Friday, January 21, 2011

Hell Freezes Over and the Dead Walk?

The Return of the Duke

After 12 years of proverbial development hell, Duke Nukem Forever is finally being released. On May 3rd, players will be able to experience the game that redefined the term vaporware.

The Duke Nukem series began in 1991 as a side-scrolling shooter. Several follow-ups and iterations were released until its last appearance in 1996 as a first-person shooter, titled Duke Nukem 3D. Then developer, 3D Realms, promised a sequel to be released within the next few years, titled Duke Nukem Forever. However, several unsubstantial release dates came and went. 3D Realms later said in 2001 that the game would be released when it was done, denying to announce any more possible release dates.

The next few years plagued development as the game went through several engine changes, from the Quake 2 engine, to the Unreal engine, to the Doom 3 engine. Rumors of videos and blurred screenshots were the most that anyone saw regarding progress on the game.

Then in 2009, Take-Two, the game’s publisher, filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms over the failure to finish Duke Nukem Forever, saying they paid $12 million to Infogrames in 2000 to acquire publishing rights. The suit was later settled, but it clarified that despite 3D Realms downsizing its staff and laying off the game’s team, development on the game was still continuing.

This development consisted of nine ex-employees who worked on the game from their homes. They eventually formed Triptych Games, which shared offices in the same building as Gearbox Software. Gearbox CEO, Randy Pitchford, who worked on an expansion to Duke Nukem 3D and very briefly in the beginning development of Duke Nukem Forever, was approached by 3D Realms, asking if Gearbox would help Triptych in polishing the PC version of the game.

On September 3, 2010, at the Penny Arcade Expo, Pitchford officially re-announced the game, citing that Gearbox bought the Duke Nuke IP and that 2K Games held exclusive long-term publishing rights of the game.

So after 12 years, the game is finally coming out, but do people still care? People fall into two different categories. Either they are older and grown past the adolescent gameplay of Duke Nukem 3D, or are too young to play Duke Nukem 3D and therefore have no connection with the franchise or character. I guess after such a long development time, people are interested to see how the game plays. However, those with hand-on time say that it plays like a late 90’s or early 2000’s game but with 2010 graphics.

Check out the game’s release trailer below. Duke Nukem Forever will be available on May 3rd, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

When Hell is Full, the Dead Will Walk the Earth

Telltale Games, the developer of the Sam & Max episodic adventure series, Tales of Monkey Island, Puzzle Agent, the recently released Back to the Future game, and the soon to come Jurassic Park game, sent a press invite out announcing that it would reveal five new multiplatform projects at an event next month. From the picture, it seems the event’s main focus will be on their Jurassic Park game.

However, according to the press invite, one of the projects is, “based on a just-launched property from the TV and comic book world whose popularity is changing life as some know it. 1Up is guessing that the project in question will be based off The Walking Dead franchise. While this could very well be possible, there are other properties that could very well be adapted for a game. It remains to be seen if 1Up is right and The Walking Dead is adapted for a game, but if so, would it be based on the televisions series or the comics? More information will be known next month at the event.

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