Top-Down Trash Talk: Duke Nukem – Mass Destruction

If the NeoGAF community’s swift data extraction is to be believed, Interceptor, the team that rebooted Rise of the Triad, are due to announce a new Duke Nukem game. They have history with the man who stole a thousand catchphrases, having initially attracted Apogee’s attention while working on a remake of Duke Nukem 3D. Mass Destruction does not sound a continuation of that remake. Instead, if the briefly operative website is to be believed, it’s “a top-down action role-playing game…including experience points and tech trees”. Earlier comments by Interceptor’s CEO Frederik Schreiber suggest a possible return to the square-jawed intergalactic heroics of the original side-scrolling Duke, in place of the failure of a parody of a satire of a spoof that haunted Forever. The website is currently undergoing maintenance but reportedly contained a 24 hour countdown timer. You can follow NeoGAF’s detective work here, or cast your eyes down the page for quoted details.

The description of the game’s ARPG nature was apparently translated from an alien message, which seems like an odd way to announce a game but, hey, a possibly accidental early exposure of a coded paragraph is still better than some video announcements.

Here’s the translation:

The king makes his next generation debut in Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action role-playing game for PC and PlayStation. Duke Nukem kicks ass across planets in an Unreal Engine-powered galactic adventure to save the President from an apocalyptic alien threat. All new enemies, a never-before-seen arsenal of devastating weaponry and series-first mechanics, including experience points and tech trees, will let Duke rip ‘em a new one in a way he never has before.

And here are Schreiber’s earlier comments, made over at the Duke4net forums:

I’m also personally tired of Pigcops, Turd Jokes, and a Goofy Duke Nukem.
I would love to see a Duke Nukem game, taken in a completely new direction. A way more serious and “Badass” Duke, with an epic plot. Something that really brings back Duke as an Action Hero.

That reminds me of how tired I am of strippers, babes etc. in Duke Nukem games, which only degrades Duke’s intelligence even more (there is nothing wrong with Duke Liking strippers and babes, but it shouldn’t be the main plot of a game). Give us a Duke game without strippers, a great sinister villain than can break Duke (Think Bane from DK:Rising), a slightly older, and way more badass/gritty Duke, and a galactic plotline that can be taken seriously, and I’m Sold!

Despite my long-standing affection for Duke Nukem 3D, my inner Livejournal is registering ‘Mood: Apathetic’. The development of Forever was an incredible story and the greatest disappointment, sadly, is that it was ever released at all. It seemed a fitting end for a hero so defiantly out of time.


  1. LionsPhil says:

    a slightly older, and way more badass/gritty Duke


    Incoming generic meathead #8,389,125.

  2. MaximusG says:

    “That reminds me of how tired I am of strippers, babes etc. in Duke Nukem games, which only degrades Duke’s intelligence even more ”

    Wat? I wasn’t aware we measured intelligence by propensity to find babes attractive…

    Ugh, another sowshul justiss internet philosopher, with absolutely no sense of humour, set to ruin one of PC gaming’s most iconic characters by turning him into another Christian Bale gritty-voice-talking cookie cutter “badass”

    • Baines says:

      You cut off “(there is nothing wrong with Duke Liking strippers and babes, but it shouldn’t be the main plot of a game)“.

      Which is probably right.Duke liking strippers and babes was kind of funny and different, but it was elevated into a running joke that was neither funny nor different. Its like a TV comedian doing an impersonation year after year, where the impersonation devolves into some catchphrase or sound that has little or nothing to do with the target, but now gets more of a response than a legit impersonation would manage. And falls flat or just seems stupid when you weren’t one of the people who grew up with that devolvement, because it isn’t good or funny on its own merits.

      • socrate says:

        you guy’s never really got what babe were really for i guess…killing of course…kill them=more monster

        ooooh these politically correct gamer,they do love removing fun from new game.

      • pongsifu says:

        “Nobody steals our chicks…and lives.” The “babes” were pretty much the central plot of Duke Nukem 3D.

        • Jalan says:

          They were the critical plot point in Land of the Babes as well.

  3. lautalocos says:

    it kind of sounds like Schreiber doesn´t want anotherduke nukem, just something different under the name of duke nukem

    • bill says:

      Did the original Duke Nukem games involve strippers and toilet humor? Or was that mainly introduced in DN3D?

      I feel like the original games were more of a straight up action shooter… but it’s so long since I played them that I can’t be sure.

      Personally, the appeal of even DN3D was never the strippers (even as a teen, though they were cool at that time), it was the interactive realistic environments and wide range of weapons.

      • vedder says:

        The first one I played a lot, it was much more a game in the vein of Commander Keen. Definitely no babes and all that stuff. The second already had babes to save I think. Never played that one much though, so I might be mistaken.

  4. KeeperKrux says:

    Rise of the Triad was atrocious; I can’t see myself being interested in anything Interceptor related ever.

    How far has 3D Realms fallen? Last year they did the first right thing in years licensing Shadow Warrior to Flying Wild Hog with awesome results. Why settle for crap? Gritty reboots are as dull as it gets.

    • tsff22 says:

      Speak for yourself, I freaking loved RotT. I can’t wait to see where Interceptor takes Duke.

  5. Terragot says:

    Schreiber’s suggestion sounds even worse than the status quo.

    The best thing a new Duke Nukem game could do is just repackage and resell 3D – exploiting strippers, killing aliens, and referencing pop culture – but gender swapping everyone in the game.

  6. BTAxis says:

    The development of Forever was an incredible story and the greatest disappointment, sadly, is that it was ever released at all. It seemed a fitting end for a hero so defiantly out of time.

    Absolutely. DNF was always better as a running joke than it could ever have been as a game. That was clear even before it was actually released.

    • LionsPhil says:

      And yet it was still an even worse game than “insanely protracted development time starting over twice while chasing a moving target” would set you up to expect. No amount of technical or game design grief should lead you to script the line “Duke, we’ll get the weight off in a week, we swear *abdomen explodes from alien rape baby*”.

  7. Taidan says:

    Ahh, the Duke Nukem Trilogy trailer.

    Without a doubt the finest trailer that has ever existed. for anything, ever.

  8. BillyIII says:

    I hope it’s an elaborate prank…

    • Perkelnik says:

      I hope you are right. And if you think about it, it just might be it. Had they announced “another Duke shooter”, everybody would be like “yeah, another Duke Nukem Forever”.
      But if they say it will be RPG, then it will catch attention. Now I really hope they go with DN3D revisioned, which is rumoured to be put on hold by Gearbox in 2011 (so it wouldnt hurt DNF sales).

    • XhomeB says:

      Yep, it’d better be.

  9. Ergates_Antius says:

    So, he wants to make a Duke Nukem game without any of the elements of Duke Nukem that makes it Duke Nukem.

    Fair enough, but it begs the oft-asked question: Why make a Duke Nukem game at all then? It’s not like the name still has much in the way of cachet any more. (when was the last good DN game?)

    Just make a game with new IP, then you don’t have to make a point of not including all the tired peripheral shite, you just don’t put it in.

    Let Duke Nukem die. Maybe, with time, we can forget that DNF ever got released, and we can go back to having fond memories of him.

  10. Low Life says:

    I came here to post the Duke Nukem Trilogy trailer, but I see there is no need for that. It is truly a magnificent thing.

  11. GameCat says:

    In near future even cartoons and books for toddlers will be more dark and gritty and BADASS.

    Also, Mass Destruction

  12. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I really enjoyed Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. The tone seemed much better than Forever; the same sort of toilet/referential humour but somehow less tasteless and more light-hearted. Maybe that’s the rose-tinted spectacles talking…

    So, uh, more of that?

    • XhomeB says:

      Agreed! Manhattan Project retained Duke3D’s humour and wacky nature while returning to the sidescrolling gameplay formula. Everything in that game WORKED, I loved it.
      DNF didn’t capture Duke’s essence. At all.

  13. soldant says:

    Duke Nukem Forever was actually somewhat close to what DN3D was in terms of tone and content (level design is a different story, although personally I didn’t find it too bad) – the problem is DN3D was back in 1996, and times (and tastes) have changed. Much like how ROTT was basically a copy of the original in many ways (except with horrible optimisation), DNF and the new ROTT revealed that not everything from the 90s is worth reviving.

    This? I don’t even know why the hell someone thought this was a good idea. DNF was released, now let Duke die.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m not sure you can really make that claim of tone, if only because of the level of expression permitted by technology. The Hive comes across much, much worse than Incubator, even though both are ostensibly the same concept. 3D Duke was also full of himself for being a badass in a game that was technically proficient (all that level destructability and interactivity!) and good, slick shooting fun; Forever Duke is full of himself on past glories (the damn game even opens with him replaying the last level of 3D) while waddling around in an absolute mess of a game.

      Forever made Duke look like he should have been left in the ’90s because Forever carried him forward in all the worst ways possible. Sam Stone is still quipping away merrily in his I-wanna-be-Arnie groove, and while SS3 may not have set the world on fire, negative opinion toward it at least is just mostly “bit samey if you’ve played the first one”, not “Jesus Christ, what the hell were you thinking”.

      • Philomelle says:

        The issue, to me, was that Forever both treated itself seriously and completely lacked self-awareness. You never actually get the feeling that it’s joking about its contents. You know it’s supposed to be a joke because the developers told you it is, but the game itself is so dead serious about the Pigcops and alien facials and everything else that you never get to the laughter. It’s all simply grotesque and gross.

        It’s like watching Kindergartner Cop or Last Action Hero, except with Ahnold delivering the dark, serious performance he pulled off in Total Recall, The Terminator and Conan the Barbarian. The constant mood whiplash is both overbearing and aggravating.

        I’d like a more “serious” Duke sequel where Duke, much like Arnold in his later movies, is aware of his own goofiness and pokes fun at himself. It’s the part of later action heroes’ charm that DNF hopelessly missed out on.

        • soldant says:

          Really? I didn’t think the game was taking itself seriously at all. I don’t know why anybody would think it did.

          Actually, I don’t know why anybody would think any Duke Nukem game would take itself seriously. Genuinely curious, what about the game made you think it took itself seriously?

          • Philomelle says:

            I think it was a combination of awkwardly realistic designs, Jon St. John’s consistently somber, super-serious delivery without a hint of humor and the way everyone makes a big deal out of how serious everything is.

            About the only time the game sincerely attempted a joke was in the very end, when the President goes on a monologue about how the whole thing sucks because Duke is a product of a bygone age. It’s like the writers, in a desperate attempt to salvage how unfunny and serious everything else is, decided that the punchline should be that the game is unfunny because the audience outgrew its humor. Which, really, isn’t much of a punchline.

    • elmo.dudd says:

      Both DNF and the new ROTT were cases of a terrible job being done, go play the original ROTT or Duke3d – they are still decent games – and don’t particularly resemble the new versions. Interceptor can try to take Duke serious, but considering what they did with ROTT, I expect something worse than DNF.

  14. Juan Carlo says:

    It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of kick ass. So I’ll just stand here and politely chew gum, if you don’t mind.

    So how’s your wife then? That’s good. I always thought you guys were such a great couple. I saw your wedding photos on facebook as my cousin knows your wife somehow and we ended up friends. Small world.


    This gum sure loses its flavor fast. I really hate that. I’d get another piece but I only have two left and then I’d be out of both kick ass and bubble gum. I have no idea what I’d do then. I double majored in gum chewing and ass kicking in college, so I’m kind of unprepared to do anything else. Which really sucks. If I could do things all over I’d probably be a pharmacist or something, but it’s kind of late for that now.

    What’s that? You need to get work done? No problem. I’ll just go stand over there and chew my gum. It looks like a nice quiet spot and I don’t want to bother you. We should get together sometime, maybe we could go out somewhere with the wives. See a movie or bowling, or something.

    Yeah, you’re right. We’re really busy too, actually, so it probably wouldn’t work for us either.

    Anyway, see you around.

  15. Spacewalk says:

    What I want to see is a remake of Duke Nukem: Time To Kill.

    • The Random One says:

      Or Zero Hour, which did some nice things but no one played because it was on third person and an N64 exclusive.

      • GameCat says:

        Uhm, you can play Time to Kill on PSX.

        • Jalan says:

          But you can’t play Zero Hour, since it was only released on the N64 which is exactly what The Random One said.

  16. bill says:

    I don’t think Duke has to be all toilet humor, sexism and strippers… those weren’t the key points anyway… but i’m not sure that a top down RPG would particularly appeal.

    It seems like something like Hotline Miami might work. But, imho, the main point was the interactive environments and level design… which means it needs to be a 3D FPS.. but a fun one.

  17. Turkey says:

    The only Build engine game that needs a remake is Bl… William Shatner’s TekWar

  18. XhomeB says:

    People who choose to believe Duke’s character was the reason DNF proved to be an absolute failure should stop deluding themselves. While I agree that some “jokes” simply weren’t funny and the humour took a turn for the worse compared to Duke 3D (disgusting toilet humour and general lack of taste), that wasn’t the core issue.
    DNF was a huge disappointment on two fronts – level design and gameplay in general.
    Duke 3D featured some truly great, colourful, incredibly interactive and reactive levels filled to the brim with secrets, levels which felt relatively open and encouraged exploration, most importantly however, once you’ve unlocked all the doors and flipped some switches here and there you suddenly came to a realization that everything placed within those levels made sense, they felt like actual places for the most part. The gameplay was fast, frantic, and the arsenal at your disposal encouraged experimentation.
    What did we get in DNF? Weapon limits. Atrocious, empty, corridor-like level design straight out from CoD school of FPS. Bland colour palette. Sluggish gameplay – Duke moved slooowly, health regen encouraged the player to be passive, exploration was non-existant. Awful turret sections. Oh, and Duke’s one-liners were neither memorable nor funny. The list goes on.

    • Kobest says:

      Exactly! I played through DN3D: Megaton Edition just a couple of months after going through DNF, and the difference was jarring.

      Colour me interested with this new approach to Duke, but it does sound like they are going after a Christopher Nolan’s Duke Nukem, rather than the 80-90s action hero Nukem. I hope it will be fun, that’s all I’m asking for…

      • Kobest says:

        Oh God, I can already see it…Instead of calling it Batman or Superman or Duke Nukem…it will be called “Man of Kicking Ass”

  19. Jalan says:

    Whatever it ends up being, one thing is certain – the only direction to go is up since it is seemingly impossible to go lower than DNF. Unless there’s a heretofore unmentioned level of video game hell we’ve yet to experience.

  20. HadToLogin says:

    Funny. Duke thought he was on the bottom and now can only get up, but it turns out he was just on large amount of shit and is starting to get even lower.

    Looking forward to someone modding DNF to exchange poo model with box called Duke Nukem mAss Destruction – so fitting.

  21. elmo.dudd says:

    From the people who brought us ROTT with constant cursing and a terrible sense of humor, comes a more refined Duke Nukem? What?

  22. Syme says:

    Bring back the 2d platform game version of Duke where we didn’t actually have to worry about his character and the mostly terrible humor.

    No bring back the version of him that had a cameo role in the 2nd episode of Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure.

    Or bring back Commander Keen as a 31 year old man. I can’t be the only one who’d delight at an “Apogee all-stars revival” game.

  23. Sidewinder says:

    It seems to me that nowadays, we really only have three options: we have “grim, gritty, and “realistic”‘, we have ‘also grim, gritty, and “realistic” but it’s okay because (despite being completely identical to the previous option) it’s “satire”, and we have ‘wistfully looking bad on How Things Used To Be back in The Good Old Days’.

    Whatever happened to Happy? To Bright and Shiny and the Bold, Dashing Hero who Felt Emotions other than Rage and Angst? Where did they go?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed Too Many Titles has plenty of happy bright shiny.

      Yes, I know it all the way over there in karting. The last FPS I knew anything like that was Serious Sam 2…