Duke Nukem Forever totals over 6,000 man-months of work

Over on the PlayStation Blog, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford posted some background on Duke Nukem Forever and the path it took to becoming a PlayStation 3. After detailing some of the partners that have helped out with the game (more on that below), he writes, "I have estimated that 3D Realms invested between 3,500 and 4,500 man-months of effort into the game, a lot of which has been lost to the ages. Meanwhile, by the time Gearbox ships the game we'll have put in another 2,500 man-months of effort."


Wait; hold up Randy, there's something like 6,000 or more man-months of work in Duke Nukem Forever? What does that even mean? Doing some quick math, a man-month equates to about 175 man-hours (40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year divided into 12 months). That would put Duke at 1,050,000+ man-hours. But more interestingly, the concept of man-months in the world of software development introduces a whole discussion on whether adding manpower to a project in fact makes it later as proposed by author Fred Brooks in The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering.

That's a familiar subject in the history of Duke Nukem Forever which has seen countless developers over the course of its lengthy development. Pitchford highlighted a couple of external teams that have added to the count with their help getting the game wrapped up. Among them is Piranha Games, who Pitchford credited with, "building out the multiplayer game as well as preparing the game for PS3." That's a lot of responsibility but Piranha has a proven track record for collaboration on big projects having helped ship Need for Speed: Shift.

However the accounting works, a staggering amount of time has gone into the development of Duke Nukem Forever. When the game finally comes out this June we'll get to see exactly what all that effort has wrought.