Trailer For Canceled Duke Nukem Begins Game Surfaces Online

Long before it helped finish Duke Nukem Forever, Gearbox almost made a prequel starring the infamous gun-slinger.


Footage for a canceled Duke Nukem game dating back to 2008 has appeared online. Back in the late 2000s, Borderlands developer Gearbox was looking to create a game that would have been an origin story for Duke Nukem, hiring animation studio Janimation to create a mock-up trailer for Duke Nukem Begins.

The project was eventually canned due to legal issues around the Duke Nukem franchise back then, and Gearbox instead went on to finish Duke Nukem Forever after developer 3D Realms had spent more than a decade working on the game.

As for the prequel, the trailer uploaded by animator Gregor Punchatz shows off a game with third-person shooter gameplay, four-player co-op, and a very 2000s haircut for Duke. Duke's arsenal consists of his usual shotgun and trademark pistol, as well as a severed arm and his freeze ray weapon while he fights back against a horde of pig cops to the sound of Guerrilla Radio by Rage Against the Machine.

While Duke Nukem Forever was critically panned on release, developer 3D Realms did move on from the series after a court case ended with Gearbox declaring itself to be the lawful owner of the intellectual property. The studio was purchased in 2014 by SDN Invest, relocated to Denmark, and began producing games such as Bombshell and Ion Maiden, the latter of which had to change its name to Ion Fury after legendary metal band Iron Maiden's legal team caught wind of the project.

Last week, it was announced that 3D Realms had been acquired by Embracer Group alongside several other studios. Embracer also purchased Gearbox in February this year for $1.3 billion, essentially adding the Duke Nukem IP to its many game properties. As for Duke Nukem, his last notable appearance was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in 2018's Ready Player One film.

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