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Greatest video-game tragedies of the last decade

 Zeroes from the Aughts
By LASER ORGY  |  January 20, 2010


1. Duke Nukem cancelled forever (2009)


The end of Duke Nukem


It was back in 1996 that the Duke left his crater-sized mark on the first-person shooter scene with Duke Nukem 3D. The graphics were good, the weapons were great, and the game broke new ground with huge interactive environments and its ridiculous wise-cracking hero. It sold like gangbusters and developer 3D Realms announced that a stunning sequel would be ready in 1998, then 2000, then 2004, and finally just "when it's done." The ill-named, unreleased Duke Nukem Forever became gamers' biggest running joke, while in the background the developers kept building the game, only to repeatedly dump pieces and start over to make them even more impressive -- or just throw out the whole thing to start over on a newer technology platform. (Work on the same platform for 10 years, and your game risks looking a little dated.) The true heartbreak of DNF isn't that we haven't seen the Duke in 12 years, much as we miss him. It's that 3D Realms have teased us with many (reportedly excellent) near-completed enemies, weapons, and levels over the years, but they could never finish what they had and put it into a game so that anyone could enjoy it. They say art is never finished, only abandoned, and 3D Realms spent 12 years unable to abandon DNF until, in 2009, their publisher gave up and abandoned them. Which means that DNF must've been a goddamn masterpiece. Right?

--By Dave Barker, Shaula Clark, Maddy Myers, and Ryan Stewart

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