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View Full Version : Mind blowing conspiracy behind Duke Nukem Forever, 3D Realms, and Epic Games


Nick
07-05-2009, 04:28 PM
As you may, or may not, have heard, 3D Realms is closing up shop. 3D Realms is the developer behind the notorious game Duke Nukem Forever, which was in development for 13 years to date.

This story was posted on Charlie Weiderheld's(3DR from 1998-2006, now employed by Infinity Ward) personal blog. It tells of a mafioso-style conspiracy story hatched by 3DRealms and Epic Games. Full story is here (http://gamingisstupid.com/2009/05/06/the-chair-story-revival/), excerpts below. I'll let you come to your own conclusions...

This all took place at E3 2001. I don?t know who here knows much about what things were like at that E3 but I?ll give a brief breakdown. DNF was being published by Gathering of Developers. They were known for being eccentric as publishers go, but had the best booths at E3 if you could get in. Rather than putting up a booth on the main floor, they rented out the parking lot across from the Staples Center, fenced it in and blocked off visibility. You could only get in if you were on the list, or for certain specified viewing events.

The DNF 2001 trailer was out as everyone knows, and it was doing insanely well. The entire team was jazzed, people seemed to really love it and all anyone kept asking was ?When the hell do we get to play this oh god!?!?!?

Before heading out to E3, George and Scott Miller had arranged a meeting between Epic, 3DR, and the people who had worked on Duke 3D but weren?t working on DNF. The intent of this meeting was? you guessed it? how best to handle the future of the Duke franchise. Epic was invited because having Duke around on the Unreal Engine was a constant PR boon for them. So they are almost just as invested in how well Duke does as 3DR (as you will see later). It was a secret meeting (there were actually two meetings, but I?ll get to that later), not even the publisher knew about it (except Mike Wilson? he was operating outside of the Gathering of Developer?s authority). The people there were Scott Miller, George Broussard, Cliffy B, Mark Rein, Tim Sweeney, Levelord, Allen Blum, Keith Schuler, myself, Brandon Reinhart, Mike Wilson, and even Todd Replogle and Ken Silverman made the trip out there.

Scott quickly got to the point. Max Payne was going to do gangbusters? and 3DR had some other stuff up their sleeves that would be generating so much revenue for 3DR that they could continue on indefinitely? or at least another 5-10 years? without making a dime on internal development. Scott being the marketing buff he is (and Mark Rein being pretty much the same for Epic), they got this idea for how to generate the biggest story in the history of gaming. DNF being a monster hit is fine, but it wouldn?t make ?forever? history. As you can tell from the name and what I?m about to describe, Scott and George apparently had this idea from the very start but weren?t sure they were going to act on it, but there wasn?t any harm in using a name that would play into it. So in order to make ?Forever? history there was only one way to do that, and that is to turn it into something completely unprecedented in the industry. Turn it into the sort of thing that will be talked about 100 years from now.

I?m sure you can guess where this is ultimately going.

See in 2001 the jokes about DNF being late and vaporware were already widespread. It had already won the damn Wired vaporware award twice. Here was the funny thing? the attention on the game was actually only getting stronger, not weaker. It was the release of the video and how it was received that put the nail in the coffin. The game just had something that nothing else in the industry had and there wasn?t any way in hell such an opportunity could be missed. The attention had peaks and valleys, but it was looking sustainable.

The plan was actually pretty simple? create the longest developed game in history that eventually is one of the greatest games ever made. You have the time to work on it properly (no ****), so given the intelligence and talent of all the people involved, it was a pretty good bet. All 3DR had to do was make money on other stuff. All Epic had to do was open up a wide channel between the two companies. 3DR would serve as a research house for future Epic engine updates, but also give 3DR everything they did as well. The boots on the ground just had to keep the drum beating and keep the image of business as usual going. The truly hard to swallow part of this was some of us had to eventually leave, but we were guaranteed we?d be ok. All we had to do was let go of the idea of just making DNF in the traditional way? which I?m ashamed to admit was easier to let go of than I thought it would be.

In fact, with my role in this, I wouldn?t ever really work on the ?real? DNF. That was a tough pill to swallow, but again the big picture looked good.

What Epic got out of this whole deal was basically this mystery project that is a constant ?customer? of their engine, with people always speculating on whether it was updated to the newest one or not, etc. You would be surprised at how many licenses this has helped sell through the years. Who said business made any sense? Not to mention a team to just do research into engine upgrades without any pressure of actually releasing anything. Huge advantage. Notice that Epic really pulled ahead in the engine licensing business after 2001? That?s *not* an accident.

See next post...

Nick
07-05-2009, 04:30 PM
We all came back the next day (Cliffy in white thankfully, not red). We went around and gave our thoughts on things after having a night to sleep on it. Scott and George wanted to get paperwork signed that day if we were going to attempt it at all. This seemed *way* too soon and I didn’t have a lawyer around to read the contract or anything. I was young, but I had had enough experience by that point to know you don’t sign a contract of any significance without having a lawyer read it. Unfortunately it was made clear that this offer was active only so long as we were all in the room. Once any one of us left it was void and Scott, George, and Mark Rein (the three that put it together) would deny all knowledge. They had never done any discussions of this in written form except the contracts which Scott Miller was holding.

That was pressure… here was this deal where I would be set for life, and if I backed out of it, it would blow the whole thing for both companies and everyone involved. Not only would I be backing out of the opportunity of a lifetime, but I would also be ruined in the industry because those guys have way more power than I do. I wanted to do it, but how do you commit on such short notice and without really knowing what you are signing?

I was told to think about my next words very carefully before giving my final answer. Honestly, I felt this was a test to see how well I would hold up to pressure later when we had to “hold the lie” (the similarity to “hold the line” isn’t on accident), so I held firm and said I really wanted to, but needed to have it reviewed…

oh ****…

Faster than I can even remember (literally… I don’t remember) I was knocked out of my chair by I *think* of all people Tim Sweeney (it was a wooden kitchen chair) and was pinned on the ground by Mike Wilson and Cliffy B (he’s so much stronger than I ever expected). George walks over to my chair and ****ing stomps the **** out of it until the legs are broken off. He casually picks up one of the legs that had split into a **** your pants style point and starts tossing it up and down. Scott and Mark Rein alternate on and off saying that I apparently wasn’t aware how *real* business is done and that if I didn’t want to find out why those two companies had maintained such a strong position in the industry dating back to the shareware days (when it seems people didn’t ask nearly as many questions about why developers appeared, made a game, and then disappeared without a trace)… I had better reconsider my answer.

I do remember the next part very very well though… I will never forget it and I have to admit that I have dreams about it pretty frequently.

Cliffy and Mike pulled me up and shoved my face about 6 inches from the point of the chair leg. I was drenched in sweat (the trailers didn’t have decent AC so it was already hot as hell in there)… and if they had let go of me I would not have been able to stand on my own.

George looked me in the eyes and asked me one more time what I was going to do… so at that point I did what anyone would do…

This is one of those stories I'm not sure if it's real or not. I guess it seems kinda unreal because it's about video games, but is a multi-million dollar business. It's outlandish enough to be fake, but I guess that's also why it's plausible too.

BloodyPenguin
07-05-2009, 06:50 PM
Sounds like good fodder for a book.

machado4
07-05-2009, 09:55 PM
wow.. how stupid

Antonie
08-05-2009, 12:08 AM
I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes a good story.

EIN
08-05-2009, 12:59 AM
lolz conspiracies happen all the time.... everything is political, even in gaming

Dustin S.
08-05-2009, 06:45 AM
Was belivable till the last part haha, still dont know if it is or not. Either way this is what happens when all you have to show over 13 years is a trailer...Im just left wondering how the hell the company lasted this long if they actually were working on the game? I mean Epic is big but why would they honestly keep them going for such a dumb reason? Duke Nukem title in any sort of fashion would make bank but not enough to refresh 13 years, that game would have to be like Killzone combined with Resistance combined with Socom etc...And even then it would get passed up in less than a year by another game.

Kinda sucks, i was somewhat a Duke Nukem fan alongside Doom. if this is true, to have a sequal be a joke and even take 13 years for something to happen, i kinda feel bad for that one true fan sitting in his basement with all his gear on waiting for the sequal haha 13 years, geez thats a long time when you think about it, i was still a kid lol.

Nick
11-05-2009, 02:48 PM
Its funny, a lot of the original Duke Nukem fans could have gone to college for programming and even be working on the game during that 13 year time span, lol.

Dustin S.
11-05-2009, 05:50 PM
The news was actually reporting this story yesterday lol. Some guy reserved the game 10 years ago and was upset that he wont be getting the game now. It was an overall recession story but i thought it was funny.

tonzie
12-05-2009, 03:38 AM
That is really weird.. It's not really something that would be expected from the game industry lmao, but yeah like you said Nick, it's a multi-million dollar industry so that alone makes this plausible.
But ****.. that's still insane lol

giblet75
12-05-2009, 10:14 AM
If you follow the link, the guy who wrote it says that it is fictional, and he is sorry that sites are picking it up as news...

Dustin S.
12-05-2009, 03:36 PM
Would be funny if this lead into an E3 announcment by Epic Games that they picked up 3DR and working with Infinity Wards engine to make Duke Nukem haha. Either way Infinity Ward guys are pretty well known for playing around so its cool too.

EIN
12-05-2009, 11:42 PM
Would be funny if this lead into an E3 announcment by Epic Games that they picked up 3DR and working with Infinity Wards engine to make Duke Nukem haha. Either way Infinity Ward guys are pretty well known for playing around so its cool too.

wishful thinking