Duke Nukem Trilogy Preview: Duke Heads to WW2, Apogee Talks Possible PC Release & DS Censorship

By Chris Faylor, Jul 16, 2008 11:28pm PDT The conclusion of Apogee's recently-announced Duke Nukem Trilogy for Nintendo DS and PSP will see the beloved game icon thrust into World War II--in a game that will, at long last, explain the origins of the Duke Nukem namesake.

"We plan on making Duke the Forest Gump of World War II," Apogee COO Terry Nagy revealed to Shacknews, referring to the fictional insertion of the Tom Hanks-played film character into major historical events.

"It was really Duke that sunk the Bismarck," he explained. "It wasn't the British." The Battle of Iwo Jima marks another historical Duke victory. "[Founder] Scott [Miller] absolutely loved the storyline, claiming that it was 'absolutely Duke.'"

Though the Nintendo DS and PSP releases will both use 3D graphics and share a common storyline, each version will deliver different gameplay scenarios keyed to the platform's strengths and the Duke Nukem heritage.

And since the long-running Duke Nukem franchise encompasses everything from side scrolling platforming to jetpacks and first-person shooting, there's a lot to choose from.

The following breakdown, as relayed by Nagy, provides a glimpse as to the various types of gameplay contained in each version.

  • Nintendo DS
    • Side scrolling levels
    • First-person sniper portions
    • Top-down jetpack shooting sections
    • Third-person over-the-shoulder bits
    • Possible isometric levels--"Trying to work it in."
  • PSP
    • No side scrolling.
    • Both first- and third-person gameplay.
    • Jetpack shooting levels, likely over-the-shoulder.

While the Trilogy ends with World War II, the first entry, Critical Mass, begins with Duke in the future. The second title, Chain Reaction, puts Sir Nukem in the present day. It's not until the last game, Proving Grounds, that the action hero proves his worth in the Second Great War.

Given that Duke's past violence and stripper-filled adventures have pushed the envelope, Nagy noted that the Trilogy's storyline and content are likely to face "challenges" from Nintendo. As a result, the team is already investigating alternative approaches to "certain graphic situations" in the DS version.

"We have the opportunity to reestablish [Duke Nukem] to younger players while keeping Duke as edgy as ever," he said. "Duke has been gone for a while."

Nagy promised that both versions of the title will "stay absolutely true to Duke," especially as the property is still owned by creator 3D Realms.

But wait, wasn't 3D Realms just a publishing label of Apogee Software? Yes, and it still is. In fact, the legal name for the 3D Realms business is still Apogee Software LTD.

This is a bit confusing, so bear with me. This week's revival of the Apogee Software brand represents a second Apogee Software--Apogee Software LLC--which is dedicated to mobile games. And while formed with the assistance of 3D Realms' Scott Miller and George Broussard, both are totally removed from any Apogee Software LLC-related management decisions. "This is a true rebirth of the Apogee name," commented Nagy.

Each title in the Trilogy will be released to retailers separately, with Critical Mass slated to appear next summer. Machineworks Northwest, which holds the license for portable Duke efforts and is known for mobile and PDA titles, is handling the game's development.

When asked if the Trilogy could eventually make its way to the PC, Nagy responded that "we aren't ruling it out," but that the main focus is on the Nintendo DS and PSP editions.

Apart from a brief logo-filled teaser, Apogee has yet to provide any media from Duke Nukem Trilogy. According to Nagy, our first glimpse of the game isn't likely to be until October, which he hopes will signal the arrival of a "really good trailer."

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