- Banned in China: The game itself wasn't banned in the UK, but they had to change the cover art due to it being illegal to publicly depict smoking in the country. As a result, Duke's cigar was deleted, and his expression changed to a vaguely annoyed look.
- Creator Killer: The game's early production problems didn't kill Broussard's career, but once the development reached the infamous "When It's Done" stage, that comment signaled that Broussard's run as a game designer was going to end badly. Sure enough, his mishandling of the project and the long development time drained out all of 3D Realm's resources and bankrupted them (they likely would have needed to release the game no later than 2003 to avoid this).
- Development Hell/Vaporware: To put it in perspective, everything on this list took less time to make than this. It's finally over.
- Among other things, the complete development of nuclear weapons was shorter!
- Fanwork Ban: To some extent. 2K Games' policy of forbidding the inclusion of modding tools made gamemodding difficult.
- Franchise Killer: Duke Nukem Forever going through one of the most infamous examples of Development Hell in entertainment history more or less put a handicap on the game right away when it finally was given the green light to stores, and the flaws that came out in spite of the "Perfectionist" attempts led to not much being said about Duke after the game was wrapped and Gearbox moved on.
- Executive Meddling/Prima Donna Director: George Broussard was infamous at 3D Realms for being a heavy-handed perfectionist. Wanting to keep his beloved Duke as perfect and up-to-date as possible, he went on a decade-long self-appointed quest to apply everything he found interesting into the game, to the point of buying the licenses for entire game engines to force his employees to work around them. The constant delays (which got so bad that circa 2003 the developer changed the release date to "When It's Done" drove publisher and parent company Take-Two Interactive nuts, and they had to resort to threatening lawsuits to get Broussard's team to speed up, following through with the threats in 2007. 3D Realms was dissolved in 2009 and development rights were passed on by Take-Two to Gearbox Software the following year in hopes that the game would actually get out the door. The 14-year long mess nuked Broussard's career.
- Fan Nickname: Duke Nukem For Never.
- Gearbox To The Rescue/Un-Cancelled: Randy Pitchford (and Gearbox as a whole) deserves a Nobel for going to the rescue of a game which was destined to die.
Randy: "Duke can never die, man."
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: BEHOLD!◊ The Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition! Comes with a bust of Duke himself, an artbook with art through the ages, a limited edition comic book, and other such novelties! All for the heart attack-causingly low price of $99.99! If you live in the US and are near a Gamestop or have access to Amazon, that is. No actual Balls of Steel included, though.
- No Export for You: Zig-Zagging Trope: the Russian version of the game is a separate Steam entity. Meaning: it is locked out of Steam's usual language-selection options, as well as any patches and DLC, because the localization company and 2K Games cannot agree on whose responsibility it is to adapt them for the locked-down Russian-only release. All the appropriate access and unlock codes are provided, but they are simply not compatible with the Russian version.
- Promoted Fanboy: Randy Pitchford, who worked on Duke Nukem 3D as a junior developer, states he was (and is) Duke Nukem's biggest fan, and made sure that 3D Realms' game wouldn't die.
- Relationship Voice Actor: The Holsom twins are voiced in the Japanese dub by Eri Kitamura and Yuko Goto, aka Alleyne and Menace and Sayaka Miki and Junko Kaname. Miso and Chastity are voiced by Izumi Kitta and Sora Tokui, aka Cordelia and Nero and Applejack and Rainbow Dash in Japanese.
- Role Reprisal: Jon St. John reprises, once again, his long-standing role as The Duke himself.
- Talking to Himself: Near the beginning of the game Duke gets into a brief argument with an obnoxious tourist sitting on his throne. The obnoxious tourist is also played by Jon St. John, apparently. It seems the guy has a pretty impressive vocal range.
- Troubled Production: 12 years in which the engine was changed, money was spent, insults were thrown, and eventually 3D Realms went bankrupt (taking George Broussard's reputation along with it). The game still managed to come out after Gearbox took over.
- Schedule Slip: The epitome of this for video games.
- What Could Have Been:
- Forever started as a sidescrolling platform game based on the engine of Alien Rampage and the sprites of Duke Nukem 3D. Said project was scrapped, and the title was used to the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. An unrelated sidescrolling shooter titled Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, based on the Prism3D engine, was relesed in 2002.
- Start with the fact that the game we got only ever got finished because many of the levels were shortened, merged, or just cut out and work from there.
- Many of the characters, weapons and setpieces seen in the early trailers were not used for the final version. An Action Girl Distaff Counterpart of Duke (Bombshell) and a character named "The Prospector" were both absent from the final game (and were likely cut long before Gearbox got their hands on the game).
- There were also plans to introduce a mirror universe "NegaDuke".
- Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation was asked to write the script at one point. Most of the development team absolutely loved his outcast, but George Broussard was more skeptical and kept asking "Would Duke really do/say this?", and eventually it was turned down. According to Yahtzee it portrayed Duke as an ironic character and made fun of everyone around him, as he believed it would be the best way to reintroduce Duke Nukem to a modern audience. It got scrapped in favor of "Duke played straight in a silly world" that we see now. Yahtzee was given a chance to revise the script to go with this tone, but he declined because that didn't make any sense to him.
Trivia / Duke Nukem Forever
This game has a page about its (in)famous development.