Duke Nukem first appeared back in 1991 on MS-DOS and has since become quite the popular video game icon. This past month we finally saw the release of Duke Nukem Forever. After 15 years in production it was expected to be a huge success and was hoped to be one of the best games of the year. After receiving multiple negative reviews, the question has to be asked, will Duke be relevant in the future?
Duke was huge when he was around in the 90s but since then no one has really paid much attention to him. Sure, he has his cult following, but then again, every video game series does. Duke Nukem 3D was good and considered an enjoyable game and when Duke Nukem Forever was announced so many years ago all of his fans were ecstatic. Sure, there were titles sprinkled here and there to try to appease the masses but none of them could really be called true Duke Nukem games.
Duke Nukem 3D was a commercial and critically acclaimed success and brought plenty of profit for 3D Realms. After DN3D they tried to move into the land of Tomb Raider-esque 3rd person titles. None of the games released in this style could come close to the triumph that was seen by the last true Duke title before them. The only game since 3D to find success was the GBA title Duke Nukem Advance. The sole reason this game found success was because it went back to the classic style of game play that was loved.
3D Realms tried everything to try to keep the name Duke Nukem alive, even venturing into the mobile gaming territory. Eventually, the series just could not be supported any longer by 3D Realms so that had to sell it to Gearbox Software, the same company that made the instant hit Borderlands. After a year of work on it, Gearbox released Duke Nukem Forever and Duke Nukem: Critical Mass. While DNF did decent sales wise, it was extremely dated and some people think it ruined the series.
The most recent title has been seen as very dated in look and humor. The makings of a good game were all there but instead of making sure it was phenomenal and would be praised, it seems that it was pushed out as a game from 2005 but with a slightly better look.
Nobody wants Duke Nukem to die, but at this rate it will be a miracle if anyone cares about him in the coming year. Gearbox purchased the rights to the name so there is still some hope. If the company keeps a new Duke game under wraps and takes time and puts effort into it, we could still see Duke game that is worthy of the title. Without pressure, they could work on the title to make sure it would stand up to industry standards and could even win awards, with any luck. Duke will always have a place in the hearts of gamers, but unless Gearbox can turn around all of the negativity caused from newest game, he may very well become a thing of the past.