What just happened? Footage from a purported original build of Duke Nukem Forever from 2001 hit the Internet over the weekend, and the leaker teased plans to release the game in June. Some are no doubt clinging to hope that the community can finish up what 3D Realms started decades ago, but that all hinges on whether or not the leaker can deliver the goods next month.
Fan site Duke 4 has a solid summary of the 4chan thread where the intel originated, which has since been archived. According to the poster, nearly every chapter in the game is present in some sort and a lot of it is playable. Most of the weapons are also functional, save for the chainsaw and the freezer.
All of the content from the E3 2001 trailer is included, although this isn't the E3 2001 build.
The leaker shared several screenshots and videos supporting the claim.
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
George Broussard, the game's original director, commented on the leak on Twitter. While he said it does look real, he warned that fans should temper expectations as there "is no real game to play" and that it's just "a smattering of barely populated test levels."
Broussard added that he had no idea who leaked it, and that he wasn't really interested in talking about it or "retreading a painful past."
Duke Nukem Forever was originally announced in 1997. More than a decade later, it still hadn't arrived. In 2009, developer 3D Realms ran out of money and killed the project. Gearbox Software eventually bought the rights to the game, finished it up and launched it in mid-2011 to dismal reviews.