Duke Nukem Forever has been in development for the better part of a decade. However, the past 24 hours have seen the game return to the spotlight, courtesy of a report on Shacknews.com.
Yesterday evening, Shacknews posted an article under the title "3D Realms Sees Major Employee Departures, Fate of DNF in Question?" The site cited "numerous sources" as saying that "up to 10 major team members have left the company," including several departures "within the past few days."
Seven 3D Realms staffers were named as having left the company, including Scott Alden, Will Bate, and Andy Hanson. Shacknews later identified four others--Brian Cozzens, Kyle Davis, Keith Schuler, and Charlie Wiederhold--as having departed to another Texas-based studio, Gearbox Software. The quartet is reportedly now working on an unidentified upcoming Brothers in Arms game.
When the Shacknews story broke, GameSpot attempted to contact 3D Realms founder George Broussard, who still had not returned requests for comment as of press time. However, 3D Realms webmaster and longtime staffer Joe Siegler addressed the Shacknews article on the developer's forums.
"I dispute the doomsday scenario painted by the Shacknews headline," Siegler said. "I love how these news stories say 'Up to 10' and everyone thinks that the entire team has left, or the majority have or whatnot. As was pointed out in the story, this didn't all happen like YESTERDAY. We've had others come in recently, and there's more coming in, too. This impression I've been reading about 'over half the team leaving' implies that there's nobody left, and the folks who are still here are trying to muddle through. Hardly."
Siegler also said that work on Duke Nukem Forever was moving ahead. However, he cautioned against inflated expectations for the game, which has been in development since 1997. "Some people seem to think that DNF will be like the second coming of Christ, will solve all the world's problems, wash your dishes, and give you guilt, sin-free orgasms," he said. "It's a game. It will be a fun game."
[UPDATE] Meanwhile, over on the Shacknews forums, Broussard surfaced to assure the public that DNF is almost--almost--done. "Physics and animation systems are virtually finished and shippable," he said. "It's simply maintenance and polish from here on out. We haven't needed to make substantial changes to those systems in months. The changes we have made, were made without great effort. Things are never as bleak as they appear, as is often the case when you simply have one side of the story."