Don’t Call It A Comeback: 3D Realms’ Crowd-Funded FPS

Pigs have been flying more often than they probably should lately

I wanted to snarkily write ‘3D Realms’ in the title, but when I added the apostrophe it looked like ‘3D Realms” and everyone would have thought I’d just forgotten what type of speech mark I was using. Anyway! The 3D Realms name is indeed back, even if it’s currently somewhat unclear as to whether it’s anything more than a name at present. The Duke Nukem dev closed its doors after too many years and too much money spent creating the horrible piss-mountain that was Duke Nukem Forever, but owners including Scott Miller and George Broussard kept some intangible measure of it alive afterwards. And so it is that 3D Realms’ name is attached to crowd-funded, post-apocalyptic shooter Earth No More.

Said crowd-funding is happening via brand new service Gambitious, which is a Euro-focused take on what Kickstarter’s up to. The aforementioned Miller was involved in Gambitious’ creation. It doesn’t appear that 3DR themselves (whatever they now are) will be singlehandedly developing Earth No More, or perhaps even at all – Eurogamer cite a source as saying a mystery third-party dev will be on-board, likely in a similar capacity to how Human Head made Prey 2 but 3DR got many of the bragging rights/money. (The same was also true of Max Payne 1 and Remedy).

So it could be anyone actually making this thing, and all we know about it so far is this following summary: “Mankind’s relentless destruction of Earth awakens a biological response from deep within the planet’s crust that threatens an environmental apocalypse.” The project’s listed as ‘coming soon’ on Gambitious, rather than being open to funding already, but a handful of other games are waiting for your potential pledge – including TRAIN FEVER. TRAIN FEVER!

Also listed as upcoming on Gambitious is Firefly’s Stronghold Crusader 2. Let’s hope this new independence marks Firefly’s return to form after the disappointing Stronghold 3.

A couple of other things worth mentioning about Gambitious: one, being Euro-centric, you pledge in Euros rather than Ameri-bucks.

Two, it’s not purely about pledges, and also allows investors to spend mega-money buying equity in projects they reckon might be goers. So, you could be an investor in something: which could, ultimately, result in dividends and/or involvement in the business plan. Interesting: a new model for sure, and doubtless rife with both opportunity and risk. Find out more about that side of things here.


  1. Tilaton says:

    Who in their right minds would attach 3D Realms to anything that wants funding?

    • westyfield says:

      With all the isometric RPGs and point-and-clicks getting Kickstarted, chances are 3D Realms are hoping to get on board the nostalgia train.

      • Sweedums says:

        the problem though is that the 3D realms nostalgia train is run by northern rail.

      • Smuckers says:

        There actually was a bill in Congress that if passed this year, would’ve allowed companies here to crowdsource investment from average citizens. However, since our Congress is incapable of doing anything it seems, I’m not sure that it was passed.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        This is the Obsidian nostalgia train.

        This is the 3D Realms nostalgia train.

        • DarkFenix says:

          What are you talking about? Implying the 3D Realms nostalgia train could ever reach a destination is highly misleading.

          • Dark Nexus says:


            No, no… that’s the station it started at.

          • DarkFenix says:

            Hmm, yes, starting off facing the wrong way could explain a lot about DNF.

          • kanavbs45 says:

            These are the guys that had the world in the palm of their hand, and fucking dropped it. They don’t deserve crowd-funding, IMO.

      • Tuco says:

        That would be missing the point, anyway.
        Obsidian is proposing a genre that has hardly any worthy exponent these days, while 3D Realms with a FPS would compete with studios that can brag eight digits budgets.

  2. AmateurScience says:

    Apparently the 3D Realms game was cancelled back in ’09?

    No thanks.

    • Zeewolf says:

      No. I wish people would do some research.

      This was (and probably still is) a game by Recoil Games. 3D Realms were just producing it, like with Max Payne and Prey. They were never the devs. When 3D Realms went under Recoil continued to work on it for as long as they could, but obviously ran out of resources at some point.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:


      “Mankind’s relentless destruction of Earth awakens a biological response from deep within the planet’s crust that threatens an environmental apocalypse.”

      So it’s ‘The Happening – The Game’?

  3. acheron says:

    Interesting idea about investing in “equity” of the game. I feel like if someone tried that in the States that the SEC would be on them like stink on rice.

    And now that I actually read the linked page, sure enough, US investors not allowed.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Could you explain this please? It sounds very interesting.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Do you mean the phrase ‘like stink on rice’? I was wondering about that as well.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          I believe that saying either came from Sealab 2021 or Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Pretty sure it has an early 2000’s Adult Swim origin, anyway.

          edit: it was Home Movies.

        • Smashbox says:

          What do you mean? His meaning is as clear as every dog has its day if you can teach it new tricks of the trades master of none.

  4. lowprices says:

    I can’t see an estimated completion date anywhere on the information page. How odd.

  5. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Who on earth would be foolish enough to invest in a 3D Realms game.

    I mean wasn’t there a controversy several years ago (but still many years into the development of DNF) where their steam group activity showed them pretty much just be playing games all the time at work?

    Which brushes over the fact they took longer than any other game ever released to develop DNF and then had to have someone else finish it!

    Pro tip: Do not invest or pledge anything at all to anything involving 3D Realms.

  6. carpediem01 says:

    It’s worth noting that Scott Miller (3D Realms CEO/Founder) is in charge of this project, not George Broussard (in charge of DNF for 12+ years).

    During the development of Duke Forever Scott Miller was off doing his own things (Gathering of Developers, Radar Group, organising various game productions under 3DR such as Max Payne and Prey) and left Broussard in charge of 3D Realms major project (that being DNF)

    Also, 3D Realms is only acting in a production role on Earth No More as they did for Max Payne, Max Payne 2 and Prey (as well as the third party Duke games)

    • Phantoon says:

      That’s good to know.

      However, you can’t let your partner mismanage something for twelve years without it being a marriage.

      • carpediem01 says:

        It basically went like this – Scott Miller wanted to do his own stuff so he pretty much said ‘George you’re in charge of DNF, do as you will’ and went and did his own stuff that ranged from projects under 3D Realms to Gathering of Developers and other companies and projects. They weren’t really working together for the entire development of Duke Nukem Forever, Scott would occasionally pop in to see how stuff was going and for projects being done under the 3D Realms banner (Prey, Max Payne) but that’s it.

        I have faith in 3D Realms, people seem to dismiss that they were involved in the production of over 10 games during the development of Duke Nukem Forever including Max Payne, Max Payne 2, Prey, Duke Nukem Zero Hour, Duke Nukem Time To Kill, Duke Nukem Manhattan Project and other games.

        Since May 2009 they haven’t really done much (ported Duke Manhattan Project to XBLA, contracted mobile ports of various 3DR titles out) but have recently been busy with a whole load of stuff (interviews on with Miller say that they’ve been working on the Duke Nukem Movie and various unannounced projects)

        I’ll throw money towards Earth No More but it’s a shame that when people think of 3D Realms the only thing that comes to mind is DNF when 3DR has been responsible for a buttload of awesome games during and prior to the development of DNF.

        • Beelzebud says:

          Sure thing, Scott.

        • LionsPhil says:

          And if he didn’t check up on that “do as you will” at all for over a decade, he massively dropped the ball.

          • carpediem01 says:

            He was focusing on projects that were actually getting done like Max Payne and Prey.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Doesn’t matter. We’re not talking “I was watching this TV show and didn’t notice the pot boil over”. Even one day a year could have shown him what a mess the project management of DNF was in.

          • carpediem01 says:

            Which is probably why around 2008 he began becoming more involved in 3D Realms for a variety of reasons (mainly organising the use of the Prey and Earth No More IP for his new business venture ‘RADAR Group’) and helped pull the development together by hiring project managers and such to help direct development of the game.

            The internal completion date for Duke Nukem Forever was April 2010 but around May 2009 3DR was running low on money so George Broussard and Scott Miller approached Take-Two asking for funds to complete the game (3m was required, Take-Two counter offered 1.5m which wasn’t enough) which was the first time they’d asked for money during the entire development of Duke Nukem Forever (believe it or not the entire development of the game was self-funded by 3D Realms and it cost around $25,000,000. The only money they’d ever gotten that wasn’t their own was a few hundred thousand dollars in the late 90s from GT Interactive when they bought the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever) so 3D Realms released the development team in May 2009. They didn’t close down, just released their development team (it’s a common misconception that 3D Realms closed down – they didn’t they just released the development team. since May 2009 they’ve ported Duke Nukem Manhattan Project to XBLA and contracted several ports of a bunch of 3DR titles to various mobile platforms)

            But yeah, personally I’d be willing to throw money towards Earth No More since the project is being led by Scott Miller who is largely responsible for 3D Realms success (Max Payne, Prey, various games in the 80s/90s) and not George Broussard (who was a project lead on Duke Nukem 3D then slowly drove 3D Realms into the ground because he has no management skills)

  7. Richard Beer says:

    Alec, what’s wrong with saying “3D Realms’s Crowd-Funded FPS”?

    You’re only supposed to leave off the second S if the word already has two of them in (e.g. Moses -> Moses’)

    • Grygus says:

      It would depend on whether you consider “3D Realms” to be singular or plural. If plural, then Alec’s spelling is correct.

      • DarkFenix says:

        It’s generally considered acceptable to add just the apostrophe to a possessive singular noun ending in ‘s’ if it’d be a mouthful with the extra ‘s’. Achilles’ heel for instance, no extra ‘s’ yet the word itself is ordinary enough.

  8. Hoaxfish says:

    Even assuming they magically pulled this project off… looking through the games they apparently made, according to wikipedia, (rather than published/produced for other companies) I can’t say I’m that interested.

    FPSes are not exactly a dead genre, even if the old doom/quake style subgenre is a bit weak on its feet.

  9. Dys Does Dakka says:

    Haha. No.

  10. Llewyn says:

    So we’re effectively being asked to crowd-fund a middleman who will then commission a third party to develop the product, very likely using more traditional financing methods. Backers take the financial risk, third party develops the product and 3DR takes the rewards. Any actual talent involved isn’t being sustained because they won’t have the surplus funds from post-release sales to kickstart their next project.

    Sounds like crap to me. What’s next, EA crowd-funding developer takeovers?

    • LionsPhil says:

      +1, Insightful

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Indeed, well said.

    • JP says:

      If you look back at his track record, this has always been 3DR/Miller’s scam… insert themselves between a dev and publisher, pretend to run interference and handle the deal-making, then float away on a golden parachute while devs like Remedy and Humanhead continue fighting for their survival (after parting ways for undisclosed reasons).

      Embracing crowdfunding is the all-too-expected next step for someone who’s always been 1/100th as much of a trailblazer as he claims to be.

  11. Lev Astov says:

    Earth no More? As in, the Earth no More that was cancelled years ago? 3D Realms’ track record notwithstanding, I desperately want that game.

    If it’s the same one I’m thinking of, the catch in this game is that some singleplayer enemies are controlled by random online players.

  12. Shralla says:

    But they spent all the money the publishers gave them on hookers and blow. Why wouldn’t they do the same now?

  13. Pheeze says:

    Earth No More? More like Faith No More… in 3D Realms’ abilities.

  14. Caiman says:

    Given the damage that DNF did to the 3D Realms branding, I’m surprised Scott would have used it here instead of forming something new. His name has more cachet than 3D Realms. No matter what good stuff 3D Realms had done in the past (and they were involved in some awesome stuff), DNF overshadows it all.

  15. The Random One says:

    I’ll bet this will be canceled before completion.

    I also bet that when it does RPS will report on it with the headline “Earth No More No More”.

  16. Beelzebud says:

    “The aforementioned Miller was involved in Gambitious’ creation.”

    From their website: “Crowdfunding for Games Turns Pro”

    ROFL yeah ok. Anyone giving them money is an idiot.

  17. Carra says:

    Train fever actually looks like fun. I like games like Railroad Tycoon.

    Then again, €25 on a game I’m not sure about is a bit too much for me.

    • BurningPet says:

      Was about to post the same thing.

      Train Fever shows some interesting stuff, with that procedural city generation and passengers that have actual destinations (like in Cities in Motion, but not limited to one city or urban transportation).

      This one i believe deserve some love from RPS.

  18. tuluse says:

    3 letters, L-O-L

  19. Beelzebud says:

    I wonder if I can get funding for hookers and blow from that site?

  20. jackieo says:

    Apart from the fact that this is obviously a ludicrous company to be attempting crowd funding, it really bums me out when big companies crowd fund. They can get business loans/credit and have money from previous titles. I don’t understand why they don’t just budget for the things they want to make and leave crowd funding for the people who have no other option.

  21. Lemming says:

    These are the guys that had the world in the palm of their hand, and fucking dropped it. They don’t deserve crowd-funding, IMO.

  22. Eclipse says:

    ” likely in a similar capacity to how Human Head made Prey 2″ Pretty sure you mean Prey :P
    Anyway it doesn’t sound bad to me, as it’s not directly developed by 3D Realms. I think they know a good game from a bad one, they are old-school gamers before even being developers, so with the right team doing the “work” it can actually be good. Remember that 3D Realms funded Max Payne 1 development and Prey was actually a great game

  23. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    So what are your thoughtson a kickstarter-like thing where investors can buy shares? Isn’t that the thing we want to get away from through things like Kickstarter? As in less involvement from parties which are interested in profit rather than the product.

    And, sorry, 3DRealms, I’m not feeling it. I think it’s better to build up some trust first, eh?

  24. HilariousCow says:

    Good lord, please don’t. Not even as an ironic gesture. Not even with someone else’s credit card. Just stop it. Stop.

    This weird, banal, marketing driven skew of game design Scott Miller thinks he has a handle on needs to die a death. Fertilize something else, good people.

  25. absolofdoom says:

    Not touching you with a 20-mile pole Realms.