First and foremost, obligatory download link.
Duke Nukem Forever is quite possibly regarded to the most iconic video game in regards of “development hell”, originally announced back in 1997 as the sequel to the previous years Duke Nukem 3D, Apogee or rather 3D Realms endured possibly the most accursed development of a video game to date.
With Duke Nukem Forever slated for release in late 1998, it was initially going to made using the then outdated Build engine, the same as Duke Nukem 3D’s, but plans soon changed into using the Quake II engine which was highlighted from the game’s E3 presentation in 1998.
Following its E3 presentation, 3D Realms announced yet another shift in which game engine Duke Nukem Forever would be utilizing, as they’d now be developing the game on the brand new Unreal Engine (((🖕))).
At this point the development of Duke Nukem Forever unraveled, after three subsequent changes in foundation this obviously had a toll as 3D Realms kept pushing launch dates back, time after time again.
However it eventually culminated with yet another E3 teaser in 2001, and this is what would remain of the original Duke Nukem Forever as subsequent delays combined with infighting would lead to the games demise, until Duke Nukem’s corpse was seemingly dug up only to be bastardized by Gearbox.
The culmination of Gearbox’s catastrophic misdeeds, with not only Aliens but Duke Nukem as well may had lead to the end of the biggest blonde badass as a whole, but what undoubtedly came to be of Duke Nukem Forever is no longer the end point of a game that has suffered endless delays strived from bad decisions and development turmoil.
An anonymous gentlemen on “4chan” had leaked photos and videos of a long since shelved developmental build of Duke Nukem Forever from 2001, which is now entirely playable.
You’d expect, from an old build from over twenty years ago that it would be obviously unfinished, but also riddled with bugs. While the leaked build itself is unpolished in areas and contains bugs among instability, it’s actually a rather polished piece in its current form.
A lot of the leaked build is entirely playable as well as featuring all the aspects seen from the E3 2001 trailer.
What’s actually remarkable about this particular build from Duke Nukem Forever are the technological advancements that are present that certainly predate similar features in other games by countless years, such as glass physics and touch pad elements.
Since the long forgotten build had resurfaced it has already sparked controversy between former Apogee / 3D Realms co-owners, Scott Miller and George Broussard.
Scott Miller published a blog post titled “THE TRUTH ABOUT DNF“
The post explains Scott’s own interpretation as to how Duke Nukem Forever had killed 3D Realms, citing how they were always understaffed during development… from such a tiny studio to begin with, constant pressure to push for more and more innovation and design changes.
Because of the slow development and bad decision making, new technological advancements such as game engines became available more better suited to push more technological firsts, naturally switching out one engine for another….. on two separate occasions is going to cause developmental woes and cause massive delays.
While George Broussard goes on full attack, obviously not taking the news of the old 2001 build being leaked well, George felt somewhat targeted from Scott’s blog post, taking to Twitter to chime in that it was Scott’s own actions that lead to the demise of DNF and 3D Realms as a whole.