The Duke Nukem franchise has been a big part of gaming ever since its PC gaming roots. While there’s no denying that it has faltered of late, such is the fate of many franchises that find themselves in development hell. With the misstep of Duke Nukem Forever in the past, there’s nowhere to go but up. Now, with the reveal of a countdown that sports a distinctly Duke flair, it looks like gaming’s badass could be staging a comeback in Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

For interested gamers who click over to the curiously-titled All Out Of Gum website, they will notice a countdown ticking down to some sort of reveal in approximately 22 days (at the time of this writing). Those familiar with the character of Duke Nukem will not only recognize the domain name as part of his signature catch phrase, but also the fact that the brand of gum fills in the second half of the famous quote.

What’s more, is that some sort of unintelligible alien script can also be found on the site. Miraculously, a poster on the Duke4 forums managed to translate the script which not only sheds some light on the possible game’s plot, but also some other key release details.

Duke Nukem Countdown Translation

Judging by the poster’s translation of the alien script, fans can expect the game, titled Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, to hit PC and PS4, powered by the Unreal engine. Unlike the much-maligned Duke Nukem ForeverMass Destruction will drop players into a “top-down action role-playing game” which would represent quite the departure from Duke’s past offerings. Could this be the change that the series needs to move forward?

Whether this is the game that Gearbox had planned to announce or something different entirely, a new direction for Mr. Nukem could be the best way to get the franchise back on its feet. The story this time around doesn’t seem to deviate too much from the established formula with Duke having to save the president from an alien threat, but a compelling plot has never been the point behind the Duke Nukem series. Why not though? According to Frederik Schreiber, developer Interceptor Entertainment’s CEO:

“I’m also personally tired of Pigcops, Turd Jokes, and a Goofy Duke Nukem. I would love to see a Duke Nukem game, taken in a completely new direction. A way more serious and “Badass” Duke, with an epic plot. Something that really brings back Duke as an Action Hero.”

“That reminds me of how tired I am of strippers, babes etc. in Duke Nukem games, which only degrades Duke’s intelligence even more (there is nothing wrong with Duke Liking strippers and babes, but it shouldn’t be the main plot of a game). Give us a Duke game without strippers, a great sinister villain than can break Duke (Think Bane from DK:Rising), a slightly older, and way more badass/gritty Duke, and a galactic plotline that can be taken seriously, and I’m Sold!”

Since the game will see the inclusion of RPG elements like experience points and tech-trees, who’s to say that Duke can’t mature a little bit this time around? In lieu of prostitutes and flatulence jokes, it would be interesting to see his badass side shine through in a story that manages to find a balance between cheesy one-liners and an epic space adventure. What worked back on DOS may not have the same traction now. Seeing another side of the iconic ’90s badass could be the revitalization that the franchise needs.

Are you ready to see Duke Nukem portrayed in a different light? Do you think he will find better footing in an RPG than in an FPS?

Sources: All Out Of Gum, NeoGAF, Duke4