Gearbox Software's 'Duke Nukem Forever' Unveiled at PAX

Duke Nukem

I'm not gonna lie; I feel old writing this article. While the name Duke Nukem may be a distant memory to a lot of people reading this, the words mean so much more to myself, and countless others. For those who remember the man like I do, he has lived on in my memory as an embodiment of everything my parents didn't want me to do, see, or hear. And after 14 years, he's back.The oft-rumored, highly-anticipated, Duke Nukem Forever from Gearbox has been unveiled at PAX.Fans have demanded a true sequel to the masterpiece that was Duke Nukem 3D, and while we did receive Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project in the meantime, it wasn't the next episode in the raunchy, rude, and gory series that we were waiting for.Rumors have circled for years that Duke's next vehicle was "being developed" but the majority of fans had given up hope, quietly moving on - no longer able to hold their breath.

Duke Nukem 3D

Now, Duke Nukem fans can come up for air, because Gearbox Software, makers of the critically-acclaimed FPS Borderlands, have made our dreams come true: Duke Nukem Forever is coming in 2011 - and before and nay-sayers rise up and claim we're crying wolf yet again, Gearbox has proof.

To the surprise of many, 2K Games and Gearbox Software unveiled the title Friday at PAX but they didn't just show offer a video of the upcoming release, they gave players hands-on time with the game. Check out 2K's own livestream of the event for the full video.

Gearbox Software's President Randy Pitchford spoke to the crowd about the upcoming game, and had a difficult time concealing how happy he was to finally be discussing the release. Pitchford placed emphasis on the amount of people that have been working to make the game a reality, and how important the property was to everyone involved.

"The truth was we had to get everybody together, and we had to get all the guys; Take Two who wants this game, who wanted it so bad, who believes in it. The guys at 3D Realms, who put their hearts and souls and the love and the money and their time for years and years not letting the dream die. We had to get all these guys together.

"We wanted to bring this game in a big way, on all the platforms: The Xbox 360, the PlayStation3, and the PC. We wanted to deliver the game that it's supposed to be, taking all the great work that those guys have done over the years and putting things together with the game that we all wish we had.

"We're in the polishing stages right now, and it's coming in 2011."

Oh, and in case you were worried that they've stripped Duke of the adult humor that made him a favorite of young boys everywhere:

Duke Nukem Screencap 4

When 3D Realms, Pitchford's former studio ran into financial trouble in 2009, it seemed that all hopes of Duke Nukem Forever seeing the light of day were gone, but thanks to Gearbox, 2K, and Take Two Interactive, we're finally getting it. Coming off of the success of Borderlands both critically and financially, Gearbox has shown that not only is it capable of producing a great FPS, but is committed to supporting games with regular DLC - a reassuring thought for Duke Nukem fans who've had to wait so long.

Now to the game itself: While there aren't any videos of extensive gameplay online yet (give that a few days) there is the aforementioned livestream video, which captures a good deal of the title.

Stylistically, it looks a lot like Borderlands. Well, Borderlands mixed with a bit of Gears of War's grit and grime. I don't think anyone who played the post-apocalyptic shooter won't immediately recognize the rocky, desert landscape, littered with broken down buildings, and hardware. But I, like many other dug the visual style of Borderlands, and it seems like a hyper-real enough environment for Duke to fit in - and not stick out like a cartoon.

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The other section of the gameplay is what really interest me. You start the section facing a urinal (Duke's style already) and make your way through what appears to be an NFL stadium locker room. Armed military are everywhere, and fans of Duke Nukem 3D will notice that the battle that follows is a continuation of that game's final battle, taking on the massive Cycloid Emperor from the picture up above. The combat looks to be in-line with Gears style run-and-gun, but with the insane weaponry that is a trademark of the Nukem franchise.

I'll be honest, until hearing about this, Duke Nukem Forever was one of my least anticipated games, if it ever was going to be released at all. I had long given up hope for a great title, and had figured that Duke would probably get made, but would be terrible when it did. Hopefully we'll have some hands-on experience to talk to you about soon, but for now screenshots will have to do. After seeing the gameplay and hearing the team talk about it, I'm definitely ready to give Duke a shot. How about you folks; jaded or elated?

Apparently, we'll find out if it was worth the wait when Duke Nukem Forever is released in 2011 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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