In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term and his face was plastered on the walls of the FBI building in FOX's hit paranormal TV show, The X-Files. NASA's Pathfinder space probe landed on the surface of Mars, Steve Jobs returned to Apple Computer, and James Cameron's Titanic crashed through the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time. Both Deep Space Nine and Voyager were still on TV. Friends was in its fourth season in Prime Time and IRC was the place for online chatting before the ICQ instant messenger service took its place.
1997 was also the year 3D Realms began working on a game that would be immortalized in the entertainment industry simply based on the drama surrounding its unusually lengthy development schedule: Duke Nukem Forever. Now 14 years later, our favorite shows and movies are on DVD and that new thing called Blue-ray. Both ICQ and IRC are still around but seemingly replaced by Facebook and Twitter. 3D Realms' notorious first-person shooter – now in the hands of Gearbox Software – has finally – dare we say it? – officially gone gold. As Duke would say, holy sh*t!
"Duke Nukem Forever and its journey to store shelves is legendary," said George Broussard, creative director at 3D Realms. "It's an epic tale of four game development studios that banded together and did the unthinkable and shipped the unshippable. When you play this game, you will be reminded of that epic journey at every turn and in every small detail of the game. The character, attitude, interactivity, gameplay and political incorrectness combine to make a Duke Nukem game a unique gaming experience. In the timeless words of Duke Nukem it's finally time to 'Come Get Some'. Come be a part of gaming history."
The game was considered dead when 3D Realms closed its doors and went into a legal dispute with 2K Games back in 2009. But the publisher – intent on earning back its investment – opened the Duke Nukem Forever vault and allowed Triptych Studios to piece the game together "to create an incredible, epic and cohesive gameplay experience." The project was headed by Gearbox Studios and also included the efforts of Piranha Games and many other contributors.
"Always bet on Duke, I did," said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software. "I bet on all of the developers who have ever been a part of this legendary project and I bet that none of us want to live in a world without the Duke. I've played the final game and it is an incredible experience - a once-in-a-lifetime opus of interactive entertainment that reminds me once again why Duke Nukem is our King. The developers of Duke Nukem Forever at 3D Realms, Triptych, Piranha and finally at Gearbox deserve our thanks and respect for never giving up and have truly shown us that they have balls of steel!"
According to 2K Games, the pre-release demo is still set to land in gamers' hands on June 3, 2011 – this demo will be an unfortunate exclusive to First Access Club members. Fans can still join the club by purchasing Borderlands Game of the Year Edition on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, or by pre-ordering Duke Nukem Forever from select retailers nationwide. The actual full game is slated to hit store shelves on June 14, 2011 here in the States and June 10, 2011 nationwide (go figure).
Guess this means hell has frozen over, pigs can now fly, and doomsday has been averted. Question now is: what game can we bash as vaporware now?