Few gaming franchises have a history as weird and convoluted as Duke Nukem. The original side-scrolling games in the series led to the industry-shifting launch of Duke Nukem 3D in 1996. It took more than a decade for the next major release in the franchise in the form of Duke Nukem Forever. Duke IP owners Gearbox once commissioned a pre-rendered vertical slice for a cooperative third-person Duke Nukem game back in 2008 and footage of the project has now surfaced online.
The clip, titled Duke Nukem Begins, was uploaded to YouTube by a former employee of Janimaiton in Dallas, Texas. It shows several action scenes of Duke Nukem dispatching pig cops in random alleys and seedy nightclubs, along with plenty of fan service to the franchise’s numerous tropes. You get the required strip club scene, some chase sequences that look like spruced-up versions of clips from the infamous Duke Nukem Forever E3 trailer, and much more.
Later on in the video, it is revealed that cooperative play would be a part of the proposed game. Multiple 3D Duke avatars are seen on-screen killing pig cops in different colored t-shirts. The action alternates between Gears of War-Esque shotgunning and melee attack. Appealing to the Gears fanbase was probably a smart move back in 2008, but the design has obviously grown out of style in the years since.
The clip ends with thousands of pig cops scaling the Capital building in Washington D.C. while Duke fights them off from the top of the central spire. The most exciting part of the presentation is the backing music from Rage Against the Machine. It is probably a safe bet to assume that it never would have made it into the final product, but the song does its job of spicing up the action in the video. Maybe in an alternate reality, we would all be preparing for Duke Nukem Begins 4 this holiday season.