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Interview – Gearbox’s Martel on DNF: “He’s the king”

Friday, 3 September 2010 20:36 GMT By Patrick Garratt

duke3

Duke Nukem Forever is releasing for PS3, PC and 360 next year. Gearbox said so this morning in Seattle. After playing the game and sending back impressions, VG247′s Steph Nunneley got herself in front of Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel to quiz him on the story of the game surviving the 3DRealms meltdown, diversity and linearity in the shooter, vehicle combat, multiplayer, and loads more.

Hit it.

Interview by Stephany Nunneley.

VG247: Did you previously worked at 3DRealms?

Brian Martel: I previously worked at 3DRealms. Randy and I [spent] our first days there. I was an artist and he was a level designer. We just happened to sit next to each other and really started to collaborate on all the levels that we worked on. We built a bond, a really great friendship, and we eventually started Gearbox together. That was how we met.

Did you work on Duke Nukem at 3DRealms?

I did. In fact, I worked on the Atomic Edition. I also worked a little bit on Duke Nukem Forever. It went through a number of engines. I actually worked on a version back when it was still the build engine.

This game’s been through a lot. There have been lawsuits, cancellations, the team getting laid off. After 3DRealms ended and 2K said it wanted to do something with the game, did you jump at the chance or did they come to you because you’d previously worked on it?

Brian Martel: We kind of also went to them, to broker the idea of, ‘Hey, we’re really good friends with these guys over at 3DRealms. It’s really unfortunate that the lay-offs happened and those kind of things, but we really don’t want to see this thing die. We think we can facilitate a way to make this thing see the light of day.’

We’ve got a great rapport with 2K, and then there was our relationship with 3DRealms; it was just a natural fit to get everything out of the way, clear the air and make sure we could pull it off.

We were able to get the guys that were working on the game back together, and working with us, working with Gearbox. It’s a good relationship.

So how long has all this been going on behind the scenes?

Brian Martel: It’s been quite a while. Probably since a little while after everybody knew about the cancellation. Beinhd the scenes we were thinking about how to do it, talking to everybody. Things had to happen fast before everyone spread to the winds and we lost that institutional knowledge.

This is a crazy game, and you want to make sure you have the right people that can do all that stuff stay together.

You said the game had switched engines quite a few times. Which one are you using on it now?

Brian Martel: Well, we don’t really want to talk about the tech. We want to talk about the game. We’re going to leave it at that.

OK. How far along was the game when you finally got hold of it? How much work had been done?

Brian Martel: In 12 years, a lot of work had been done. It was epic. There were more levels than you could probably put into the game. All the levels were finished to different quality.

What we really did was work with these guys to narrow it down to the best, right sort of diversity of levels, to the crazy gameplay that you expect out of Duke. That was the key aspect: bringing all this stuff together. It’s a big game, and there was a lot already done, but it was really a matter of polishing and getting it ready.

We’ve heard rumours that there may be a demo pretty soon.

Brian Martel: I don’t know anything about that.

You’re looking at sometime in 2011, so we’re maybe looking at spring?

Brian Martel: We’re just saying 2011. Obviously, with Duke Nukem, and especially DNF, you don’t want to come out and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be this date.’ You’d better be sure and everything better be right. It’s 2011.

And PC, PS3 and 360?

Brian Martel: Correct, yeah.

Duke’s always been over the top, and what I played involving the big Cyclops thing is definitely over the top. Can we expect a lot of different enemies and diversity?

Brian Martel: You can expect a lot of the things that you may remember from Duke 3D, all of it obviously updated and changed. Then there’s a lot of new, big, giant boss monsters and tons of other creatures. I don’t know exactly what the numbers are, but I can tell you that it’s very, very diverse throughout the whole of the game. I mean, the types of things that you do in the game, plus the things that you’re fighting.

I noticed there were many different environments. I’ve played Borderlands and it’s massive, so how big a scope are we talking in DNF?

Brian Martel: It’s not as open-world as Borderlands of course. We’re really talking about a shooter shooter. But we have things like using an RC car to solve puzzles, and it really harks back to the days of the old shooters: solving puzzles, having great combat, solving some other puzzles, doing something epic, and that kind of rhythm that you expect from games of yore, if you will.

But now, obviously, everything’s next-gen and looks amazing, and frankly it’s kind of rare to see anything like this in contemporary games.

So, as far as diversity, and just wacky gameplay and epic scale goes, there are times when you’re on the sides of buildings fighting a monster, there are times when your’e in tunnels and things like that, you’re out driving a big truck; just cool stuff.

We saw different vehicles to drive, and he was crashing through enemies. So there it vehicular combat?

Brian Martel: Yep, absolutely.

And big over-the-top weapons and wisecracks.

Brian Martel: Yep. He’s the king.

You said that y’all are going to talk about multiplayer at a later date. Any idea when?

Brian Martel: As soon as soon.

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22 Comments

  1. RETARDED VIKING

    So it’s a little sandboxy? like Deus ex/half-life? cause that’ll be pretty cool imo.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. azmza

    2011 it will be great year for FPS!.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Robo_1

    Interesting that they’re not talking about the tech, as I’d love to know what the hell is powering it these days. Good interview though, no mention of Randy’s wife though?

    Taken from the IGN interview:

    “The Gearbox boss also related his wife’s insistence that he take up Duke’s cause and that if he succeeded in making it happen, she’d give him – and this a direct quote – a “Chilean Miner.” She would “go down the shaft and stay ’til Christmas.” ”

    Which provided a rather guilty lol. :D

    #3 5 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 Quote of the year right there!

    Where I come from we call that earning your fucking ring, but whatever :P

    #4 5 years ago
  5. xino

    using ID Tech 5 or Rage’s tech (IDTECH 4 right?)

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Anders

    Rage uses id Tech 5, and I would be very surprised if that’s the engine Gearbox is using for Duke Nukem Forever. Based on the impressions from the demo, the game seems too far along for that.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. LOLshock94

    time to kick ass and chew bubble gum and am all out gum

    #7 5 years ago
  8. LOLshock94

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoRJlEbNVAs gameplay

    #8 5 years ago
  9. BULArmy

    The game use Unreal 2.5

    #9 5 years ago
  10. wiking

    @5 I think Bethesda have said if you want tech5 they have to publish the game, which obviously isn’t the case with Duke, so tech 5 seems unlikely.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. LOLshock94

    yo vg has gearbox said anything about alien colonial marines?

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Erthazus

    @9 It uses Id Tech 4 now.

    It used 2.5 Unreal Engine before.

    PS:

    So what can i say… thats sucks ass. The game will flop with this engine. Clearly it is ugly as FUCK. The reason is simple. This game could be a masterpiece like 7 years ago, but now it can save only Gameplay.

    Gameplay is the key here, with graphics and design you can forget something next Gen and thats not good at all.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    I fail to see why all the excitement about this Duke Nukem game.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Anders

    Prototype used id Tech 4, and looked… Decent.

    @13 Gearbox have a nice track record. It’ll be interesting to see what they’ll do with the IP.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. DSB

    @14 That’s what I’m pinning my hopes on. DNF probably hasn’t aged well, but hopefully Gearbox will keep the IP and come back with something even better.

    @12 That’s what people said about Deus Ex when they picked a shitty engine. People don’t give a shit about technology, they give a shit about how it’s applied.

    That being said, DNF is an ancient game by now.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    @15 Engine is the most important part when you build a game. Without it designer will never achieve a vision of his game. Never and no matter how you will dance on the table.

    @14 I don’t know if it was made out of Id Tech 4, but it was ugly as fuck. But when you will see games like Brink it looks awesome.

    Here Duke looks way, way too outdated. Just outdated for 6-7 years at minimum. Textures are just bland. It’s something between Prey, Doom 3 and Half-Life 2.

    I’m curious to see if this thing will live up to the hype. Gameplay can save Duke Nukem’s Ass. If graphics sucks so much, than gameplay must be perfect for the Duke Nukem game at least.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Isaaclarke37

    I want to see more footage and behind the scene maybe, developer diaries and stuff.
    Even a documentary about the game and why it took so long with a special edition for the game with an action figure for Duke.

    I can’t wait for more.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Kuwabara

    its looks better than halo reach!

    #18 5 years ago
  19. DSB

    @16 Keep the faith man. Nobody cares about engines. The average gamer wouldn’t know the difference between one or the other. Technology doesn’t matter, talent and imagination does.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Erthazus

    @19 Average is average. But i care about the technology, gameplay, design, sound, graphics and the story (why i play games or Metal Gear). Thats important for me. I see huge fail here in one direction at least. Still need to see HD video of that trailer.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. DSB

    @20 Fair enough, but the best craftsman doesn’t neccesarily need the best piece of wood to make something special.

    I wouldn’t advise you to ever buy a Duke game for story though. It’s purely for people who can appreciate huge monsters, huge guns, and equally huge tits.

    I don’t think it’s looking that bad. It seems to have escaped the uncanny valley of Doom 3.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. shadowscrawl

    anyone who thinks that an engine makes a game and not the other way around needs only take a look at modern warfare 2 and then play quake 3

    yes that’s right boys and girls its the same engine

    engines can be added to as needed

    the final quality of a game has nothing to do with what engine it is released on and everything to do with what the devs do with said engine

    anyone by the way who doubts the fact that mw2 was made on a modified verson of the quake 3 engine (id tech 3) need only read here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity_Ward
    under game engines

    (“Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare runs on a proprietary game engine (from an open source version of id Tech 3″)

    #22 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain Day 1 and Collector’s Edition revealed

    Konami has officially revealed the release date of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain alongside the game’s Day 1 and Collector’s Edition. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release September 1, worldwide, as previously leaked. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PC Steam […]