After more than 15 years of waiting, Duke Nukem Forever has arrived in the U.S.
"June 14 in North America will forever be celebrated as the day that the legendary Duke Nukem Forever went from video game folklore to earth-shattering reality," Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K Games, the title's publisher, said in a statement. "For 15 years, fans have waited in limbo just yearning to hear those two little lovely words strung together--now available."
But that celebration may end up being tinged with a bit of cynicism: it doesn't appear that critics are too pleased with Duke Nukem Forever. According to data on CNET sister site Metacritic, the game has earned an average score of 58 out of 100 from 12 game critics. ArsTechnica's Ben Kuchera offered up a succinct opinion on the game that seemed to echo many of the critics' evaluations: "barely playable, not funny, rampantly offensive."
Duke Nukem Forever puts the player in the titular character's role as he attempts to save Earth from alien invaders. However, gamers don't necessarily play Duke Nukem Forever for the storyline. Aside from its action-oriented gameplay style, the franchise is widely considered one of the most adult-oriented on the market, featuring obscenity, sexually explicit themes, and other content that makes this latest game a decidedly mature affair.
Even so, the very fact that the game was even released is still shocking to some who have followed the game industry over the years.
Duke Nukem Forever was first announced in 1997 as a follow-up to the popular Duke Nukem 3D. The game was originally scheduled to launch in 1998, but its developer at the time, 3D Realms, switched the game engine from Quake II to Unreal, pushing its release date back. Following more delays and rumors over the years that the game was being put on hiatus, the marketplace largely forgot about Duke Nukem, and the title's long delay become a running joke in the industry.
However, last year 2K Games announced that Duke Nukem Forever was in development under the leadership of Gearbox Software, which took over the game from 3D Realms. In January, 2K Games promised a May 3 launch for the game, but in March, it announced that it was forced to push it back once again to June.