"Yes it seems that 3D Realms have been doing something other than giving each other piggyback rides for the last 10 years. In a stroke all the anticipation we haven't felt since 1998 returned like a tazer gun to the base of the spine. I just hope that 3D Realms understands that if this game doesn't turn out to be history's greatest contribution to human culture and the cure for at least one type of cancer, then I and every other reviewer on earth are going to saw its bollocks off."(For the actual Game-page, go here)
Development HistoryJust as numerous game developers named the third installment of a popular series "3D" back in The Nineties, 3DRealms decided to extend the trope to Duke Nukem's fourth game by titling it Duke Nukem Forever ("4-Ever"). 3D Realms probably didn't anticipate how the other potential meaning might come into play — because when they said Forever, they meant it. DNF became the prime example of Vaporware by way of Development Hell; numerous industry pundits thought of DNF as the videogame equivalent of Chinese Democracy (the sessions for the album started in 1994 and the album itself finally dropped in November 2008; actual Chinese democracy, sadly, still sits in Development Hell) or the infamous The Last Dangerous Visions anthology (originally announced in 1973; Harlan Ellison still insists he intends to get the book out). Wired News gave the game a Vaporware Lifetime Achievement Award for its continued delays; as DNF kept winning Vaporware awards too often, Wired created the award specifically for DNF. When readers complained about this move, DNF returned the following year to win more awards. To grasp the scale of DNF's development cycle, take a look at The Duke Nukem Forever list; this page — last updated in 2009 — lists off major events that happened between the announcement of the game and the page's last update. Las Vegas probably laid odds on which would happen first: the release of DNF or the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series (pretty much the only thing that didn't happen during DNF's development cycle; those poor, poor Cubs). 3D Realms released numerous trailers and teasers throughout development, including a trailer in 2001 that featured footage tailored together from non-interactive cutscenes (according to a former 3D Realms developer) as a "proof of life". The company released another teaser trailer in 2007 alongside the release of Prey (3D Realms' other vaporware title), which suggested that Forever's development might have finally gotten somewhere. George Broussard showed off another video of gameplay footage during his late-May/early-June 2009 appearance on The Jace Hall Show. Gamers remained jaded after seeing it, however, since DNF never seemed to break out of alpha stages (as 3D Realms would often restart from scratch when it didn't find itself satisfied with the results). Several from-scratch restarts did happen during 3D Realms' development of the game; Wired detailed the history of the people who designed, developed, and ultimately failed the project. To make a long story short (too late), George Broussard's perfectionism led to endless revision of DNF to avoid flaws in the final product, regardless of the budget or any lingering deadlines. A few months after the 2009 trailer premiered, Take Two pulled the plug on 3D Realms' funding and released the development team; since Take Two retained the rights to the Duke Nukem name, it sued 3D Realms for damages (the lawsuit ended in a settlement). A countersuit filed by 3D Realms suggests it had Forever slated for a 2010 release on PC and Xbox 360 (and later announced for PlayStation 3) — and that it had another Duke Nukem-related game in the works (under the working title of Duke Begins). This would normally mark the end of the story — the publisher fired the development team, the game has become an industry-wide joke, and no gamer alive expects to see the game released — but everyone should have remembered one simple fact: always bet on Duke. After 3D Realms' development ended, Gearbox Software (the makers of Borderlands, Brothers in Arms, and Half-Life expansion packs Opposing Force and Blue Shift) picked up the scraps and finally wrapped up development on the game. Gearbox's first involvement with the franchise came from early development work on Duke Begins before its cancellation — and Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford himself once worked at 3D Realms employee (even he probably didn't think he would complete the game 3D Realms started just after he left them). At PAX 2010, DNF made a surprise appearance with a playable demo, which marked the first time any member of the general public ever managed to play a version of the game during its ridiculously long development cycle. After a fourteen year wait (and a minor hiccup at the end of development before going gold), Take Two released Duke Nukem Forever on June 10th (internationally) and June 14th (the United States) — to a tepid critical reception. The game sold well enough for Gearbox to say Duke Nukem 5 will come out sooner or later, however — and this time, they'll try and make the gap between sequels a bit less than sixteen years. As a final note: the famous preorder receipt from 2001◊ belonged to a Penny Arcade forumite by the name of "slash000" — and he kept it safe throughout the years◊. Videogame retailer GameStop told gamers that it would honor any legitimate preorder receipt for the game (even decade-old receipts), so slash000 managed to secure his preorder discount — and he snagged a bunch of swag from Gearbox, to boot.
Duke Nukem Forever's development contains examples of the following tropes: