One of the longest game development cycles ever is meant to come to an end next year when Duke Nukem Forever is eventually released. The game has been tweaked and tinkered with for the better part of 13 years, finally leaving originators 3D Realms to be finished by Gearbox Interactive. Unlike other continuously delayed games, George Broussard, who metaphorically gave birth to Duke, claims such an almighty set back wasn’t down to an unachievable quest for perfection but rather a number of issues.
Speaking with Maximum PC (via Eurogamer), Broussard stated how he wished that something more dramatic was the cause but instead: “It was just never ready. We had lots of development issues along the way. It wasn’t a quest for perfection as some silly article in Wired implied last year. I think what hurt us the most was licensing engines and trying to change them too much. S*** happens and after delays the options are to continue or kill the game. I never wanted to kill the game. We got things turned around dramatically in 2007-2009, with a lot of new hires, and most of the game as it exists today was created in that timeframe.”
So there you have it. Not so much a quest for perfection but the desire to change engines was Duke’s worst enemy. And now Gearbox are committed to a 2011 release which will either be one of gamings greatest achievements or worst failures. Much of the discussion to do with Duke Nukem Forever is whether or not the game, and indeed the character, is still relevant after so many years of the industries evolution. Broussard is adamant that it is: “Duke offers contrast and something very unique and different from the cookie cutter, cardboard, generic game heroes that don’t have an ounce of personality. It’s ok to not like Duke or think him juvenile, but at least he’s not boring and vanilla. Most people play games to escape and enjoy a fantasy for a while.”
True, Duke does have quite a unique personality but one that began as a parody of early 90s pop culture. Would a significant amount of consumers ‘get it’ and if they did, would they care? I was one of those who thought that Duke Nukem Forever would be amazing, back when I was 16, but now have more of a morbid curiosity as to how the game will eventually play like and just how ‘extreme’ Duke as a person has become.