Duke Nukem Forever: The Expectation

I’m not really sure whether to be excited, uninterested, or flat out uncaring about Duke Nukem Forever. The game went from being the next big thing, to vaporware, to another big then, then into a rather long winded joke, and now it’s back in primetime.

The wait almost seems beneficial. Had the game come out in say, 1999, it would have been another Duke Nukem title in an era with a lot of Duke Nukem titles. Had it came out in 2004, it probably would have a rather icy, forgettable reception like some of its looser cousins. Prey was in development for some time, and barely lived up to any of the initial hype. Timeshift was another, changing hardware and an entire design philosophy before released to a rather tepid response.

The wait for DNF it different though. The game is still the joke it’s been for well over five years now, and in some way, it sort of benefits the title. Let’s face it: Nukem is hardly a serious contender for much of anything aside from some gags, puns, and completely off-base sexism. Could that development cycle actually be a bit of a blessing?

It’s been so long people don’t seem to be overly excited it’s being released, just stunned, relieved, and even a bit confused. It’s not being treated as some gala even like Halo. It could probably be one of the most unplayable games ever and most gamers won’t care. We’ll just be happy to play the damn thing.

I can’t say for sure if the game actually matters, so much so as seeing the box art on a shelf at Gamestop will be some small miracle, the pinnacle of game design perseverance. This could be an easy one for the marketing team too, that event “13 years in the making” writing itself. Play that up and people will jump in, tired expectations or not, just to see what a game with such a development cycle will turn out to be.

I can’t wait.