For those still recovering from Gearbox’s shock announcement this week, I urge you to take a deep breath and brace yourselves. That’s right, it has just been announced that the Texas-based studio have purchased the full property rights to the Duke Nukem franchise from the now-defunct 3D Realms. Duke’s alive baby, and he’s back to kick some ass and chew a rather substantial amount of Wrigley’s Orbit.
Not only does this give the much-acclaimed developer full control of the IP, but it also gives them the opportunity to make good ol’ Dukey relevant again. The game has been in development hell for countless years, with the ever-notorious 3D Realms constantly changing every aspect of the gameplay in an attempt to reach an unprecendented level of perfection.
But alas, such a feat could never be accomplished. Due to a lack of funding, 3D Realms were forced to cease production on May 8th 2008, effectively sealing the fate of the game and the franchise as a whole – numerous screenshots and animations were leaked soon after, but hope to revive such a dated IP seemed unlikely.
Until now! Initial previews of the game have been glowing, suggesting that Duke’s new sandbox ethic gives the series a much-needed facelift, including a vast open world to explore, a wide array of veichles and a plethora of artillery at your disposal.
Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford is clearly excited regarding the company’s latest business proposition. He states ”the Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need.” He also promises that ‘‘Gearbox will bring the right level of addictively compelling gameplay, humor and high powered explosive action to the franchise. Duke Nukem is back and will be bigger than ever.”
Gamers rejoice! Duke Nukem is officially back with a vengeance! With Gearbox at the helm, it can be said that the series is in safe hands, especially when considering the quality of the criminally underrated Borderlands. The game is set to be released some time in 2011. Until then, watch this space.