Duke Nukem's fate in question? 'Come get some.'
In a former life, I was lucky enough to make video games (actually, SmugMug is a happy accident based on what was a video game company – but that’s another story for another time). And the way I got into making video games was by hosting Duke Nukem 3D’s internet launch on my servers. It went so well, I did the same thing for Quake a few months later. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, my old friends at 3DRealms are under fire. Duke Nukem Forever has taken an awfully long time to make (9 years at least), and Shacknews has a rather breathless article on the loss of some talent on the game. Now, Shacknews is my absolute favorite gaming site, and I love the addition of Chris Remo to the staff there – but come on people!
Every game developer I know loses people constantly – and on much shorter titles than Duke Nukem. We lost plenty of people making SiN, and that was a 2 year project, not 9. Losing people from time to time on a project this long is going to happen – people get bored, burnt out, want to do something new, etc. Big deal – it wasn’t the entire team that left.
I’m sure 3DRealms misses some of these people. Knowing some of the ones who left personally, they certainly lost some very talented people – but Duke’s fate isn’t in question. Even mentioning a phrase like that is ridiculous and silly. They’ll continue with the rest of the team (a game like Duke doesn’t get made with 7 people) and hire replacements as necessary. My understanding is that they didn’t all leave en-masse anyway.
Anyone can see that 3DRealms is doing fine financially (look at all the console Duke titles over the years, the Max Payne franchise, and now Prey) and they’re gonna take their time. Remember all the whining and moaning about Half-Life 2? How’d that turn out?
One of my biggest regrets (and I know I speak for lots of the other SiN team members here, too, some of whom are on the list of those who left 3DRealms) is that we didn’t have the money and time to make SiN truly great. We were forced by market pressures to ship the game before it was done – and as a result, we had an average title that had clear glimpses of greatness. Imagining what life would have been like if we could have polished it like Valve and 3DRealms get to do is a fantasy – but a beautiful one.
True game fans should stop whining about Duke and instead laud developers like id, Blizzard, Valve, and 3DRealms for taking the time to do their games right and ship them when they’re done. The wait can be worth it – just look at HL2 and WoW.