Duke Nukem Forever's 2001 iteration has seemingly leaked
Mostly test levels, but it's playable
A leaker posting on the message board 4chan has shared a build of Duke Nukem Forever similar to that shown at E3 in 2001. The leaker started posting on Monday and, as collated by Duke fansite duke4.net, has since posted screenshots, videos, and download links. 3D Realms co-founder and Duke Nukem developer George Broussard commented via Twitter that "the leak looks real."
"Almost every chapter is present in some form. A huge chunk is playable, a huge chunk is block-outs with no enemies. All of the E3 content is there," wrote the leaker, posting on the infamous anonymous message board as "x0r". Most of the game's weapons are apparently functional.
The leaker or leakers apparently released the build, its editor and the full source code. However, when confirming the leak looked real, Broussard also urged people to lower their expectations of what would be available.
Yes, the leak looks real. No, I’m not really interested in talking about it or retreading a painful past. You should heavily temper expectations. There is no real game to play. Just a smattering of barely populated test levels. I have no knowledge who leaked this.— George Broussard (@georgebsocial) May 9, 2022
"Yes, the leak looks real. No, I’m not really interested in talking about it or retreading a painful past," wrote Broussard. "You should heavily temper expectations. There is no real game to play. Just a smattering of barely populated test levels. I have no knowledge who leaked this."
The videos viewable on duke4.net include motorbike driving section, and an extended combat scenario set inside a club. It looks rough - and the leaker says that Duke's planned AI sidekick, called Bombshell, is "not visually present in the game at this point."
First announced in 1997, Duke Nukem Forever had a famously protracted development, with several iterations of the game partially created and then scrapped as developers 3D Realms struggled to keep up with design trends and technology. 3D Realms eventually closed down without finishing the game in 2009, leading Gearbox Software to pick up the license, finish the latest iteration of the project and release it to overwhelmgingly negative reviews in 2011.
What we got in 2011 was different than the version in development in 2001, however. I remember seeing the E3 trailer that year and being impressed, although it's hard to imagine it being anything other than a deeply old-fashioned (and unfinished) curio now. I probably won't download it to find out.