Jun 13

Lessons from Duke Nukem

Everyone who plays games knows Duke Nukem 3D. A game where you blast aliens, with huge guns, gore and all-round mayhem. No, not much we can learn from that but the story of Duke Nukem didn’t end there.

The sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, was announced in April 1997.

In the years that followed, the title was highly anticipated. Then, as time went on, a little less anticipated. Until the game became a running joke. Well, it came out finally on Friday. 14 years later.

And I’m not sure anybody really cares. It’s really just a curiosity at this stage. As such, its sales may not end up being all that terrible. But it’s not how it was meant to be. It’s not the smash of hype and controversy that I’m sure they were planning for in the late ’90s.

Steve Jobs, of Apple, Antennagate and more, is quoted as saying, “real artists ship”.

He’s right.

You can spend your life making the most amazing thing ever and it doesn’t matter a damn if you don’t get it out there. And you have to get it out there when people still care. My industry has no shortage of artists. But far fewer people who ship. Even I have drawers full of projects that just lost momentum because they didn’t get out there in time.

Those projects will never matter.

So, when working on anything, it’s important to bear in mind the fate of Duke Nukem Forever, a once highly anticipated game.

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