The Death Of Duke Nukem Forever

Way back in 2006 I blogged about all the things that took less time than Duke Nukem Forever. A running joke in the technology industry as a whole has been how long the mythical game has taken to develop. Wars have started and ended in less time than they spent on the game. Take World War II for example.

Now that it’s effectively a dead project, Wired has an excellent article on the death of Duke Nukem Forever. It’s a very worthwhile read if you have any interest in technology, business, gaming, or just succeeding in anything. Among the takeaways:

  • Having seemingly unlimited money can be a curse more than a blessing. Being on a budget forces discipline that’s necessary regardless of budget.
  • Always have milestones and deadlines.
  • Always have an end-game.
  • Once you pick your platform, stick with it until you release a product unless it’s impossible to do so.
  • Check your ego.

I suspect at the end it’s now come down to an IP grab and they are really just trying to get the name, which is likely worth more than all the years of software development in the project. That however doesn’t take away from how poorly managed things were.

Web Development has a notable difference in that it never really “ships”. So there’s no end-game unless your handing off the project/code. It’s an iterative process. That however still leaves milestones that need to be met.

Hopefully someone will salvage what’s left and release the game. However that would only be a good thing if its done right. To often these situations end up with a half-baked half-salvaged Frankenstein of a product.