Pigs fly! Duke Nukem Forever to ship in 2011

It took a different developer to get it on track, but it looks like Gearbox is going to make Duke Nukem Forever a reality

To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are lies, damned lies, and Duke Nukem Forever stories. The game's been vaporware for over a decade. Leaked screens and gameplay videos from so-called alpha versions occasionally emerge then fade in a muddle of half-baked theories, forum mockery, and fan dismay. When the game's now defunct publisher 3D Realms talk about the game these days, few listen.

Until today, that is.

Yesterday 3D Realms president George Broussard teased gamers with a picture of pigs flying. (In a 2006 1UP interview, Broussard joked the game would be out when pigs flew.) Today, he's explaining what that means. Or at least the game's new developer is.

At PAX Prime 2010, Gearbox (Brothers in Arms, Borderlands) president Randy Pitchford confirmed rumors that his studio has assumed responsibility for the practically mothballed shooter. What's more, he announced it'll be playable--that's right, playable--on the show floor.

"People seem to be enjoying the game a lot," reads a dispatch from 2K Games' Twitter feed. "How many [PAX] folks thought they'd leave Seattle having played [Duke Nukem Forever]?"

The game, due in 2011, will be available simultaneously for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows.

"Duke Nukem, the interactive entertainment industry's most irreverent and quoted character of all time, will bring his signature brand of babe-lovin', cigar-smoking, beer-chugging and ass-kicking action as he once again saves the Earth and our babes from hordes of invading aliens," wrote 2K Games in a press statement. "In other shocking news, Duke Nukem Forever will be playable right now for all attendees 17 and older of this year's Penny Arcade Expo at the 2K Booth...giving the first hands-on experience with the game that was originally announced during the tail end of the Clinton Administration."

"All great things take time... a lot of time," said 2K president Christoph Hartmann. "After a hiatus from the video game world, Duke Nukem is back and better than ever. The return of the King from the glory days of shooters will satisfy our patient, die-hard fans, as well as a new generation of bubble gum-chewing, flat top and shades-wearing bad-asses."

"Make no mistake about it--Duke Nukem Forever is a testament to the era of when shooters were bodacious and fun."

It's been so long I don't remember how the last one ended, but I do remember the multiplayer matches with freeze-rays, shrink-guns, and the helpless terror of a gigantic boot filling my CRT. In DNF, it sounds like the alien pig cops and titanic bosses are back, along with plenty of profanity and anatomical ogling.

"This game puts pedal to the metal and tongue firmly in cheek, among other places," reads 2K's description. "Shoot hoops, lift weights, read adult magazines, draw crude messages on whiteboards or ogle one of the many beautiful women that populate Duke's life; that is if you can pull yourself away long enough from kicking ass and taking names."

If anyone can pull it off, well--Gearbox isn't faultless when it comes to game design, but they're light years ahead of 3D Realms. Kudos to George Broussard and company for finally stepping aside.

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