Randy Pitchford Talks Hard-Fought Road To ‘Duke Nukem Forever’

By | 6 years ago 

Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox Software is shedding a little light on the massive development history of Duke Nukem Forever. After more than a decade, the game is finally hitting shelves and fans of the cigar smokin’, ass kickin’, babe savin’ paradigm of badassery and devastation could not be more excited.

Pitchford admits that he is one such person, and that for him, Duke Nukem Forever isn’t just one of 2011’s most highly anticipated titles,it’s a glorious return to not only Duke’s roots – especially for fans who have followed the series on prior Sony consoles.

Speaking with the Official PlayStation Blog, Pitchford discusses his long and decorated career in the gaming world – and how it all began with Duke:

“Long before Gearbox was founded, long before we developed our games for Half-Life, long before we created new brands including Brothers in Arms and Borderlands, it was working with Duke Nukem at 3D Realms (with Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel) that launched my professional career as a game maker.”

When Duke Nukem Forever looked like it was going to be lost in development hell forever, Pitchford and Gearbox stepped-in to carry the torch for the last leg of the race. The game series is legendary, and Forever has established its own mythos as well. Along with the lengthy string of delays came a correspondingly large number of rumors and conspiracy theories. After so long, Pitchford believes that Duke Nukem Forever deserves to be played by as many people as possible (though, what game designer doesn’t?).

Gearbox understood what had to be done, and according to Pitchford, that especially meant bringing Duke to the PS3:

“We had to bring Duke Nukem Forever to PlayStation 3. We had to. There was simply no other choice, especially since Duke has had more adventures on the original PlayStation — Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes — than any other console.”

Considering the Duke legacy, working on Forever was different from starting from scratch, and according to Pitchford, playing the 3D Realms build pointed him and the team in the right direction. The team had a deep love for the character and the prior titles in the series, and even though the job would be difficult, Gearbox felt obligated to finish the legendary un-finishable game. The group definitely had motivation – all but one of the original team members who worked on the 2001 Duke Nukem Forever trailer have joined Gearbox (or at least remained part of the Forever project). Of course, the game is huge, and Randy Pitchford reminds us that it isn’t just Gearbox and 3D Realms we have to thank for getting Duke Nukem Forever out the door.

“Triptych Games, a studio created by former 3D Realms employees after they were let go, were the ones that carried the torch and kept the game going in those dark months after the story broke that Duke Nukem Forever was dead. Among their numbers is Allen Blum, one of the original creators of Duke Nukem and the only person to have never left Duke’s side in the 20 years since. Allen Blum and Todd Replogle created the original Duke Nukem side-scrolling game in 1991. Today, Allen with the rest of the intrepid team at Triptych have been the most dedicated driving force behind the vision and direction that they first established with the rest of the team they worked with at 3D Realms.”

Duke Nukem Forever Babes Trailer

Piranha Games also helped finish-up work on Forever – who took “point on building out the multiplayer game as well as preparing the game for PS3.” That said, Pitchford estimates that 3D Realms alone has invested 3,500 to 4,500 man-months into development of the game, and that Gearbox will have put in another 2,500 by the time it releases. The Gearbox exec put the size of the game in perspective by mentioning that Borderlands utilized 3,500 to 4,500 man-months.

If you’re still unconvinced about Duke Nukem Forever, Pitchford has one final pitch:

“It’s about being the biggest badass known to mankind and taking down bosses the size of buildings all the while quipping one-liners. It’s about the gratification that comes from overcoming thinking challenges and even solving in-game context appropriate puzzles – actual puzzles, not just blindly running forward like we do with other games that often times can just play themselves. It’s about keeping the experience going for more than five or six hours and creating something that feels EPIC. It’s about exploring, finding all the hidden items and gags, and discovering what you can and can’t do. It’s about kicking ass and taking names. And that’s something we will all get to try for yourself soon enough.”

Duke Nukem Forever hits shelves on June 14th in North America.

Source: PlayStation Blog