Duke Nukem Forever cost 3D Realms head up to $30 million - Pitchford

Gearbox CEO estimates George Broussard sunk tens of millions into once-vaporware shooter prior to studio's closure.

3D Realms spent a staggering 12 years trying and failing to bring Duke Nukem Forever to market. Though the emotional toll that effort exacted on the studio remains unsaid, Duke Nukem Forever savior Gearbox Software has affixed a price tag to the labor. In an interview with CVG, Gearbox president and CEO Randy Pitchford said that 3D Realms head George Broussard spent $20 million to $30 million of his own money to finish Duke Nukem Forever.

Broussard spent a princely sum in turning Duke into the killing machine that he is.

"George Broussard is not a poor man but I would estimate that he lost $20-$30 million dollars of his own money on Duke Nukem Forever--I don't care who you are, that's a hell of a lot of money," Pitchford said. "He was committed to Duke to the point of insanity."

Pitchford's comments came as he detailed the events that led to Gearbox's acquisition of the Duke Nukem IP earlier this year. "There was the bad news in May 2009," Pitchford said. "You all saw the stories--3D Realms was shutting down, Duke was dead. That sucked. It was tough being in Dallas, many of my friends lost their jobs.

"I spoke to George Broussard, and he said, 'Randy, this is the worst day of my life,' but you could hear in his voice there was more," he continued. "This was 12 years of his life. Try and imagine what you've achieved in 12 years. Gearbox has made 15 games in that time."

Duke Nukem Forever returned to relevancy in August, when Gearbox trotted out a playable version of the game at the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo. The Borderlands studio went on to announce that it had acquired the Duke Nukem IP in perpetuity, including Duke Nukem Forever and all future developments in the franchise, from 3D Realms.

At that time, Pitchford emphasized that the game being brought to market was one and the same that 3D Realms had been toiling away at, confirming that he had hired many of the original Duke Nukem creators to finish the game. It is currently slated to arrive in 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and demo access is being promised to those who purchase Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition.

Written By

Want the latest news about Duke Nukem Forever?

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever

Follow

Discussion

175 comments
Kastigador
Kastigador

Broussard was a one-hit wonder. Enough said.

BartRaz
BartRaz

It couldn't be done because of one simple reason, he wanted the game to be perfect, and that's impossible. And in my opinion it was only reason why this game actually was never finished. I was watching trailers and infos about it since maybe 1997 when it was firstly announced. Every time a new trailer based on a new engine was introduced, was really shocking. The 1st one impressed me the most (1998 or 1999 I can't remembered exactly), the one with rockets, tracks, motorbikes, cannons, flying machines, at that time NO game had anything like that, but its author still thought it's not enough. Perfection costs. But still I can't wait to hear his voice in a widescreen! (on PC not console to be specified).

lithus
lithus

@BartRaz: Who said anything about it costing X amount of money? Infact, that makes it worse considering that didn't even include development costs...which it's STILL under development. Sad thing is, even if this is the best game ever made...no one will ever want to work with him because of the misuse of resources and time. Even if it was his own. He's done.

Prexxus
Prexxus

@Black_Adder_ Theres nothing harder about games before, we're just better gamers now. I went back to play some Doom and Duke and had a hell of a easy time mowing through both games.

BartRaz
BartRaz

Read with understanding, I know it is hard. The Game didn't cost 20-30 M$, It is written that : "George Broussard spent $20 million to $30 million of his own money to finish Duke Nukem Forever." How much The Game actually cost, who knows :D

gbrading
gbrading moderator

No wonder it cost so much when it's been in development for over a decade...

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@eriktkire Even then, the entire creative process is done. Gearbox will be partly responsible for the finished whole PRODUCT, but none of the actual game.

mattcake
mattcake

Argh :( I loved Duke Nukem 3D more than anything - I was always "Duke" over "Doom", I spent months of my life making free levels for people to download, worked commercially on level packs etc. but even I gave up caring about DNF a long time ago. I *really* worry about the quality of the (possibly rushed) game the usually reliable Gearbox will release here. Id love to believe it will be good, but I'm not convinced :( George Broussard used to come onto IRC and talk to us "normal people", which is more than any other developer did at the time and IMO it showed a real passion for what he was doing and to keeping the people playing the games his company made happy. Its really sad 3DR went the way they did :( I hope DNF is great but it just wont be the same without the 3DR name behind it :(

AlphaCommando
AlphaCommando

He's got balls of steel to be using $30 mil of his own money.

killlo
killlo

its going to be sad if this game ends up sucking.

lithus
lithus

This story just makes me sad every time I read it. DN3D was a great game. No doubt about it. Really stood out. But the bastardized versions and voided promises over the years has taken it's toll. At this point they should ask themselves "Do we really NEED to make another Duke Nukem?". Put away the paddles and note the time of death. *taps playing*

DanielMatt
DanielMatt

Duke in the photo seems the man of the cover of Medal Of Honor!

BartRaz
BartRaz

@Black_Adder_ I couldn't say it better than you do. Modern "hard" games at their highest level of difficulty match something in the middle of the old Duke, Highest Duke Nukem level would be something impossible to common nowaday noob player, finishing 1st level woulg be like reaching hell. Gearbox made 15 games while DKF was being made, but 15 crap games and none of them will be remembered in the next 5 years but Duke Nukem 3D (1996) is still widely recognisable and still played.

supdotcom
supdotcom

really looking forward to this game. Being particularly new to gaming (3-4 years), I wanna see how much old school games really rock.

Black_Adder_
Black_Adder_

"I think the game will inevitably be a disappointment. Shooters have changed a lot since Duke Nukem 3D." ^^ The thinking of a retard The shooters really have changed a lot - better graphics and very simple and boring gameplay. Games like MAG are called "hard" because gamers are totally stupid nowadays!!! I really hope that Duke will be "hard" game, making noobs to cry a lot about not being able to kill everything. Personally I really miss the hardcore gameplay you could experience with games like first Resident Evil (the only one that was worth playing), DOOM or DUKE NUKEM. Just make the game punishing, not another FPS where people can run around guns blasting, health regenerating.

eriktkire
eriktkire

@parrot_of_adun a game ain't finished until it's properly beta tested and truly finalised. What Gearbox is doing is still significant enough to define the game as unfinished by "gold" standards when it reached their hands.

bodylotion
bodylotion

lol i almost feel sad for the developers not to buy the game at release lol.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@eriktkire [QUOTE="eriktkire"]Point is he DIDN'T make a great game... he tried, but in the end he failed to complete his vision... it took Gearbox to make that happen.[/QUOTE]No. I'm not sure who all went on to Triptych, but that studio was created by 3DR guys for purpose of finishing DNF. AND THEY DID. Triptych finished DNF before it was sold. Gearbox was put in charge of a finished game, their job is mostly optimization and to port it to consoles.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

They really need to put a good video about the story of it from beginning to end as an unlockable or something. Footage and images at it's many stages of development would be great to see.

Maxor127
Maxor127

Committed to the point of insanity is correct. I don't see how a game can be in development that long and never get released, unless whoever was in charge was both an obsessive compulsive perfectionist and a horrible manager. You put a team together, design a game, and you're done. From what I've seen, it's not like they were reaching for the clouds and trying to do something revolutionary. That guy must be like Howard Hughes. I think the game will inevitably be a disappointment. Shooters have changed a lot since Duke Nukem 3D.

eriktkire
eriktkire

@allan_delacruz you mean better?... considering the best Star Wars films were the ones he didn't direct (Empire & ROTJ)? The answer will be YES. It's obvious Broussard lost touch with reality. It's a woulda coulda shoulda situation. Point is he DIDN'T make a great game... he tried, but in the end he failed to complete his vision... it took Gearbox to make that happen. Too bad for Broussard that his failure is on such an epic scale and so public. Coming back from his fantasy land where Nukem was the bees knees would be hard enough, but to deal with his ultimate defeat... that's gotta be hard.

Odraude5
Odraude5

@allan_delacruz what are you talking about George Lucas is involved in every aspect of Star Wars, even that crappy 3D tv show

Young_Charter
Young_Charter

You gotta respect him for his love for his creation.. I love the series myself.

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

Will this game be something along the lines of Starwars without Lucas? "Just not the same" ?

JLCrogue
JLCrogue

Sounds like George Broussard is too much in love with Duke Nukem and he's got one helluva case of obsessive compulsive disorder.

lithus
lithus

"$20 million to $30 million of his own money to finish Duke Nukem Forever." This reminds me of Dr.Frankenstein trying to make his patchwork abomination come to life. Only Broussard is a little kid using a 9 volt on a piece of cheese.

Trogeton
Trogeton

Duke Nukem man I have not played one of those games since playstation 1 ,lol this is gonna be good

dzimm
dzimm

BLaZe462: "so what went wrong then?" According to reports I've read, Broussard was so obsessed with making the perfect game that he was unwilling to ever declare the game "finished" and prepare it for release. Every time a new game would come out with a feature that wasn't in DNF, he would insist that it be added. The development team was aiming for a moving target, and naturally never hit it.

veeks
veeks

I feel like buying this game out of pity, regardless of how good it is.

RedWave247
RedWave247

With all the hype behind this game, you can be sure that they're going to make that money back easily.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

poor George Broussard. :(

BLaZe462
BLaZe462

so what went wrong then?

dzimm
dzimm

If Broussard spend $30 million of his own money on this fiasco, I wonder how much more 3D Realms itself flushed down the toilet over that dozen years?

mihael88
mihael88

this sounds pretty nice :)

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

what kinda gum does Duke chew? I'm highly intrigued.

WiteLite
WiteLite

@ djwood84 where did you get $3M a year from? 30M / 12yrs is 2.5 .......and that wasnt the only source of income for the game. read it again. it was just what he dumped into the the game personally.

djwood84
djwood84

$3M per year of development is sorely underfunded if you're trying to make what they were trying to make (a halflife killer.). No wonder they couldn't get anything shipped.

F-14-D_TOMCAT
F-14-D_TOMCAT

I agree that is total dedication, $ 30 M dedication to be exact.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I always read how people take on a project, and it becomes a part of them, and you can see their passion for the project take over their lives. Duke Nukem? George Broussard, you picked DUKE NUKEM?! We gotta keep an eye on George. Something's not quite right with that boy.

mbashour
mbashour

that's dedication. should have prolly given up 10 years earlier, but still. and now the games coming out at least. and it's not his anymore lol

kimen
kimen

"Its time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and im all out of gum!"

laktobran
laktobran

Why the only thing that people need now its lots of money. When they had enough they still need more... We have all been w8 4 god knows howl long 4 the DUKE 2 rise up from the ashes, and now i can play demo u need GAME OF THE YEAR? And u have already one borderlands and u need MORE? What about the fans that supported Duke from the start? Aaren they the reason that duke lives forever...

ccgod
ccgod

hopefully they didn't take the part out of giving a hooker $100 and getting a show lol

jmmijo
jmmijo

@grey fox1984, I hear you on waiting, it's hard to do sometimes, but I did it for Just Cause 2. Steam had a half price sale one weekend along with all the DLC, got it all for less then $30.00 and have had the most fun in a long time ;) I will still get Duke Nukem, just because of the classic that is Duke... Now I'm waiting for the Borderland GOTY from Steam so I can get it all, been waiting for that one awhile now...

zakkess
zakkess

even if it sucks im getting it! it will be a game where i dont have to worry about little kids playing because they dont know who nukem is..hail to the king!

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

Isn't the demo access kind of a middle finger to everyone who bought Borderlands? and an even bigger middle finger to those who also downloaded all the DLC? Just like the Move support only being added to the Gold Edition of Resident Evil 5- i hate when publishers try to get us to buy a game we already have AGAIN at full price, to access exclusive features. It REALLY encourages us to live 6 months in the past with videogames.... it's really not a bad idea. Instead of paying $60-70 for a game when it is first release. Wait the 4 months it'll take for it to drop to $40 at most stores, or the six months it'll take to drop to $30. I recently bought Infamous for $30 and I'm having a blast with it- and even neglected to buy a couple new releases I otherwise might have because of the time it's taken me to play a much cheaper (but equally awesome game). Did the same thing with Bioshock 2 and I'm not looking back (though Force Unleashed 2 might make me cave)

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

"...confirming that he had hired many of the original Duke Nukem creators to finish the game..." - That's cool. Give those people a job back, and let them finish what took them over a decade to make. While I'm not privy to the specifics of why it took such an ungodly amount of time, I've read throughout the years that a core group of people developing DNF continued working on the game, from their homes for a time even, throughout all of the mess that is this game's history. Hopefully these people were picked up. I was never a big fan of the Duke games, but I'm interested in this simply because it's like coming back from the dead. Who doesn't want to see a zombie once in their life? Hopefully it will be a nice throwback to the old games, and worth the time and money spent (both in development, and from my wallet) to see this game in gamer's hands.

008Zulu
008Zulu

This game wont make it to Australia. Grr.

SpArKs424
SpArKs424

hopfully this game doesnt suck