I have been very tight lipped about the Duke Nukem Forever situation. I have been for a decade. When speaking of the project I have only ever defended the guys at 3D Realms. Making a game can’t possibly be an easy undertaking, especially a game established in success, steeped in expectation and absolutely festooned with the hopes and dreams of thousands of loyal fans.
My only real expectation has been that they release a good game that they have packed full of a love of the franchise and dripping with Duke Nukem goodness. Just as Duke Nukem 3D was the obvious evolution of the Duke Nukem platformers, so too should DNF be the obvious evolution of D3D.
At every engine change or design reboot or announcement that it was just a few months away those associates of mine who had already given up the ghost, their collective DNF will depleted, would chatter like the Skeksis at feast about the turgid state of the development process, its distention fueling rage. Through torrents of complaint and bitter resentment I held my tongue and kept my foot in 3D Realms’s corner.
That is until today.
Today I read an *interview at Gamasutra with Van Lierop, 3D Realms’s new creative director; new as in not there when they started DNF. In this interview Lierop lets us in on a few items that some might read as basic industry brik-a-brak and general interview backwash. He brushes away, as expected, the extended timelines and mistakes made by the DNF devs and moves on to bigger and more exciting announcements. It is this point that rankles me.
Why the hell are we talking about anything but DNF? Lierop lets us in on a few super secret but totally amazing announcements that are going to be made between now and 8 months from now with the caveat that none of these announcements are about DNF. These are supposed to get me all excited about new 3D Realms product but, honestly, all I come away with was the fact that DNF is sure as hell not going gold in the next 8 months.
This sort of thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that 3D Realms isn’t Duke Nukem Inc., and has a right to produce whatever the hell else they want to produce (Prey??), but let’s face two major inescapable facts:
1. 3D Realms might as well be Duke Nukem Inc. for all anyone actually gives a damn.
2.You might think your interview is being read because we’re interested in your neat little side projects, Van, but we really only want to hear even the slightest mention of DNF; our concern for your other interests can be measured in pico-givashits.
The more I think about this particular interview the more I realize that this sort of thing doesn’t just leave a bad taste in my mouth, but actually slaps it out just after putting it in there. Don’t tell me how great everything is going and that you’ve got all of these cool announcements to make about shit that doesn’t have to do with what I’ve been defending and you’ve been cluster-jacking for the last 10 years. The striking level of apathy toward the few of us that still believe DNF has a chance of being something amazing is staggering.
I’ll still buy it on launch day, though. Fancy that.