3D Realms (Duke Nukem) Calls it Quits, Fragged by Economy

Dennis Faas's picture

For all the excitement that follows Nintendo's Wii and big-name releases for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360, the video game industry is hardly impervious to attack by a spiraling global economy. Now, word comes that a fan-favorite developer and Microsoft are both laying off staff.

The worst news might be word that 3D Realms, best known as the developer for the sensationally popular mid-90s hit Duke Nukem 3D, will close its doors, laying off all of its employees.

Two decades ago 3D Realms began life as Garland, Texas' Apogee Software, owned and administered by Scott Miller and George Broussard. Over the next several years, Apogee released three Duke Nukem games, all resembling the classic side-scrollers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. (Source: gamasutra.com)

"All Out of Gum..." and Money

That changed in 1996, when 3D Realms developed and released Duke Nukem 3D, a first-person shooter in the same vein as Doom but with a completely different twist -- witty, cutting-edge humor.

Quite frankly, no one had ever seen this kind of laugh-out-loud joshing about in a mainstream game before, and certainly not in a shooter. For many, it was the reason Nukem 3D became the story of the year in 1996, over Doom developer id's hugely-anticipated Quake.

Duke Nukem Delays (Forever)

Alas, for the next ten years 3D Realms worked against repeated delays to release its Duke Nukem Forever, the much-desired sequel to 3D. Although screenshots would emerge from time to time, no one really knew if they were legit or not. Suffice it to say that most gamers forgot about 'ol Duke sometime around the turn of the 21st century.

3D Realms wasn't completely stymied over the time, however, and contributed to some other great games, including the Max Payne series, Prey, and the Duke Nukem 3D Xbox Live Arcade port. All were worthwhile projects.

Microsoft Continues Layoffs

Joining 3D Realms employees on the dole will be several Microsoft game workers: among the 3,000 recently laid off.

Members of the software giant's in-game advertising firm Massive have been hard hit by cuts, losing as much as 75 per cent of their total workforce. It's long been rumored that struggling game companies would look to advertising within games to help recover rising production costs, but it's clearly not paying off right now. (Source: 1up.com)

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