Gearbox acquires Duke Nukem IP

Posted on September 06, 2010

PAX 2010: CEO Randy Pitchford announces purchase of all future rights to 3D Realms’ storied action hero; Borderlands free update with raised level cap coming soon.

Who was there: Gearbox Software claimed the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo as its own on Friday with the shock announcement that it would see Duke Nukem Forever to the finish line in 2011. On hand to discuss the move, as well as the rest of Gearbox’s announced development slate, was CEO Randy Pitchford, chief creative officer Brian Martel, creative director Mikey Neumann, licensing head David Eddings, and cinematics director Brian Thomas.

What they talked about: Though Friday’s revelation that Gearbox would be finishing up 3D Realms’ Duke Nukem Forever was perhaps the biggest news out of the Penny Arcade Expo, the studio followed it up with another headline-worthy announcement. Namely, Pitchford revealed in front of the PAX 2010 collective that Gearbox has acquired the Duke Nukem intellectual property, including Duke Nukem Forever and all future developments in the franchise, from 3D Realms. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Explaining how the deal went down, Pitchford noted that he and Martel had actually met while working at 3D Realms, way back in 1997, and Gearbox still had a strong relationship with George Broussard and others at that studio. “I feel like I owe Duke Nukem my career,” he said, before bringing up last year’s turmoil of 3D Realms’ closure and the lawsuits that resulted. “That day sucked, but you can’t kill Duke.”

He said that even with the game’s future grim, about eight or nine former 3D Realms developers continued to work on Duke Nukem Forever, including Allen Blum, who has been working on the franchise since its inception in 1991. The game they were making is the same that is being made at Gearbox, he said, noting that Blum and the others–but not Broussard–are still on the team. He also said that the game is currently in the polish phase, and that “arrangements need to be made with first-parties and retailers.” Apparently, 2K Games hadn’t even informed retailers of the game’s existence until it was announced on Friday.

“The game that is happening is 3D Realms’ game,” he said. In an emotional moment, Pitchford went on to say that, “I didn’t buy [Duke Nukem] from them, they sold it to me,” emphasizing how protective 3D Realms has been of its quintessential action hero.

“Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand,” Broussard said as part of a statement. “They are very talented and possess the perfect perspective and understanding of the brand. Their vision for its future direction is exciting and unbelievable. I personally cannot wait for fans to see their unique take on the franchise.”

“The Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need,” Pitchford added. “Fans of the legendary hero and all the incredible talent that have ever helped him all deserve the very best support that we can bring.”

For more information on Duke Nukem Forever, check out GameSpot’s hands-on with the game from PAX 2010.

As for the rest of what Gearbox has been working on, the team first discussed what was going on with the Borderlands franchise. Namely, Pitchford noted that Borderlands’ fourth, and ostensibly final, downloadable content add-on–Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution–will arrive on September 28. He also noted that all Borderlands owners will receive a free patch for the game that rebalances it and increases the level cap to 69.

Of that innuendoed number, Pitchford said that they did not want to alienate Borderlands fans who purchased General Knox for the sake of gaining that DLC’s 11-level cap increase. “We realized that if we added eight levels, with the cap at level 61, it wouldn’t piss off people who paid for the General Knox DLC.” A release date for the free patch has yet to be determined, but Pitchford noted that it should arrive some time around the launch of Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution.

Martel then briefly discussed Gearbox’s Brothers in Arms franchise, saying that they had nothing to announce today. However, he did emphasize Gearbox’s commitment to the franchise, hinting that the series may branch out from the characters established in recent installments. “We’ll have some things to talk about soon. We’re not ready quite yet to bring it out,” Pitchford added.

Martel also didn’t have any news about Aliens Colonial Marines, noting that it has been difficult to talk about the game due to involvement from rights owner 20th Century Fox and publisher Sega. However, Pitchford seemed to bend the rules a bit, calling for a rapid-fire succession of screenshots of the game to be shown on the conference hall’s big screen.

Though brief, the shots showed a group of marines engaging richly detailed alien drones in what appeared to be a space station’s corridors. The shots were highly reminiscent of the tone established by Ridley Scott’s 1979 original Alien.

Quote: “Always bet on Duke.”–Randy Pitchford.

Takeaway: The next game Gearbox will deliver is the Duke Nukem Forever that has been more than a decade in the making, with many of the original developers still working on the project. Of course, fans of the series probably won’t believe it until they see it, a fact Gearbox recognized and promised to do something about as soon as possible.

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot

Gearbox acquires Duke Nukem IP” was posted by Tom Magrino on Sun, 05 Sep 2010 18:30:21 -0700

Duke Nukem Forever PAX 2010 Interview: Randy Pitchford

Posted on September 04, 2010

We talk to Gearbox president Randy Pitchford about what we’ve all been waiting to hear about. Duke Nukem Forever from PAX 2010!

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Duke Nukem Forever PAX 2010 Interview: Randy Pitchford” was posted by gslive on Sat, 04 Sep 2010 03:12:32 -0700

Duke Nukem Forever Hands-On Impressions

Posted on September 04, 2010

You read that right. The video game equivalent of the walking dead is playable here at PAX 2010.

We’ll spare you any history lessons on Duke Nukem Forever. If you follow video games at all, you likely know the long, rocky, infamous–and did we say long?–history behind this first-person shooter. All you need to know is that it’s actually playable here at PAX 2010. Granted, as you’d expect, there’s quite a line to see it. But if there was ever a game where a lengthy queue was appropriate, it’s this one. CEO of Gearbox Randy Pitchford certainly knows. “I heard the line outside was 13 years long,” Pitchford joked while giving a presentation on how new developer Gearbox picked up the project after 3D Realms collapsed last year.

To give a quick summary, Pitchford described his personal attachment to the franchise (Duke Nukem 3D was the first game he worked on before forming his own studio) as well as the reason publisher 2K Games trusted Gearbox to salvage the project (“we brought them a megahit with Borderlands”). But it was a quick introduction, followed by a new trailer and the opportunity for everyone there to get some hands-on time with a couple of different levels.

The trailer was Duke at his ridiculous best, punching giant aliens below the belt, spouting one-liners, and taking more than a few self-referential jabs at himself. After that, it was time to play the game. The demo started off simply enough: You’re standing in front of a urinal in a men’s room with the screen politely directing you to pull the right trigger to begin urinating. This opening scene sets the table rather appropriately for a brief but utterly absurd demo. A few seconds later, you walk up to some EDF forces in a locker room drawing plans to deal with the current alien invasion on a whiteboard. One soldier–the only one left standing amid a number of mangled survivors–invites you to offer your advice, and after a little first-person whiteboard scribbling by the player, that soldier remarks something to the effect of, “That’s a great plan! If we had done that, that guy over there would still have his arm!…”Pause. “And at least one of his balls.”

Duke, being a man of action, quickly runs through the tunnels of this football stadium–it turns out that’s where the demo starts–and out onto the field. Standing on the 50-yard line is a giant one-eyed alien monster called the Cycloid. Fortunately, Duke has just picked up a rocket launcher called the Devastator. Using this handy little weapon, you run all over the rain-soaked field dodging the boss’s attacks while occasionally firing rockets at his single, solitary eye. After a couple of minutes, the beast is felled, and Duke celebrates by ripping out his eye and kicking a field goal with it.

After this, the game’s first level, we were quickly transported to the 15th level. This one begins in some arid canyons with Duke cruising along in his signature monster truck. The controls are simple: just pull the right trigger to accelerate and hit the B button to handbrake around a corner. This sequence seemed like a bit of a palate cleanser, as there wasn’t a whole lot of challenge–just cruise along, look cool, and splatter the occasional pig alien too stupid to get out of your way. But you run out of gas before arriving at a small canyon village and have to do on-foot battle against a bunch of ugly aliens.

To help even the odds, the game scatters a few useful guns around the little town. There’s the railgun, which comes in handy for remote sniping; the shrink ray, which turns your enemies into tiny things that are almost too adorable to kill; and a turret gun for dealing with a landing enemy spaceship. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to progress past said spaceship before the allotted demo time was over. But we’ll go ahead and assume there were aliens, guns, and one-liners to be found after a successful completion. Call it a hunch.

If there’s one thing that surprised us about the demo, it’s this: Duke Nukem Forever is pretty darn fun for a game with such a tumultuous development. The comic timing was impressive, the guns felt satisfying, and the graphics were quite pleasing to look at. Of course, this is a Duke Nukem game through and through, so there are some inherent elements to it that will instantly turn some people off. But pick up a controller, spend a few minutes with it, and you’ll be surprised at how well it has turned out. Whether the rest of the game can follow suit is something we’re eager to see. Stay tuned for more.

Read and Post Comments | Get the full article at GameSpot

Duke Nukem Forever Hands-On Impressions” was posted by Shaun McInnis on Fri, 03 Sep 2010 15:53:15 -0700

Duke Nukem Forever Screens

Posted on September 04, 2010

1 new shots posted.

Get the full article at GameSpot

Duke Nukem Forever Screens” was posted on Fri, 03 Sep 2010 16:48:08 -0700

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