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Is The 'Duke Nukem Forever' Cancellation A Huge Publicity Stunt?

sjohnson
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Posted May 12, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

Duke Nuke Em Forever

Here's a jumbo-size internet-born conspiracy theory for you: The cancellation of long awaited FPS Duke Nukem Forever is nothing but a huge P.R. stunt to drum up interest in the title. Here's the (scant) evidence:

  • The website Save Duke Nukem was registered the day the game was announced as canceled.
  • The site Save Duke was registered the day before the announcement was made.
  • Both sites were registered by anonymous proxy, something fans probably wouldn't do-- someone is trying to cover something up!
  • A ton of material (screenshots and videos as well as detailed design documents) was leaked immediately following the games official cancellation. The theory goes: If 3D Realms had all of this material sitting around while their company crumbled, and the games was this close to completion, why wouldn't they have used it to save the company and the game?
  • UFOs are, like, totally real and the president and the CIA know it.
  • The point of the subterfuge: To drum up user interest in the Duke franchise and put it into the forefront of gamers' minds by creating a fake grass-roots "Save Duke" movement.

Let me propose an alternate theory:

  • These two sites were registered by employees of the company who knew the company was shutting down, or even fans who heard rumors before the news actually broke.
  • All these leaks are actually that: Leaks. They were released more to secure future employment for laid-off artists and programmers than to drum up interest in Forever. If you take a look at the videos, they're pretty far from the kind of polished, finished product game companies release to promote their game, but they're exactly like the kind of thing artists put on their "reels."
  • There is no fake grass-roots campaign. Everything we know officially about the game is actually the truth and no one is trying to manipulate gamers' minds.

The conspiracy aspects of this story seem pretty ridiculous to me. That a company would release detailed design documents that provide the entire game plot and every spoiler in it would be unprecedented. If it is a P.R. stunt, it's a very, very complete one. And a very unlikely one. It's not like 3D Realms would need to do anything but set a definite release date and put out a demo to gain the attention of the entire gaming world, so it would prove ultimately pointless. Besides, pretending your company has gone out of business to promote a game seems like an suicidal strategy, in a business sense.

As for the future of Duke, I think we'll see it -- eventually. Someone will (hopefully) snap up the rights to the seemingly almost finished game and put it out. I'm an eternal optimist, here, though. It's been more than a decade, and for all that time I've thought the game was coming.

Which brings me to the third theory: The whole thing is half P.R. stunt and half truth. This theory goes like this: Someone (as yet unknown) has concrete plans to publish the Duke game, and is using the closing of 3D Realms and some future "grassroots" Save Duke campaign as part of publicity-generating ploy. More likely than the original conspiracy, but still not too likely. After all, as mentioned, all the gaming world would need to catch fire with Duke-fever would be a demo and a release date.

In any case, unlike most conspiracy theories, this one should be resolved relatively quickly. We've put our feelers out to some acquaintances who worked at 3D Realms, and hopefully we'll hear something definite soon... Unless, of course, I am part of the conspiracy, and I'm only trying to draw your attention away from what's really going on here, which is complicated and involves reverse vampires. Ha, ha, I'm just joking.

...or am I?

 Feel free to opine, speculate and spin wild theories in our comment section below; after all, what good is a conspiracy theory without uninformed and/or hysterical opinions?

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Tags: Videogames
Is The 'Duke Nukem Forever' Cancellation A Huge Publicity Stunt?
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