After 14 years of development hell, the perpetually delayed shooter Duke Nukem Forever is finished and off to the manufacturing plant, developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K Games said Tuesday.
Barring any catastrophes or a world-ending rapture, Duke Nukem will make his long-awaited return June 14 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. A demo will be made available June 3, but only for customers who preorder the game, which marks the return of the profanely funny tough guy character after more than a decade in limbo.
First announced in 1997, Duke Nukem Forever became the videogame industry’s longest-running joke, a boondoggle of a project that encountered endless delays and won yearly Vaporware Awards from Wired.com. Although the project seemed dead for good when creator 3D Realms laid off the bulk of its staff in 2009, Gearbox soon took over and announced it would release the game in 2011.
Though it was a shock to nobody when Gearbox and 2K delayed Duke Nukem Forever again this March, the once-king of all vaporware would now appear to be on the verge of relinquishing his crown. (Should this happen, we nominate Final Fantasy Versus XIII, announced five years ago at E3 2006 and still not available, as the successor to the throne — unless you can think of a game with a longer development cycle. Remember, L.A. Noire finally came out.)
Rest assured that this isn’t some big practical joke. We’ve played Duke Nukem Forever. The game actually exists. And barring 2K Games breaking into the manufacturing plant and destroying all the discs, it’s really going to come out.