Gearbox Boss Says Duke Nukem Will Return (Eventually)
Duke Nukem Forever was a fucking travesty. After 14 years in development – in which time it was announced and unannounced for a plethora of different consoles – the once 3D Realms owned IP finally saw new life in 2011 once Texan dev and industry darling Gearbox Software acquired the franchise.
But too many cooks cluttering the kitchen, dated code, and archaic design turned the high-profile Duke into the butt of a joke no one found remotely funny (or very playable). It wasn’t a stretch to figure that Duke was dead after that very loud misfire.
Gearbox’s CEO and face man, Randy Pitchford, says that’s not all to the story, though. “I did not acquire the franchise merely so we could all experience Duke Nukem Forever,” said Pitchford to a Develop Conference crowd today. “That was the toll to pay to give Duke a chance.”
Randy went on to reveal that Gearbox has actually tooled around with concepts for what’s to be a brand new Duke Nukem entry. Stickler is, Gearbox is too busy to dive into development themselves. Between the upcoming Battleborn, a promising merger of FPS and MOBA of all things, and sparking the fire that’s to become the third Borderlands, revisiting Mr. Nukem would be spreading the studio thin.
“I think the faster way is that a correct developer can become interested and we can work with them,” said Pitchford. “I think it’s a challenging problem. But, I’ll tell you one thing. When it does happen, there’s no doubt that the whole industry will turn its head and look.“
He’s talking about a similar working relationship to the one that brought Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to life, in which 2K Australia took over devin’ while Gearbox oversaw the project (unfortunately, the Down Under developer was shuttered a few months back, putting them out of the running for new Duke).
Randy seems excited to give Duke a proper revitalization, even acknowledging DNF was far from that, but, uh, should Duke come back? Duke Nukem is a byproduct of an era where action heroes gnawed on cigars while pumping seemingly endless rounds of machine-gun fire into their one-dimensional foes before spitting out a quip so hammy you could hear it ‘oink.’
As the years go by, Duke’s name holds less and less weight, and the virtual disaster that was Duke Nukem Forever all but killed any shred of fondness fans had for the franchise. Not saying there can’t be a great new Duke Nukem game. Right minds, right time kinda thing. But, goddamn, how likely is that to happen again?