Gearbox Software has been in the news quite a bit lately with their upcoming game Battleborn due for release this holiday season and the president of the company Randy Pitchford being in a heated Q&A on Twitter. Well, they're in the news once again but this time regarding Duke Nukem.
According to Eurogamer Pitchford addressed some of the questions that Develop: Brighton gathered off Twitter when they were fielding questions through the AskRandy hashtag, which resulted in some rather enlightening conversations. One of the questions was about Duke Nukem... the game that hasn't seen a proper new release since Duke Nukem Forever, a game that was jammed in development hell for nearly 15 years and released to pretty poor review scores.
According to Pitchford, they have some ideas for Duke but Gearbox won't be the one handling the iconic savior of the Earth, chewer of bubblegum and kicker of arses...
I did not acquire the franchise merely so people could experience Duke Nukem Forever
So far the gaming audience have been disappointed with what Gearbox Software has done (or rather, what they haven't done) with the Duke Nukem license.
Interceptor Entertainment was at one point working on Duke Nukem Reloaded but that didn't seem to pan out following some other IP wrangles with Gearbox.
At this point the company is looking for a third-party developer to outsource the work to, and work closely with that third-party developer as they attempt to build a new game starring the alien-killing hero.
Of course, the word “outsource” will instantly send up red flags for some gamers who are familiar with Gearbox Software and the outsourcing fiasco that occurred with Aliens: Colonial Marines where a lot of the game's assets and design structure were outsourced to Timegate Studios. The whole thing was a massive blunder and after being enticed by the E3 demo for Aliens: Colonial Marines a lot of gamers were hyped and excited about the first-person shooter.
However, Aliens: Colonial Marines turned out to be a pretty poorly made game because several developers had their hand in the pie and a large majority of the game was outsourced. Gearbox, at the time, was heavily involved in Borderlands 3 and couldn't attend to the game with the love and care that they wanted.
Before the Aliens franchise was nearly sullied by the Colonial Marines incident, Sega had Creative Assembly make a horror-oriented game called Alien: Isolation. The game actually managed to do pretty well within the niche horror-survival genre and it gave gamers some hope that the franchise isn't completely lost when it comes to interactive entertainment.
As for Duke Nukem... who knows what his future holds at this point, other than Gearbox. I'm curious what direction they plan on taking the character and which studio they've been eying to bring the action hero back to life? With a lot of the PR missteps Gearbox has had with the community, they need to tread carefully at this point with their properties.