Gearbox estimates original Duke Nukem Forever developer lost $20-$30 million on the title

Thursday, 7th October 2010 15:06 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Gearbox has estimated the original developer of Duke Nukem Forever, 3D Realms, may have lost around $20-$30 million on the title.

Speaking in an interview with CVG during a press junket in London this morning, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford told the site the hefty sum likely came out of 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard’s own pocket.

“There was the bad news in May 2009,” Pitchford said. “You all saw the stories; 3D Realms was shutting down, Duke was dead. That sucked. It was tough being in Dallas, many of my friends lost their jobs.

“I spoke to George Broussard and he said, ‘Randy, this is the worst day of my life’ but you could hear in his voice there was more. This was 12 years of his life… try and imagine what you’ve achieved in 12 years, Gearbox has made 15 games in that time.

“George is not a poor man, but I would estimate that he lost 20 to 30 million dollars of his own money on Duke Nukem Forever – I don’t care who you are, that’s a hell of a lot of money. He was committed to Duke to the point of insanity – and now Duke was dead.

“He decided he would rather have it burn that have a bad version of the game come out.”

Pitchford told VG247 during PAX Prime last month Broussard is still involved with DNF, and is working alongside Gearbox on the title.

It was announced this week that those purchasing the GOTY Edition of Borderlands would receive an early access demo of Duke Nukem Forever via a key included in the package.

No date was set for the demo, but Pitchford told us during the game’s reveal a PAX a demo was “an important thing to do” for fans.

DNF is slated for released next year on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.



  1. Erthazus

    12 year of developing… Not a surprise.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Michael O’Connor

    @1 For 12 years, I’m surprised it’s not more, actually.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Freek

    Little know fact, Gerbox is an internal team at Gearbox finishing off DNF. They’re a special dev team consisting entirely of Gerbils. It’s leading to some interesting design choices but it’s still Duke at heart.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Michael O’Connor

    *watches a vein pop in Steph’s neck*

    #4 4 years ago
  5. StolenGlory


    Agreed. That figure seems a little on the low side, but then again presumably middleware costs were a *lot* cheaper back then in comparison to what they are now.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    @2 12 years ago to develop games you don’t need millions actually. It’s just by the time everything went on and on, than he started to lose more and more.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Michael O’Connor

    @6 It’s a lot of paychecks.

    Though I’d honestly be surprised if they ever actually did any real work in those 12 years.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. StolenGlory


    Good point. Curiously, I wonder what size of team they were fielding for it.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Freek

    @4, it’s all in good fun, hell, half the stuff I type in here probably isn’t even considered english.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Razor

    The team developing it was only tiny though IIRC, so that’s probably why it didn’t cost a great more.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. DSB

    He seems to be talking about Broussards personal capital. That’s seemingly not counting Take Two or other companies and people who have invested in the game, or even 3D Realms own capital.

    I’m pretty sure it’s more than 20-30 million for 12 years of development. Once you change the engine, you’re gonna have major problems adjusting, and I think DNF did that twice or so?

    Didn’t Take Two sue for the money they lost?

    #11 4 years ago
  12. El_MUERkO

    Just back from today’s demo launch thing :)

    Got to play around 15 minutes of Duke Nukem Forever and I really enjoyed it, very much a sequel that takes the best bits of the original and some stuff from modern shooters.

    There are boss fights, vehicle and on rails sections as well as plenty of grunts to fight. Enemies aren’t as smart as Halo but in my mind its a game that wants you in the action mowing them down and not behind cover.

    The humour is deep in the toilet and something of a guilty pleasure in these politically correct times and there’ll be fatality/finishing moves too so know doubt it’ll get a lot of stick for some of it.

    There will be a special edition that will include the unused content from past versions of the game over it’s 14 years of development, they’ll be in a non-playable form.

    The game will be a lot longer/bigger than most current AAA games.

    Multiplayer is in and expansive, all the cool weapons are back like the freeze ray, holo-duke and pipebombs which made Duke 3D such a unique experience.

    I had a grin on my face throughout the demo and it’s a day one purchase!

    PS: Someone needs to make that Duke controller!

    #12 4 years ago
  13. DuckOfDestiny


    “PS: Someone needs to make that Duke controller!”

    Yeah, you heard what Pitchford said, we need to demand it to be made.

    #13 4 years ago

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