Never Say Never: Duke Nukem Forever's long, disappointing journey

It's been a long, arduous 14 years since the aptly-named Duke Nukem Forever was first announced, but congratulations, we've made it! After nearly a decade and a half in the development cycle, Gearbox Studios finally released the game last week... and it was totally not worth the wait. Actually, the consensus is that the game feels unfinished, it's dated, and that it should have stayed in the fiery pit of Vaporware hell where it languished for longer than the Beatles' entire career.

So, let this be a lesson to all you game developers with indefinite releases out there (ahem, Valve) that keeping your goodies in the oven for too long may result in a product burnt black with outdatedness and the disappointment of your fans. 

Although Duke Nukem Forever didn't turn out so well, you can't deny that the Great White Duke has had a fascinating journey. Many promises were made and laments expressed since 1997 -- by fans, game creators, and critics alike. Rather than give you a timeline, I'll let the people surrounding the Duke Nukem Forever process speak for themselves. Here are some quotes from the past 14 years that highlight what a crazy ride it has been:

It all begins in the year 1997: "Duke Nukem Forever will be released in early 1998." -- 3D Realms

June 1998: "The game should not be significantly delayed." -- Project leader George Broussard announcing the game's switch to using Unreal Engine

June 2001: "Duke Nukem Forever's been a long time coming, but it looks like the wait will be worth it." -- on the game's showing at E3 2011

June 2003: "Take Two needs to STFU imo... we'd find a new publisher so easily it isn't even funny." -- Broussard in response to publisher Take Two's announced plans to take a $5.5 million write-down on his company's earnings due to the game's "extended development time."

May 2009: "And so the saga finally comes to a close: 3D Realms, developer of infamous vapourware sequel Duke Nukem Forever, has closed its doors." -- article on 3D Realms' shutting down development of the game

September 2010: "All great things take time ... a lot of time ... After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever." -- Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K, after announcing that Gearbox Software will revive development of the game with publisher 2K Games

June 2011: Behold, the game is on shelves! What do people have to say about it?

"It's a muddled, hypocritical exercise in irritation" --'s review of Duke Nukem Forever

"Britney Spears' entire musical career as a pop star has taken place during Duke Nukem Forever's development." --

"Seeing Duke Nukem Forever on shelves is like looking at a zombie that refuses to die - even with both legs blown off, a severed arm, and multiple shotgun shells through the chest." -- Yahoo! News

"Your game is sexist. Against men." -- our own Maddy Myers in a previous blog post on the game

"We are reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom. Bad scores are fine. Venom filled reviews... that's completely different." -- Jim Redner, who does PR for the game, in a threatening response to negative reviews of the game

"Be jealous, be very jealous. I know I am." -- A blogger expressing his sentiments on slash000, a very patient gamer who preordered Duke Nukem Forever 10 years ago and held onto his receipt until the game's release. Gearbox showered him with Duke-related gifts to show their appreciation.

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