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Jeremy Jastrzab
11 May, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever Preview

360 Preview | Return of the King. Seriously.
While many are probably still pinching themselves in disbelief over that Duke Nukem Forever is actually getting a release, we can verify with absolute certainty, that it is definitely getting a release. Definitely. Randy Pitchford, CEO and President of Gearbox Software told us so. Following a lengthy presentation, where he told us the story of how Gearbox ended up with the Duke in the first place, we got to have a quick chat to him on his recent Sydney visit about some of the multiplayer additions to the game. But first, a little bit about the single player game.

Unfortunately, PALGN missed the boat with the single player preview, but some of the aspects that Randy spoke about it made for exciting listening. It started off with an anecdote about how Gearbox, which had an office “down the road” from 3D Realms, were investigating the fall of their friends and rivals, as well as the “death of the King”, from the perspective of an ambulance. Rather than watching an accident helplessly from the sidewalk, they had the tools and equipment to bring the Duke back to life. Just as they were completing Borderlands, an opportunity at making history fell into their hands.

It’s easy for us to sit back and claim that 3D Realms (with whom Randy begun his development career) had been completely lackadaisical about developing the game, which lead to the stupidly long development cycle. Randy spoke about how surprised he was to find in the 3D Realms vision for Duke Nukem Forever a lot of the various elements in the game and how they broke through a lot of the modern development templates and patterns. He further went on to say how surprised he was to find that Duke Nukem Forever has the length, the variety and the density of “two or three Call of Duty titles”.

Needs more Duke...

Needs more Duke...
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As many have seen through the trailers, Duke Nukem Forever won’t be lacking in irreverence and self-awareness. Randy mentioned that in spite of this, the game still managed to be “intelligent” in its designs and that 3D Realms ought to get credit for creating a game that changes its pace well. So rather than just playing to the key mechanics of twitch-based shooting, he mentioned that the gameplay design is as much focused on the pacing, as it is the element of making sure when you shoot the trigger you hit the enemies. It sounds like a return to older design sensibilities, where you’ll be encouraged to do some exploring and some thinking to get through.

However, the focus of this session was to provide information and a hands-on with the multiplayer. And Randy was gracious enough to give us the lowdown. While Duke Nukem isn’t the first game that comes to mind when you hark back earlier multiplayer shooter experiences, Randy agreed with this but qualified that it’s easy to forget because it’s been so long since the last Duke experience and that so much has advanced since then, such as high-speed internet. Overall, he expressed the desire to bring the days of Duke Nukem 3D gameplay into the modern era.

Jetpacks, I see?

Jetpacks, I see?
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The way you actually play multiplayer hasn’t really been changed too much, and Gearbox has stuck to what they do well. However, all the multiplayer aspects have been given the Duke treatment. ‘Dukematch’ is Deathmatch, ‘All Hail the King’ is King of the Hill, ‘Capture the Babe’ is Capture the Flag. While he was unwilling to tell us too much about the “new” weapons in the multiplayer, Randy spoke very enthusiastically about the humiliation of being stomped to death after being shrunken, or the comical value in placing some pipe bombs covertly under a security camera, then setting them off while you’re on the other side of the map in the security room watching on a screen. Furthermore, players will have a number of options for customising their games as they like.

Something that we touched on, was whether Gearbox was going for an experience-based (read: grinding) approach as seen in something like Call of Duty or a more accessible ‘jump in and play’ experience. Randy explained that they definitely wanted the latter, since most of the ‘competitive’ shooters have the tendency to end up being only be accessible to the ‘elite’ players, and did so with the concept of a “meta-game”. He clarified that the challenges that you pass and experience that you earn are all part of an overriding goal to collect all of Duke’s individual paraphernalia. As such, there are apparently a tonne of options for creating your own Duke, which include a cowboy hat, star sunglass, ducky shirt for your online avatar, yet you will “still look bad-arse”. Finally, Randy was keen to point out that all this content, as well as “more than just four or six maps” will all be available on disc.

HoloDuke will still beat you.

HoloDuke will still beat you.
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Having actually got to spend some time in the multiplayer as well, from a mechanical perspective it can be told that it handles pretty much like most other Gearbox shooters. This is actually pretty good, as most of them handle great. Capture the Babe was the order of the day, and it was amusing to be holding a flag that ‘moves’ and that needs to be… umm… ‘disciplined’ when they’re getting in your way… Yep, this is Duke alright. The map on show wasn’t really conducive for some of the strategies and play styles that Randy spoke about, but hopefully the final game will show off the true potential. Mind you, there was something refreshing about playing without perks, grinding and other fluffy modern multiplayer additions…

Yes, believe it. Duke Nukem Forever exists, and it will be released. Who’d have thought? And when Randy Pitchford says it’s going to be awesome, he certainly makes a compelling case. A lot of the aspects he spoke of in regards to pacing, length and variety in the single player were quite exciting. And the multiplayer looks to seamlessly carry over the irreverence of the Duke, while being run by the unparalleled mechanical fidelity of Gearbox shooters. Now at the risk of speaking too soon, you can all start looking forward to the June release. Bet that’s something you didn’t think was possible…
Overall:
Aside from the confirmation that it exists, a substantial single player and accessible multiplayer are the drivers for Duke Nukem Forever. Which looks like it might actually get released now...

Related Duke Nukem Forever Content

Duke Nukem Forever Review
11 Jun, 2011 Oh Duke, how you've aged...
Duke Nukem Forever 'Shrinkage' trailer
06 May, 2011 Shrinkage? No innuendo intended.
7 Comments
2 years ago
I got to play a 20 minute demo of the single player mode at Supanova Melbourne, and any doubt that I had about this game not being as good as the hype were tossed to the wayside.

While I read a lot of video game websites that post news and trailers for DNF content and trailers, it's hard to miss the amount of negative comments complaining about how the textures and quality makes it "look like a PS2 game".

Let me say first and foremost that this game IS the Duke Nukem Forever everyone has been waiting for. I congratulate what Gearbox has done to revive this project, there's no doubt that in my mind that Gearbox did some serious thinking about how that would tackle an IP like this. Do you make another Duke Nukem 3D-like game with up-to-date graphics, or do you get an up-to-date FPS and give it Duke Nukem 3D-like graphics. Whilst it might sound like it's the same question, but realistically it's like asking: do you want a slice of cheese between two slices of bread, or do you want a slice of bread between two slices of cheese?

I've seen the demos and the trailers, and none of them actually do justice to the graphics of Duke Nukem Forever, so don't judge the game based on the trailers. The fact of the matter is is that Duke Nukem Forever is a lot of fun, if I were to compare it's engine to any other FPS on the market, I'd draw it closer to Halo 3/Reach, but you don't feel like you're playing another Halo game, you feel like you're playing Duke Nukem, and that's what struck me the most when I played this game.

As for the "dated" graphics, I can kind of see where people are coming from, but I don't think it's as bad as people seem to say. The graphics don't look dated, it just looks like old graphics mixed with modern renderers. And to be honest, playing Duke Nukem games in my childhood, this does more in terms of nostalgia than in does in terms of cheapness. But that isn't to say you should avoid the big pixels heading your way, this game looks absolutely stunning and phenominal when played on a high-definition TV. The character modelling and scenery are absolutely fantastic, the slightly "cartoonish" nature of explosions and weapon-fire only compliments the nature of Duke's humour.

As for gameplay, this game sets itself apart from any other FPS so far (maybe Brink will change this), but this game doesn't feel like the kind of FPS you would duck and hide as you slowly pick off the bad guys one at a time, this is the game that is so action-packed, you can't help but kick down a door, guns blazing, shoot every bad guy in sight and chew some bubblegum while your health regenerates. Alternatively, you could hide behind something and pick off the bad guys one at a time, but you might need to pause the game once in a while to go change your tampon.

I should foreword by saying that dispite this game being in the making for 14 years, it's not a revolutionary game that will change how we think about FPS games. It does however feel like it's a game that has had a lot of love and care put into it to make it the best game a Duke Nukem game could possibly be, and it most definitely shows.

For all those naysayers out there who are dissing this game before it's even released, prepare to be surprised. And to all those who are eagerly waiting and anticipating this games release, you will not be disappointed.
2 years ago
Oh how I hope PSN is up when this is released.
2 years ago
I wonder if they'll release modding tools?

The old Build3D engine used to be great fun for tooling around in. Some pretty crazy levels came out of it as well.
2 years ago
grim-one wrote
I wonder if they'll release modding tools?

The old Build3D engine used to be great fun for tooling around in. Some pretty crazy levels came out of it as well.
can you show me some flash backs grim ? i wasn't in touch with the modding scene at the time ...
2 years ago
mikezilla2 wrote
grim-one wrote
I wonder if they'll release modding tools?

The old Build3D engine used to be great fun for tooling around in. Some pretty crazy levels came out of it as well.
can you show me some flash backs grim ? i wasn't in touch with the modding scene at the time ...
I'd love to mate, but I was pulling the things off magazine cover CDs. I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for them now =\

I just remember things like huge spaceships, subways, intricate sewers and shopping malls. All of them riddled with secrets, destructible walls and useable things.
2 years ago
check youtube mike
2 years ago
i'll wait for the reviews before I'm sold, but it certainly looks good and seems like a light, funny game that I've been waiting for.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  16/06/2011 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  2K Games
Year Made:
  2011

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