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The king is back! "Duke Nukem Forever" has been revived, and is nearing release in a shocking turn of events.  (Source: Kotaku)

The demo features a quick taste of the game's combat gameplay, in which the macho-protagonist, Duke Nukem, fights to save his babes from hoards of evil extraterrestrials.  (Source: Kotaku)

The game features plenty of sexual innuendo just like its predecessors -- the demo concludes with Nukem appearing to be receiving oral pleasure from a pair of females.  (Source: Ripten)
"It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum... and I'm all outta gum."

"Hail to the king baby!", Duke Nukem is back.  Some may take Friday's announcement of Duke Nukem Forever's resurrection as a sign of the end of times, but it's hard not to feel a bit of excitement that maybe, just maybe, this bad joke could transform into a modern first-person shooter gem.

For today's younger generation of gamers, Duke Nukem may not ring many more bells than Q*bert, but there was a time when the brash talking, hyper-masculine, buzz-cut womanizer Duke headlined one of the best selling first person shooters of its decade (Duke Nukem 3D).

By the year 2009, those who still remembered the games used them more frequently in punchlines than in praise.  After all, Duke Nukem 3D's sequel, the ironically named Duke Nukem Forever, had seen an extraordinarily bizarre development lifecycle with developer 3D Realms still without a finished title after 12 years of development, dating back to 1997.  Then in mid-2009 Take-Two Interactive, who had purchased publishing rights, sued cash-strapped 3D Realms, just as the company was reportedly finishing up the long awaited title.

The ensuing legal battle was settled with undisclosed terms in May of this year. 

3D Realms retained the rights to the game.  And in perhaps the wisest decision it had made concerning the seemingly cursed title, it decided to hand over the development reins to Randy Pitchford's studio Gearbox Software.

Mr. Pitchford was no Nukem newbie.  He had been hired in the 1990s to help development Duke Nukem 3D.  And while he left 3D Realms just as Duke Nukem Forever was kicking into full swing, Mr. Pitchford always kept a soft spot for the machismo-machine that made him a software superstar.

On Friday at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Mr. Pitchford let the cat out of the bag showing off a 15-minute live gameplay demo [video here] filled with sexual innuendo, violence, and suitably attractive graphics.  And according to Mr. Pitchford the game is nearly finished, and will launch complete with multiplayer.  He states in a recent interview, "It's a large, large game."

If you think Mr. Pitchford might be tempted to tone the game down for today's more sensitive audience, think again.  It looks to be headed for a solid "M" -- if it catches the ESRB folks on a generous day. 

Mr. Pitchford describes the protagonist, remarking, "In Duke's world this is all real shit. These fucking aliens are here and they're fucking our planet up and they're taking our chicks. There's a reason for that, and Duke is the only guy who can stop them. In his universe, that all makes perfect sense. As a result, he is the most important person in his universe. And he knows it. He enjoys it. He franchises it! He's got Duke Burgers opened up all over the country. It's a weird universe, but it works for him. He's the king!"

But the "king" has his work cut out for him if he hopes to win back gamers.  After all if there's one thing more deadly than a pack of babe-stealing aliens, it's the risk of remaining a punchline from one more delay. 

Despite the risk, Mr. Pitchford is the picture of confidence and exuberance.  He says he can understand if some are skeptical, but promises not to disappoint.  He states, "I think everybody feels the way I felt when Duke was in trouble in 2009.  Yeah, we've been jerked around. But we kind of want him to be triumphant. In Duke's time of need, we almost want to support him. And I'm feeling that kind of love."

As for Nukem, he appears to be feeling the love, too.

The demo concludes with the camera panning out to show that the whole intro experience was just a console game being played by the real Duke Nukem.  And Duke has company -- a pair of females, who appear to have been giving old Nukem some oral pleasure.  One of them takes a breather and looks up at him to ask, "So how was the game Duke, was it any good?"

He gruffly remarks, "Yeah, but after 12 fucking years . . . it better be."


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RE: Anyone but Gearbox!!!
By borismkv on 9/5/2010 3:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that getting a multiplayer game going on PC required the opening of ports on the router, the sacrifice of a virgin from California, and a 6 day fasting ritual to actually allow people to join a game that you started. Being able to join a game started by someone you didn't know required a pact with the devil.


RE: Anyone but Gearbox!!!
By Lerianis on 9/5/2010 8:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
Opening of ports on a router? Something doesn't sound right about that being required.


RE: Anyone but Gearbox!!!
By Alexstarfire on 9/5/2010 8:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sometimes is sometimes isn't. It's basically only for hosting games though. If you don't host then you almost never have to worry about it. I've run across a couple games where that isn't true, namely Age of Empires 3. The multiplayer was poorly implemented.


RE: Anyone but Gearbox!!!
By LRonaldHubbs on 9/7/2010 7:57:06 AM , Rating: 3
First of all I'd like to point out that I've played Borderlands online a LOT. It is not as much of a hassle as you describe.

Secondly, this is a problem with the user's network configuration, not the game. I remember hearing about bugs when the game first launched, but they had been patched by the time I bought it (November of last year). Any problem that remains now is not limited to Borderlands. A user that has trouble hosting a Borderlands game will have trouble hosting other games too. Any time you're connecting to someone that isn't a dedicated and properly-configured server there is the potential for it to not work. Having to open ports is not a big deal and should be expected if you're connecting through a router. Anyone who's ever hosted any type of server (ftp, vnc, torrents, etc) knows this.

You could blame Gearbox for choosing a matchmaking service over dedicated servers, but honestly, matchmaking caters better to the type of game that it is. Who the hell hosts a dedicated server for 4P coop? Dedicated is better for games like UT, CSS, or TF2 where there are many players.

With all this aside, I think Gearbox should be applauded for the way they seamlessly integrated SP and MP. You can be playing SP, decide to invite some friends, do so without even having to exit the current game, and when your friends join everyone has all their equipment and the enemies and items all scale properly. It's pretty amazing how well it all works. This is why I asked for justification from the OP for their statement that Borderlands MP is a 'nitemare'.


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