Duke Nukem Forever “destroyed 3D Realms” Apogee founder says

Scott Miller has responded to the leak of a 2001 build of Duke Nukem Forever, explaining some of the many things that went wrong with its troubled development

The interior of a casino shown in an early E3 build of Duke Nukem Forever.

Following the leak of a 2001 demo build of the troubled FPS game Duke Nukem Forever, the founder of Apogee has published some thoughts about what went wrong and ultimately led to developer 3D Realms handing the project off to Gearbox Software almost ten years later. It was Duke Nukem Forever, he says, that wound up sinking 3D Realms.

“Anyone expecting much of a playable game will be disappointed,” writes Apogee founder Scott Miller, in a post titled ‘The Truth About DNF’. “The game’s brilliant trailer from that period definitely over-represented what was actually playable in the game.”

“DNF is the game that destroyed 3D Realms and ended up getting the company sold to an investor in Denmark,” Miller writes. At the time the leaked build was created, Apogee was generating revenue from games like Max Payne and Prey, while Duke Nukem Forever was simply burning through money with no end in sight. He says the studio was understaffed, lacked a working development roadmap, and was constantly rebooting in order to adopt the latest in 3D rendering technology.

Miller isn’t at all convinced that ol’ Duke’s ready for retirement.

“I do hope that Gearbox can resurrect Duke Nukem at some point,” Miller says at the end of his post. “It seems like the obvious move would be to recreate Duke Nukem 3D using Unreal 5. And if it does well, then start making more Duke adventures while also expanding the universe with new characters.”