforming the competition. If the goal was PS2 dominance, yes, they are losing (though I suspect that the PS3 will sell closer to 100 million consoles than some initially thought).

    And the Xbox 360 is a huge success, especially compared to the initial Xbox.

    I think MS showed a lot of intelligence when they compared the original Xbox to the PS2. They tailored the 360 to the PS2’s model (IMO), adding on their online ideas. It was cheaper, took a year less time to bring to market, and has a lot of good games.

    I honestly think there simply weren’t any losers for this generation. Except the PSP.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  32. But the fact remains that, for multi-platform titles, the 360 sells more, sometimes double the count. And if there is a serious multiplayer aspect? Forget it.

    That’s true. And that’s where the money is.

    Oh well. I think Sony learned a lot of tough lessons this round.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  33. Dustin

    > I honestly think there simply weren’t any losers for this generation. Except the PSP.

    *puts down my psp*

    Hey!

    Actually, i think you mean in terms of sales. and you would be right unfortunately. they didn’t get that most of the hand held gamers didn’t want anything deep or serious. and they didn’t get that most serious gamers wanted a second motherfraking analog stick!

    seriously, one second analogue nub and that system would have rocked.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  34. Towards Aaron’s point, though, I almost think that Sony hopes it doesn’t sell consoles. I mean, they STILL lose money on every unit they sell (or did as of mid last year), so they bank on titles.

    that isn’t how it works. Sunk costs don’t increase with every PS3 they sell, the decrease. It’s not like the more PS3s were sold, the more money was lost, but rather the opposite.

    I think a lot people have drastically misunderstood this concept. At any rate, Sony has been turning over quarterly profits from the PS3 division for quite a while, and unless they are lying, they do make profit from the hardware on its own, not counting the profit from the blu-ray and game licenses.

    In fact, Sony’s been reporting PS3 profits since 2008. I also note MS has sunk billions into their entire Xbox project. Not sure how that math adds up, but I’m guessing they have eventually started making money.

    At any rate, I don’t get the profits, so I just care about the games. The 360 has presented a great argument on this front, but I’m just too loyal to a few IPs that are Sony exclusive. which I admit kinda defeats my resentment about exclusivity.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  35. seriously, one second analogue nub and that system would have rocked.

    Yep.

    I’m also not very enthusiastic about the PSP prototypes I see with two touchpads, instead of sticks.

    Sony may have gotten arrogant about their PS2’s success, and simply made a series of bad calls. I have to say, though, that the PS3 is this conglom of functionality that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. It’s a wonderful device.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  36. Actually, i think you mean in terms of sales. and you would be right unfortunately. they didn’t get that most of the hand held gamers didn’t want anything deep or serious. and they didn’t get that most serious gamers wanted a second motherfraking analog stick!

    If we’re looking at units sold, the DS in all it’s incarnations will never be beaten. Something like 135+ MILLION units sold world-wide…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  37. I got one word for you guys – solofex

    EricPWJohnson (8a4ca7)

  38. I mean soloflex

    EricPWJohnson (8a4ca7)

  39. I mean soloflex

    Comment by EricPWJohnson

    LOL.

    Actually, the one thing I really, really wish I had on PS3, that the 360 has, is that Kinect+Yourself Fitness (I can’t recall the actual name, but it’s Ubisoft’s successor to Yourself Fitness).

    I had the Eyetoy for PS2, and Kinetic, which I think is a concept Microsoft has really improved on (kinda transparently copying, but I don’t care, since it seems to be good).

    Fitness is one of the ways this generation of consoles is a success. My PS3 has all my P90X DVDs ripped to it (it’s so much easier than hunting for the right disc), but I crave interactivity.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  40. Dustin, you don’t get it… It costs more to make a PS3 than they were selling them for.

    When I say “lose money for every unit sold”, I’m not talking about the R&D costs, man.

    And this was up until at LEAST September (got to chat with some of the guys from Sony out front of my PAX hotel while having a cigarette and while they did not confirm the losses per unit, they did not correct me in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM). Things may have changed, but I don’t think so.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  41. Also, Dustin, the PS3 division doesn’t separate out hardware from any other revenue for the system, I don’t believe. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have been lumping the PS3 in with their Entertainment division just so those profits could help hold up the PS3.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  42. they might be, Scott, but at any rate, I think they have specifically been saying the PS3 hardware alone is profitable for some time.

    I don’t want to fight it out, though. This kind of thing has embarrassed me in the past, to be perfectly honest, and I just like my personal experience with it. Were I responsible for the PS3’s profitability, I would be firing some people.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  43. Hey, as long as you have fun gaming, that’s what matters.

    Besides, we all know Xbox is the House that Halo build. :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)


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