One of the more curious and amusing bits of first-person shooter history and news in the past weeks has been the unearthing of a supposed build of Duke Nukem Forever that was shown at E3 2001. While the leaker that discovered it planned on making it available to players in June, it looks like they decided to move quicker. The build is available to download now.
The files for the Duke Nukem Forever E3 2001 build were made available on Archive.org. It includes the 2001 build of the game, a few videos and technical tools, and, for some reason, a link to the 4chan thread where original leaker x0r first posted reveals of the build. It’s by no means a complete and working game. Duke creator George Broussard and Apogee’s Scott Miller both claimed (albeit begrudgingly in light of one another) that the 2001 build of Duke Nukem Forever was a scattered collection of levels, weapons, and gameplay that were never supposed to see the light of day past E3 2001.
Even so, the leak of the Duke Nukem Forever 2001 build has been considered to be a holy grail of FPS history. In the time since the leak, players and online enthusiasts have been digging in and dissecting everything the 2001 build had in it. Though it cannot be accessed and played easily, there’s also a reddit thread about how to get things working in the build. From various weird level designs like being trapped inside of a CD-ROM drive, being able to add music to the game, and other quirks, there’s plenty to discover about the design choices that came early in Duke Nukem Forever’s long and troubled development.
Of course, it’s a “download and attempt at your own risk” situation. It sounds like there’s a lot of tinkering involved in accessing the Duke Nukem Forever 2001 build, but it also sounds like there’s a treasure trove of history therein.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Leaked Duke Nukem Forever 2001 build made available to download
I played a bit of it last night and there is a bunch of very interesting and kinda cool content! If they had just gotten their shit together and completed this version it could have been a pretty sweet game for 2001! I actually like the futuristic sci-fi elements they were trying to blend with modern las vegas
Something random to share, DNF related.
For some reason I remembered that on one of the TWiT shows there was a guy who worked on DNF and called in to share some of the stories behind wtf happened in those last few years so I just spent way too much time digging in to figure this out and I found the clip.
Apparently at one point in time Leo Laporte's TWiT network prototyped a video game show and it was to be hosted by Glenn Rubenstein and Brian Brushwood. Long term it never got turned into a real show but the demo episodes are still online, the working title was "New Video Game Show" and it's still on the TWiT YouTube page as "TWiT Video Game Show".
The episode was numbered 0.7 and three days after DNF was released they were making an episode, livestreamed, and they discussed DNF. It's mentioned that Jay Brushwood, brother of cohost Brian Brushwood, worked at 3DR from 2007-2009 and was part of the crew that got laid off. When Jay messages Brian during the show to correct something they said they just call him via Skype. He tells them about how he started working there in 2007 and how it was immediate how much of a clusterfuck the whole situation was.
Here's where they start talking about DNF
And here's where they call up Jay Brushwood
His interview gives some interesting and rare insights into the last few years of the game's tenure at 3DR. Sadly, Jay Brushwood passed away in November 2020.
Anyway I had this thing pop into my brain so I went down the rathole of figuring out where the fuck I could find this not-quite-a-show to remember the interview and I figured post it here.