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Duke Nukem Begins: The Nukem game that never was

Published: 12:25, 09 August 2021
Gregor Punchatz on YouTube
Duke Nukem Begins video screenshot
Duke Nukem Begins video screenshot

Gregor Punchatz shared a video of a Duke Nukem game he worked on with his team at Janimation back in 2008. The game was cancelled in 2009 because of legal issues between 3D Realms and Gearbox.

Did anyone ask for some 00's nostalgia? Gregor Punchatz is serving up a portion along with a helping of a Duke Nukem game that didn't make it past legal issues with the IP.

Duke Nukem Begins on YouTube

Gregor Punchatz's YouTube channel recently shared a video titled Duke Nukem Begins. You just know what kind of a treat you're in for when Duke kicks the video off by using a demon's hand on fire to light his cigar..and it only gets better from there.

We get snippets of some cool combat mechanics like using a demon's arm as a melee weapon, going at them in a 4-person co-op, using a shrink gun and some foe-freezing hardware for ultimate style points.

Punchatz explains in the video's description box that, back in 2008, he and his colleagues at Janimation got tapped by Gearbox to create an animated pre-visualization of what the "Duke Nukem Begins" game will look like. Begins was supposed to serve as Duke's origin story.

Gregor was the director at Janimation and had his hand in character development, designing and modelling Duke. The team obviously did an amazing job but Duke Nukem Begins was a non-starter due to the legal issues with Duke Nukem IP at the time.  

July 2009 brought news that the development of Duke Nukem Begins was dropped amid a legal dispute between publisher Take-Two and 3D Realms, with the latter claiming ownership of the Duke IP over Gearbox.

"It crushed us, as this was what we thought could help us compete with bigger players in the game trailer market at the time.

Because it is still a piece I am damn proud of,  I am releasing it 13 years after its creation. The whole team that worked with me deserves to see this released into the wild." - writes Punchatz in the description box.

He concludes his post by writing: "I hope this somehow resurrects this version of the game by showing the world how awesome it would have been..."

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