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?