I have never seen so many words used to described the goings-on of a near-dead video game developer and its near-dead video game. Only, maybe, nothing is dead at all?! I’m talking about, of course, 3D Realms and Duke Nukem Forever. The big news: apparently 3D Realms/Apogee Ltd. is still working on DNF, but just barely, and is also working on another Duke Nukem game, to be published by Take-Two. Quick, let’s go back in time to 1997 when we would have cared!
Now, that’s unfair to the guys working, and who have been working for 11 years, on the game, but come on. At this point, Duke represents just another crew-cutted, trash-talking FPS cliché. His gimmick may have be fun in 1997, but now? I don’t know.
Anyway, here’s what’s going on. As you know, 3D Realms fired a whole lot of people a few weeks ago. (The studio itself wasn’t shut down, as was initially rumored, but so many people were let go that its work was greatly hampered.) We now know that’s because it was in negotiations with Take-Two for additional funding, around $6 million. Take-Two initially agreed to provide $5 million, some of which would go toward the development of an Xbox 30 port as well as a multiplayer mode, but then cut that number in half, to $2.5 million. That’s what caused the job cuts at 3D Realms, the loss of all that funding.
Now there’s word that, somewhere in these labyrinthine agreements, Take-Two secured the rights to a new Duke Nukem game called Duke Nukem Begins—now there’s a self-referential game title! Apparently it’s being developed by a “well-known video game developer.”
Let’s recap: 3D Realms is still around, but just barely; Duke Nukem Forever is still in development, but just barely; a new Duke Nukem game, Duke Nukem Begins is being developed by someone; and, most importantly, who the heck cares at this point?