Groovy! Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour Announced

Duke Nukem very nearly said, “It’s time to announce a video game and prematurely leak the announcement of the aforementioned video game, and I’m all out of leaks.” Very nearly. As rumoured, Gearbox Software last night announced Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour [official site]. It’s an expanded and revamped re-release of 3D Realms’ 1996 proto-Gone Home FPS, including a new episode and an (optional) 3D graphical makeover. What’s neat is that Gearbox have reunited some of the old gang, including level designers, a musicman, and of course the voice of Duke.

So! Duke Nukem 3D, to briefly explain, is an FPS from 1996 best known for having a squillion environmental bits to interact with and starring a wisecracking ’80s action movie hero who’s mighty teed off that aliens have come to Earth to cause mischief and abduct our busty babes. ikr. Because Gearbox haven’t released a version of Duke Nukem 3D themselves since buying the franchise and finishing Duke Nukem Forever, here comes this.

The base of World Tour is Duke Nukem 3D plus its first expansion, then Gearbox and Nerve Software are expanding that with a new eight-level episode visiting Amsterdam, Egypt, Hollywood, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome’s Colosseum, and San Francisco.

Original level designers Allen Blum III and Richard Gray (LEVELORD!) are returning for that new episode, which is a nice idea. Also returning is Lee Jackson, who composed Duke’s iconic ‘Grabbag’ theme song and will bring new music to World Tour. And yep, Jon St. John will be speaking new lines for Duke. Also fancy in this edition is developer commentary. Plus a 3D makeover which I don’t really dig because the lighting really jars with the game’s original style – but hey, it’ll have an option to toggle between that and the original look as we please.

Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour is due out on October 11th, priced at £14.99/19,99€/$19.99. Duke Nukem 3D’s Atomic Edition, which contains the original game plus its first expansion, cost $5.99 on digital stores until it was pulled from sale. The Megaton Edition, which included more expansions plus a 3D makeover, was $9.99 before it too was pulled. The World Tour’s new content cost money to make, absolutely, but it’d be a shame if Gearbox didn’t eventually return Regular Plain Old Duke 3D to stores too. Recontextualising and expanding are fine but preservation’s important too.

The big question is: will Duke keep borrowing lines from ’80s and ’90s action movies, or will he update his retro references to the noughties? You know, lines from films like 300, Planet Terror, Live Free or Die Hard, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Avatar.

“I see you” -Duke Nukem, 2016?


  1. kevmscotland says:

    I grudgingly bought Homeworld Remastered from Gearbox (at a highly discounted sale price I might add) because I wanted a version that worked well on modern systems.

    That aside however, I’m still bitter over the A:CM debacle and refuse to give Gearbox and Randy Pitchford any more of my money. This 20th Anniversary Edition looks absolutely not worth my time given I own several versions of the Megaton Edition (before they bought Duke).

  2. acheron says:

    Wow, probably have not thought about “Levelord” in 19 years. Kinda cool they’re bringing some of the old gang back.

    However, I’m still waiting on a remastered version of the original side-scrolling, pink-shirt-clad, Oprah-watching Duke. Did Gearbox get the rights to that too or was it just the 3D games?

    • vorador says:

      If you asked the shambling corpse of 3D Realms, they didn’t.
      If you asked Gearbox, they did.

      They where sold on Steam under the 3D Realms brand until Gearbox and 3D Realms lawsuit ended. Gearbox now has the uncontested rights and who knows when they will be released again.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    It’s a cool idea, but yeah, pulling the originals from sale is kind of gross. What if someone doesn’t want the new stuff and just wants to play this very important game from 1996? Why do they now have to pay $20 instead of $6 for the pleasure?

    Good thing I got it in bundles!

    • Jalan says:

      Devolver getting caught in the crossfire of the 3DR v. Gearbox Duke Smackdown was unfortunate. Megaton Edition might not have been “perfect” but it offered up ways to play both an updated take as well as the original (and the opportunity to use the original in sourceports like eDuke32/etc). Gearbox not allowing Devolver to continue to sell it was absolutely nothing but a total dick move.

      • Catterbatter says:

        Somehow I missed all the drama. I own Megaton, so I’m kind of OK with whatever, but it does sound silly what happened. Mainly I bought it on Steam for the memories, but I never saw the game as anything more than a dumb, irreverent joke. Maybe I was older than the target audience.

        • Jalan says:

          When news started to break about Gearbox getting full control of the Duke IP, Devolver seemed confident (at the time) that they could still distribute the Megaton Edition without issue. Then, not long after GOG had a “Everything Duke Nukem Must Go” sale, the Megaton Edition vanished from (official, non-reseller) storefronts with little more than a whisper.

          Unfortunately a common misconception seems to have sprung up around a tweet from someone at Gearbox back in February regarding whether the Megaton Edition would reappear at a later date, just flying the Gearbox banner in the publisher section of things. The statement given to the person asking the question was to keep watch to see what Gearbox was going to do with the IP next (which, as we now know, is this World Tour release) but some people have interpreted that tweet to otherwise indicate that Gearbox would be bringing the Megaton Edition back to storefronts which, barring someone from Gearbox outright saying that’s what will happen, is looking more and more like a wistful fever dream of a few diehard Duke 3D fans.

          • Catterbatter says:

            At least now I understand the other comments. Thank you.

    • LapisExilis says:

      Hi Aerothorn!
      Actually it’s reply to your comment about “build engine comic” in Best Duke Nukem game post year ago.
      Don’t know why I started to google it, but answer was found pretty fast and you can get your comiс here link to Enjoy!

  4. Kong says:

    Make me play Schwarzenegger Dickhead shooting pigs and swine. Guts and gore, dirty one liners, fuck pc.
    Pissing in toilets will not cut it in my 21st. Let me mark my territory whenever, wherever I feel like it. Go postal.

  5. vorador says:

    I have the Megaton Edition so for that price i’m not interested. Even the upgraded visuals don’t look anything to write home about when eDuke32 is readily available.

    I will wait for a discount.

  6. G_Man_007 says:

    So, no mention that on the official website the new 3D graphical bits are listed as Win10? I’d like that clarified, as that’s not really on, leaving (at the very least) Win7 and Win8 behind for a game that you could originally run on Win98.

    • Marclev says:

      After a year of Windows 10 being a free upgrade, anybody still on Windows 7 or 8 really only has themselves to blame.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        No, while there’s a whole big and entirely valid argument to be had about whether or not folks should have to update to a new version of windows (free or otherwise) in order to enjoy new games, that’s really not the issue the above commenter was raising. As they pointed out, this is not a new game, this is a game that originally ran on much, much older OSs (I could have sworn you could run it in dos, actually). If this re-release is win10 only (and I haven’t bothered to check, myself, since I own two seperate versions of duke3D already), there’s definitely good reason to make that complaint. Especially since they’ve already pulled the older, win7/8 compatible version from sale.

        • Catterbatter says:

          Looking at the *minimum* system requirements on Steam, this is definitely not the original game. They describe a moderately decked out rig circa 2007, which would have been frankly unimaginable when Duke 3D released.

        • Marclev says:

          My reading was that it was just the new graphical enhancements that needed Windows 10, and that they were optional. If you can’t play the entire thing without W10, then yes that would indeed be a very valid complaint for a 20 year old game!

  7. Jalan says:

    This definitely a “wait for a discount” scenario as far I and my money are concerned. The idea of pre-ordering it, even knowing what effort they have put toward it, is just not going to happen.

  8. feverberries says:

    Help me! I can’t feel the groove!

  9. kalirion says:

    Megaton Edition was great. And these guys forced it from the stores, and aren’t even adding the expansions into their own overpriced Anniversary Edition. Why the hell would I wanna give them my money?

  10. wyrm4701 says:

    Yeah, Randy Pitchford and Gearbox won’t be getting any money from me, ever.

  11. Xiyng says:

    I think this is by far the worst case of removing the cheaper original only to replace it with a barely upgraded newer version that just *happens* to cost a lot more than the original. Whatever they’ve done for this game isn’t even nearly worth the 20€ they’re asking. The graphics upgrade simply isn’t worth it and I’m honestly baffled as to why they even bothered, and the new episode simply isn’t worth that much. As it is, this is the single most disrespectful move in gaming I can remember. I don’t really mind them asking that much for this, but when you remove other, cheaper options is when it becomes bad, or just evil.

    • Jalan says:

      Releasing Duke Nukem Forever was just the tip of the disrespectful iceberg.

      • Xiyng says:

        Oh yeah, I know. It’s just the worst instance I can remember myself.

  12. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Oh man. I wasn’t interested any more than it took to read about it, but now…Lee Jackson! Grabbag is pretty great and all, but I’ve been playing the piss out of his ROTT midis these last two weeks. Can’t wait to hear what he comes up with.

  13. skorpeyon says:

    I’m not sure if this is what the announcement is for or not (updated graphics can mean a lot of things), but I honestly just want an official, well-done, remake of the traditional game with true 3D graphics. I’m happy playing the classic version, but I think it’d be fun to see updated and “HD”-ified. Even better would be something like the remade Halo games on Xbox One or the remade Monkey Island games where you could flip back and forth between classic and new graphics at will.

  14. Marclev says:

    I never got further than a few levels of the second episode of the original. It was just obvious that all the effort went into the shareware episode and the second episode was a straightforward corridor shooter.

    Not that I’m particularly interested in buying this (rose tinted glasses are called that for a reason), but does it pick up again after that, and with the expansions, enough to warrant all the effort?

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      There’s nothing straight-forward about episode 2, and it has plenty of great moments throughout. I’d also like to comment though that you by no means require ‘rose-tinted’ anything to enjoy Duke3D for the dumb, fun shooter it is even today. Both these statements are backed up by the fact that I recently played through episodes 1-4 again in singleplayer, and even more recently did episode 2 with my brother in co-op, and had a BLAST both times.

      To actually address your question though, even though I think we’ve established by this point that we have different tastes, the game does take a turn back toward the direction of episode 1 after you clear episode 2. Shrapnel City, the third episode, is quite a bit more like the first, open ended with bigger spaces and some pretty unique set-pieces that I won’t spoil. (There’s plenty of that in episode 2 as well, grumble grumble, etc. ) Episode 4 is a hell of a mixed bag but has some good stuff.

      I’ve never bothered with the other expansion stuff and so can’t comment on that.

  15. syllopsium says:

    What’s the point? Pretty certain it’s not really better than eDuke32 and the original files (which of course they’ve pulled from sale).

    It’s definitely a decent game though, I had a blast replaying all of the first and some of the second episode in eDuke32.