Duke Nukem Forever has leaked online. Not the final 2011 version of the game that was widely panned by critics and fans alike, but the 2001 version that was showcased at that year’s E3.
Duke Nukem Forever is infamous for being the game that was the longest wait for the biggest let-down. Announced in 1997, it took 14 years, three publisher swaps, two engine swaps, and several complete rebuilds before the game was finally released in 2011 to utterly horrible reviews. By then, Duke’s graphics and gameplay felt dated, its story jarringly incomplete, and it crashed. A lot.
But back in 2001, Duke Nukem Forever looked like it might actually be a respectable sequel to Duke Nukem 3D. The demo build shown at E3 was built on the somewhat new Unreal Engine and at the time looked almost cutting edge. It was enough to get Duke fans hyped for the game’s release, which at the time, seemed imminent. But then the game would suffer so many delays that it was almost comical by the end.
As for the leaked build, IGN and Duke4.net report we have a 4Chan post to thank for this build appearing online. Keep in mind that it's not a full game as this was a version that 3DRealms eventually scrapped, but it is playable. Most levels are present, several enemies, and most weapons can be fired, including a machine gun, assault rifle, Desert Eagle handgun, pipe bombs, and even a shrink ray.
Footage of the game shows Duke shooting up cops at a nightclub before driving away on a motorcycle. That’s where the gameplay seems to run out as the remaining videos just show the player throwing pipe bombs at a lamp post. Several screenshots appear to show NPCs and several other levels, but that’s about it.
According to the leaker, an editor was built to get the 2001 build working, and they plan to release the full version later in June. It’s an interesting bit of gaming history, but just like the 2011 game, most of us will probably find Duke Nukem Forever pretty dated.
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