When Duke Nukem Forever finally came out, it left many fans disappointed about the gameplay. We waited for more than fifteen years for the game. From 1996 to 2011 it was stuck in development, and for good reason. The developers changed the engine a couple of times, since they were not satisfied with what they got. Maybe things would have gone better if they developed their own engine rather than buying one.
Then there was the pressure from the publisher, which is never good. Ideally, developers should be independent, and not need a publisher to release and distribute their game.
The first Duke Nukem game was awesome and ground breaking in several ways. While allowing the player to interact with the environment in new ways, it still maintained a dynamic game play, with interesting levels, cool music and sound effects.
Duke Nukem Forever had potential and did good in some ways, but in the end, it failed to live up to the expectations of many of its fans, myself included, and I am now wondering if we will ever see a Dukem Nukem Forever 2.
Duke Nukem Forever 2
As I see it, there is definitely the possibility that we are going to see a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D and Duke Nukem Forever. But before getting your hopes high, you should be aware that the rights to the Duke Nukem brand now belongs to Gearbox Software, which sadly might also mean, that we will not see the 3D Realms logo on a possible future game.
This situation just feels wrong. Yes. 3D Realms also did some pretty bad spin-off games on Duke Nukem. What most of us want to see, is really another full-blown pioneering 3D first-person shooter. Not a silly platformer (Manhattan Project), or boring games for mobile.
Strength of the Duke Nukem and 3D Realms brand
Surely, there must still be a lot of strength in Duke Nukem and 3D Realms as brands, and because of this, it would be unlikely that there is never going to be another Duke Nukem game. DN It is much like an action hero type on the same level as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in the Terminator and Rambo series. Comparing games with movies might not work well in reality, but I know I have more fun playing games than watching movies, and Duke Nukem is still very popular.
If we will ever see a Duke Nukem Forever 2, then I hope we will also see the 3D Realms logo on it. Not that I think it will matter much for the gameplay. However, Apogee and 3D Realms are both logos I remember from my childhood. Seeing an Apogee logo in a game was something I associated with fun, and the same was true for 3D Realms (though maybe not in the same way).
I think, when they decided to change their name, and maybe around the time they released the first Duke Nukem game, it might also have been around this time that games started to become less fun. We saw less fundamental breakthroughs, and it became more about graphics, less about gameplay, level design and story.
The only other title I remember doing something new, in a big way, is Grand Theft Auto. I actually disliked it when they released the first real 3D version of GTA, but subsequent games were fairly fun to play. Sadly, some of them missed some great features from old games, like robbing a store (Vice City) and buying property (San Andreas). I think that was a mistake. Players expect most features to carry over into new games of the series.
I think, maybe the CEO of gearbox realizes some of this. At least he seem to have nailed it with some of the comments he made in this YouTube video:
There has to be something from a design point of view, and story is obviously not everything. But, if you have both, you have something that will at least appeal to more people. Level design in DNF was very poor. I personally liked the graphics, but many of the levels were boring, and it felt like you were forced through the game.
Now, it is a long time since I played the game. But the elements I remember the most was actually the parts where Duke would interact with something in the environment, like picking up a turd from the toilet and saying “this disgusting!”. The humor was clearly there, with the character. But, I really missed more of an open-world, and maybe some better level design.