Gearbox Software owner Randy Pitchford has announced his desire to bring a new Duke Nukem game to life. The company that owns the intellectual property right to the hyper-masculine series has presented concepts for a follow-up to Duke Nukem Forever, the critically-panned 2011 edition. However, he stated that they will need the support of another studio to bring this game to reality:
“I did not acquire the franchise merely so people could experience Duke Nukem Forever. That was, sort of, the toll to pay to give Duke Nukem a chance at a future.
So yes. In fact, we’ve done some concept development. The challenge is that Gearbox is very busy. A faster way would be if the correct developer would become interested and we’d work with them.”
It is fair to say their last effort is certainly worth replacing with a more polished, sophisticated game. Forever was not met with a warm reception due to its outdated jokes, outrageously offensive settings, and clunky controls. This made it even more disappointing due to the hype surrounding its development after being stuck in limbo for over a decade before it ever made its way to shelves.
The Duke Nukem character was designed with a crass sense of humor and an overt masculinity which has endeared him to fans of the series. However, due to the protracted design of Forever and some bizarre narrative choices in the script, his latest incarnation resembled more of a misogynistic pyschopath than the machismo action hero of past installments. Pitchford continued to analyze those problems, but was postive regarding the attention it received.
“I think that’s it’s a challenging problem, but there’s no doubt that, when it does happen, the entire industry will turn its head. Getting attention in this industry is one of the hardest things to do.
That’s probably one of the biggest problems Forever had – for 10 years it was promised as the greatest game that would ever be made. It was legendary in its vapourware status. So it had a particular pole of attention.”
There would certainly be a market for the reemergence of the arrogant, firearm-wielding playboy.
In spite of its numerous flaws that revulsed the critics, Duke Nukem Forever was a success financially, developing a profit for its publisher Take-Two. But don’t be surprised if other developers are hesitant to forge a collaboration with Gearbox based on their recent catalog of games.
Whilst they are behind the immensley successful Borderlands series and Brothers in Arms, they have endured their fair share of turkeys. Their past cooperation with Timegate Studios resulted in the hugely disappointing Aliens: Colonial Marines. They were accused of giving false numbers of those working on the game due to their commitments to Borderlands and Duke Nukem Forever.
In May 2013, Timegate filed for bankruptcy amid the critical and commercial failure of the game, and shortly after shutdown altogether.
Hopefully, Gearbox is able to recover this series famed for its tongue-in-cheek comedy and outlandish protagonist. It’s time to confine the failures of Forever to the past and return to the edgy roots that made its initial games fan favorites. Duke is worthy of one more adventure, and with luck will be ripping enemies to shreds with his quips and fists again soon.