Duke Nukem For-Never: 3D Realms Closes

Those of us who have been waiting over the past decade for another dose of the Duke will not want to hear this: 3D Realms has been shut down due to lack of funding.

3D Realms, formerly Apogee, is most famous for the development of the Duke Nukem games, but has also published and/or produced many hits including Max Payne and Wolfenstein 3D.

Shacknews broke the story citing insiders close to the development of Duke Nukem Forever, and their post was later updated to reflect that the new Apogee will not be affected. So what does this mean for us? Likely, it means that Duke Nukem Forever will be put on hold indefinitely as Take Two will no longer be funding or publishing the game.

This is, I’m sure, not the way you wanted to see Duke Nukem go out. Even though the game has been mired by start-overs, engine changes, funding issues and numerous delays causing development to drag out for more than a decade, many fans hoped to see a finished product. But is this revelation really all that surprising?

Developing one game for over a decade is not, as Joystiq put it, a great strategy. A surefire way for a development team to cause themselves headaches and sunk costs is to change the specifications of their project partway through. 3D Realms changed the underlying engine multiple times – from the Quake 2 engine, to the Unreal engine to something completely custom written.

After missing promised deadlines multiple times, many in the gaming scene began to lose hope – and it’s somewhere in this time frame where I lost hope too. Duke Nukem Forever has to be the most infamous piece of vaporware ever. It’s the sequel to what many consider one of the best first person shooters ever, and it will not be coming out any time soon unless 3D Realms puts out the source code.

A source code release isn’t likely – Take Two still owns the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever. Who knows, maybe they will find a developer to reboot the long dead franchise.

Here’s to 3D Realms and the original Duke Nukem games. Perhaps one day we will play a game called Duke Nukem Forever – but it will never be the one 3D Realms forged for so long. And that is truly a shame.