A build of Duke Nukem Forever from 2001, back when 3D Realms was making the game, has surfaced online.
The footage and screenshots that have surfaced are from a version of the game shown to attendees at E3 2001. This version, which appeared on 4Chan, is apparently much more complete.
You can see the footage of the build running on Duke4.net, a Duke Nukem fan site. According to that site, there are a number of intriguing details in this build. “Almost every chapter is present in some form,” it reads. “All weapons are functional with the exception of the chainsaw and the freezer.”
For the Duke-devoted, this will be a treasure trove of what-ifs. Gearbox was the developer that eventually delivered the game, buying the IP in 2010.
Duke Nukem Forever was a very troubled game, indeed. It was first announced in 1997, but it released—after a protracted development purgatory—in 2011, on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. It was, by most accounts, a pretty crummy affair.
Reviewing the game for VideoGamer, Martin Gaston said:
“The nicest thing Gearbox and 2K Games could have done to Duke Nukem Forever would have been to spend their marketing budget on a cannon powerful enough to fire the source code into the sun.”