All in all, this year had very little vapor (I know, I know, but that wasn’t vapor). In honor of this year of solidity, Wired wrote a nice article about Duke Nukem Forever, one of the vaporest of vaporgames. The article discusses how success, not failure, doomed the game to oblivion. It’s hard to understand how great this game was when it came out.
Sales were explosive. The game was addictively fun and crammed with racy humor, including strippers you could tip (at which point they’d flash their pixelated boobs) and mutant pigs dressed in LAPD-like uniforms. Critics went fairly mad with praise. In most games, the world was static, but Duke Nukem players could interact with objects — they could get Duke to play pool or admire himself in a mirror (”Damn, I’m looking good!” he’d say). The title sold about 3.5 million copies, making Miller and Broussard straightforwardly wealthy.
In the end, after going through two engines and efforts to render more complex strippers, the game fell into spiral of improvements. This spiral, in the end, is what killed it. Not content to release just any game, they never ever released a game.