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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Duke Nukem For Never 565

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-god-sort-'em-out dept.
PLSQL Guy writes "Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms is shutting down, according to Shacknews. They cite 'a reliable source close to the company,' who said the developer is finished and employees have already been let go. It looks like all of the Duke Nukem Forever jokes are turning into reality; DNF might turn out to be the ultimate vaporware after all." 3D Realms' webmaster, Joe Siegler, confirmed the closing, saying that he didn't know about it even a day beforehand. Apogee and Deep Silver, who are working on a different set of Duke Nukem games (referred to as the Duke Nukem Trilogy) say they are not affected by the problems at 3D Realms.
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Duke Nukem For Never

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  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idaho (12907) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:46AM (#27856583)

    DNF is now the gold-standard for vapor-ware. How much money did they spend, I wonder, producing nothing?

    With such an acronym as the abbreviated name of the game, who could have expected anything less, to be honest? Maybe it was just a practical joke all along!

  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phoenix321 (734987) * on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:00AM (#27856657)

    Competent managers are not required to have a product out the door in, what?, 15 years? Other companies without real managers do that in three. Example: iD Software managed several of these feats, making quality games, having some kind of time and money estimate beforehand and then actually finishing something.

    When a product like this takes *umpteen* years without any kind of progress or even a measly status report, you have incompetent managers, incompetent programmers, insufficient funding, incompetent financers, inadequate workplace or ideas distant from reality. 3D Realms probably had all of it and more.

    Unfortunately, badly managed companies go bankrupt. Fortunately, they're not wasting anyone's resources, money and time anymore.

    But it's much much worse when badly managed companies cannot go bankrupt under any circumstances, being deemed "too big to fail" or having some other kind of socialist protection.

  • by rice-dawg (878189) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:21AM (#27856789)
    Loved Duke 3D back in the day, but I was 15 when I last played it and 16 when Duke Nukem Forever was announced. My computer back then was a Pentium 166 with 16 megs of RAM and a 3dfx Voodoo Banshee card. And now, I'm 28, typing this on a multi-gigaherz, multi-core, multi-gigabyte, multi-monitor setup. My, how times have changed.

    For a couple years I eagerly awaited DN4, but after that, enough is enough. I gave up the ghost, earned a college degree, started a career, and next thing I know, I'm almost 30. I literally have not thought once about DN4 in years until I saw this headline.

    What a shocker. Not.

    Does 3DRealms still deserve headline space? They haven't done anything innovative in years. Their management is curt, snarky, and drunk with hubris. If anyone dares to post something anti-3DR on their forums, the thread gets locked, Siegler and/or Broussard gets the last word, and the user gets banned. But that's cool. It's their forums, they can do whatever they want, and apparently they only allow sycophants.

    "When it's done," they say. "The game will revolutionize interactivity," they say. "We don't need any money, we're 100% self-funded, and can afford it indefinitely because we are rock star developers and can sell ice to eskimos," they say. Oops.

    How many engine changes did DN4 go through? How much work was wasted in redesigning all the levels over and over again? And most importantly, how much money could DN4 have made if they simply instilled a little more discipline than "when it's done" into their culture? Management has to be stunningly demented to squander such a valuable franchise, and instead be content with trickling out old Duke Nukem ports and re-makes. If I were a developer at 3DR, I would be seriously pissed at having busted my ass all these years without ever seeing a dime of royalty that could've been seven figures, and instead am now laid off and have to look for another job in this craptacular economy.

    Memo to 3DRealms: thanks for the good times back in the day, but good riddance to your arrogance, your lack of respect towards the industry, and your vaporware promises. You will not be missed.
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:29AM (#27856841)

    Competition or not, if you can't produce a product, you've already lost.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:43AM (#27856919)

    DNF is now the gold-standard for vapor-ware. How much money did they spend, I wonder, producing nothing?

    Whatever it was, just way, way too much. It will (or has long already?) become the prime example for developers why one should eventually just product out the door. Like a chef repeatedly fiddling with his concoction too much, the built up anticipation of changed recipes and of just the endless waiting meant the game just would have never lived up to the hype. Ever.

    Years ago, the best they could have done was scrap the project in name without announcing it, and use whatever art and code they had as the foundation for another (officially unrelated) Duke Nukem Game while promising DNF would come out later. Once it was out for a while, just announce pulling the plug. It made the DaiKatana team seem to be on top of their game.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @05:09AM (#27857045)

    Or maybe the reason for the shutdown is that they couldn't deliver a product after at least 11 years of development.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ciderVisor (1318765) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @05:36AM (#27857191)

    "Doonf" ? I don't get it.

  • Re:good gnus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @06:38AM (#27857479) Journal
    Unfortunately, HURD follows the same development methodology as DNF. They had it booting and running X11 / GNOME a few years back, then they decided to ditch Mach and switch to L4. Then they decided to switch to Coyotos instead. Then they decided to write their own game engine, uh, microkernel, from scratch.
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:05AM (#27857611) Homepage
    Treating your employees decently is not what killed 3DR. Let's not pretend that they were some nice group of nice guys that just can't make it in this era.

    It was poor management that ruined them. Whether a company treats employees well or not poor management can kill a company.
  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:13AM (#27857649)
    Thing is, back when it first appeared, DNF wasn't "THE Duke title of all time", it was just another FPS with Duke in it. The delays led to it growing an absurd image as something amazing, not the other way around.
  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moranar (632206) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:34AM (#27857747) Homepage Journal

    Ahem, actually, there might be a fine line between 'respecting employees and being cool' and 'taking eleven year to finish a program'.

    Sorry, no, it's a line the size of a road.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:45AM (#27857811)
    The Metal Gear Solid franchise was also launched and completed in that timespan, consisting of four "blockbuster" large-budget projects, four handheld titles, two mobile phone games, and five remakes/expansion packs.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @07:57AM (#27857889) Homepage

    Until one day, you come in to work to be told that the company doesn't even exist any more?

    And from what I read online, the turnover on staff was quite high during most of that time, and essentially they spent their time re-doing things they've already done. I can't imagine a worse job to be honest. Being employed to do the same thing that your friend did yesterday, knowing that it'll never finish. I would imagine anyone with half a brain got out of there a long time ago, which is probably part of the problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:02AM (#27857923)

    Pass the Cheetos, you unwashed tub of duck shit.

  • by Mordaximus (566304) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:12AM (#27857967)

    I read "This is a story I wrote on..." to mean it was fiction. Do you honestly believe that if these people really behaved as described, that Charlie would post the entire story with his and everyone else's names intact?

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alen (225700) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:24AM (#27858057)

    i hear blizzard is a good place to work at and their games make a ton of money to keep it a nice place to work.

    i read this years ago when the game industry first started growing from lone dev in the garage days.

    in hollywood when they make a movie, they first write a script and draw storyboards and whatever. so by filming everything is planned out and everyone knows what to do.

    in the game industry a lot of dev houses would start to make a game and change too many things midway and waste time starting all over again.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:34AM (#27858145)
    Until you go to an interview for your next job.

    Interviewer: "So what have you been doing for the last 15 years?"

    Applicant: "I've been working on Duke Nukem Forever!"

    Interviewer: "Get the fuck out..."
  • Re:About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:48AM (#27858271)
    Source isn't really outdated. The original one in HL2 isn't hugely fancy but it's pretty decent even now. The modern version of Source in HL2:Ep2 and L4D is pretty great looking, with dynamic lights and soft shadows, all that fancy stuff.

    And as someone else said, the engine is so much better at rendering people than everything else that it makes up for any other shortcomings it may have. Even in Crysis people still have those stupid dough-heads and rubber mouths that don't even lip-sync properly. And Fallout 3 was just comedic in that regard.
  • by bashibazouk (582054) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @09:35AM (#27858847) Journal

    Rockstar is part of take-two. If any development house could handle this project, not destroy the theme and put out a polished, good game it would be rockstar...

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @09:53AM (#27859101) Journal

    Not to mention they had some properties that would have been trivial to make money with, if they had only bothered to do it. They could have had cash coming in from porting the old Duke and Shadow Warrior games to things like the iPhone and other mobile devices, and would have been really hard to take the Quake 3 or latest Unreal engine and make another Shadow Warrior? I don't think so. And it would have probably sold like mad just from us old greybeards wanting to hear "Who wants some Wang?" as we blasted bad guys again.

    So while it is a shame to see another of the old timers die, honestly who didn't see it coming? They had plenty of great properties but could never seem to capitalize on them. So now the question is, what happens to their old games like Shadow Warrior and Duke? Is there a chance that someone out there that can actually release products on time will buy them? That would be the best course IMHO. The Duke and Shadow Warrior names could still sell if given to someone who kept the anti PC attitude and simply updated the games for today's systems. So RIP 3DRealms, you guys really should have been making some smaller games if you wanted to keep wasting time on DNF.

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Applekid (993327) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @10:28AM (#27859657)

    Not to mention they had some properties that would have been trivial to make money with, if they had only bothered to do it.

    Not quite, 3D Realms whored out the IP over and over and over again and let it get whored out all during the so-called DNF development time. For Duke alone there were rehashes of the game or horrible variants or Plain-Jane-out-and-out ports for Saturn, Playstation, Game Boy Color, N64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Dreamcast, 360... porting over to iPhones and even more devices wouldn't really have made much more of a difference financially.

    Simply put, they simply put too many development eggs in the DNF basket, didn't crack the whip and demand progress and instead took the arrogant "when it's done" approach and got called out on the bluff. If the economy didn't take a downturn they'd probably still keep developing for the next dozen years.

  • by irinotecan (1118569) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @10:32AM (#27859741) Homepage
    My take is slightly different: I believe they were afraid to fail. Given what little we do know about the endless delays -- that they switched the basic engine from Quake II to Unreal to Unreal Tournament to Quake III to one being built solely in-house, and had to restart level work every time, I believe that this was driven by the fear that the game would be a failure. Duke 3D was a smash it. It put them on the map. And they promised to themselves and their fans that DNF would be even better. So, they couldn't stand the thought of it possibly being a flop; it had to be a #1 bestseller, and every game reviewer had to be able to rant and rave at how much more amazing it was over D3D or any other FPS for that matter. And every year that passed, and every time they got more and more ridiculed at its "vaporware" status, it hardened their resolve that the game must not be a failure, or even mediocre, under any circumstance whatsoever. And that mentality paralyzed them, and caused them to essentially re-write and re-write the game, until the weight of it all finally caused them to collapse
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @11:11AM (#27860459) Journal

    Honestly, it probably did grow "larger than life" over the years, with so many people fondly remembering it (but not having really considered how far the 3D shooter genre has come since then either).

    I'd agree that it was "no Quake", but it wasn't supposed to be. Part of what made the game really good, IMHO, was the humor and lightheartedness to it - while still keeping the player focused on having "serious" missions and goals.

    A lot of action arcade games are "silly" or "cute", and that has an audience and a purpose. Others try to be as serious and realistic as possible, and that's got merit too. But it's relatively rare you get a game like Duke Nukem, where the character's random comments and gestures keep you laughing, while creating a fondness for the character himself. Yet at the same time, the game still appeals to the typical male's "violent side". You still get to blow things up and kill all sorts of aliens, and especially on multi-player mode, you had real strategies to employ. (I think it was the first of its type to make use of explosives you could drop and trigger remotely afterwards.)

    At the end of the day though, how much do we "fondly remember" the main character in Quake, or even the space marine in Doom, compared to "The Duke"?

  • Re:RIP DNF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3dr (169908) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @11:16AM (#27860579)

    It's not very usable as a real system, but it's definitely not vaporware.

    LOL. I'm not sure this distinction is all that great. After all, people develop software to use it. After 15 years (whatever) of development, a reasonable expectation is that the system would be usable for something other than just rebooting.

    After all, I have Windows for that task.

  • Re:About time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @12:27PM (#27861837)

    Not only that but Duke 3d had better network play at the time. It was very playable via Modem (which friends and I did all the time) as well as network play. Something Quake failed pretty bad at until Quakeworld was released. It was also just more fun to play Duke with friends than Quake. For us, quake was much more serious. (and not everyone is a fan of all rocket launchers all the time) yes, quake was good and remains good, infact overall better. But at that time, It was duke.

  • Acronym hell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @08:36PM (#27870637)

    DNF Did Not Finish (racing)
    DNF Digital National Framework (UK)
    DNF Did Not Find
    DNF Do Not Forget
    DNF .NET Framework (Microsoft)
    DNF Does Not Follow (mathematical proofs)
    DNF Do Not Forward
    DNF Deschutes National Forest (Oregon)
    DNF Do Not Freeze (USAP)
    DNF Does Not Function
    DNF Domain Name Forum
    DNF Do Not Fax
    DNF Data Not Found
    DNF Do Not Fix (software bug)
    DNF Defense Nuclear Facilities
    DNF Deep Neck Flexor
    DNF Disjunctive/Disjoint Normal Form
    DNF Down 'n Floundering (racing)
    DNF Second Disjunctive Normal Form
    DNF Duke Nukem Fornever

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