Found this excellent article on the interwebs that sums up how success killed Duke Nuke 'Em... probably not forever, but for the near future at least!
On the last day, they gathered for a group photo. They were videogame programmers, artists, level builders, artificial-intelligence experts. Their team was — finally — giving up, declaring defeat, and disbanding. So they headed down to the lobby of their building in Garland, Texas, to smile for the camera. They arranged themselves on top of their logo: a 10-foot-wide nuclear-radiation sign, inlaid in the marble floor.
To videogame fans, that logo is instantly recognizable. It’s the insignia of Duke Nukem 3D, a computer game that revolutionized shoot-’em-up virtual violence in 1996. Featuring a swaggering, steroidal, wisecracking hero, Duke Nukem 3D became one of the top-selling videogames ever, making its creators very wealthy and leaving fans absolutely delirious for a sequel. The team quickly began work on that sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, and it became one of the most hotly anticipated games of all time.
It was never completed. Screenshots and video snippets would leak out every few years, each time whipping fans into a lather — and each time, the game would recede from view. Normally, videogames take two to four years to build; five years is considered worryingly long. But the Duke Nukem Forever team worked for 12 years straight. As one patient fan pointed out, when development on Duke Nukem Forever started, most computers were still using Windows 95, Pixar had made only one movie — Toy Story — and Xbox did not yet exist.
On May 6, 2009, everything ended. Drained of funds after so many years of work, the game’s developer, 3D Realms, told its employees to collect their stuff and put it in boxes. The next week, the company was sued for millions by its publisher for failing to finish the sequel.
Front and center in the photo sits a large guy with a boyish face. You can’t tell from the picture, but he had gotten choked up when he made the announcement. His name is George Broussard, co-owner of 3D Realms and the man who headed the Duke Nukem Forever project for its entire 12-year run. Now 46 years old, he’d spent much of his adult life trying to make a single game, and failed over and over again. What happened to that project has been shrouded in secrecy, and rumors have flown about why Broussard couldn’t manage to finish his life’s work. What went so wrong?
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