"Duke Nukem Forever" redirects here. For other uses, see Duke Nukem Forever (disambiguation).

Duke Nukem Forever is the fourth game in the Duke Nukem series and a sequel to the 1996 game Duke Nukem 3D.

Duke Nukem Forever became well-known in the video game industry for its lengthy development and polarizing reputation. Development of the game was first announced in 1997, and the game was heavily sensationalized in the years that followed. When it was finally released 14 years later, it was met with mixed reviews and divided opinions among fans.

In 2017, it was reported that Gearbox Software had no interest in further developing the Duke Nukem series, making Duke Nukem Forever possibly the final entry in the Duke Nukem franchise.


The events in Duke Nukem Forever take place about twelve years after the conclusion of Duke Nukem 3D. Duke Nukem is now a world-renowned icon, living in the penthouse of a Las Vegas casino with his casual partners, the Holsom twins. The game begins with Duke sampling a video game based on his past heroics, followed by a scheduled interview with a talk show host. On his way to the show, Duke witnesses a news broadcast on a nearby television screen announcing that aliens have once again invaded. Unlike previous encounters, the aliens initially appear peaceful and at first seem to pose no harm to the humans of Earth. Duke's talk show appearance is cancelled to allow television stations to cover the alien invasion, so Duke retires to the Duke Cave.

When the game begins, Duke relives his encounter with the Cycloid Emperor in a video game.

There, he receives a call from the president and General Graves of the military. The president orders him not to harm the invaders, and he adds that he is in diplomatic talks with the alien overlord. Duke obliges this request but remains uneasy. Before Duke can leave his chambers, he is attacked by hostile aliens. Duke is forced to disobey the president's orders and fight his way through the alien hordes in an effort to save Earth. While fighting through his Las Vegas casino, Duke witnesses the aliens abducting women, including his two pop-star girlfriends. Graves tells Duke that the women are being held in the Duke Dome and that the aliens have a vendetta to settle with Duke. He also warns Duke that the aliens are using the Hoover Dam to power a wormhole so that more aliens can come to Earth. Duke uses a wrecking ball to plow his way into the Duke Dome. Inside, he finds swarms of Octabrains and the missing women, who have been impregnated with alien spawn. The Holsom twins die when alien babies burst out of their bodies. Duke finds the Alien Queen in control of the Dome and kills her, shortly before being wounded and fainting.

Duke confronts the Alien Queen inside the Duke Dome.

After fainting, Duke has a dream in which he is in a strip club, and he is tasked with finding a bag of popcorn, a vibrator, and a condom. Upon completing the task, he receives a lap dance.

Upon awakening, Duke travels to the Hoover Dam in his monster truck. After battling through the dam, he finds his old friend Dylan, mortally wounded. Dylan tells Duke that the Cycloid Emperor is at the dam and that the only way to shut down the portal is to destroy the dam. Before dying, Dylan gives Duke his demolition charges and wishes him luck. Duke places the explosives and destroys the dam, but the currents nearly drown him. Duke is revived after a soldier performs CPR on him. He awakens to find the portal gone. The president, who was also at the dam, screams at Duke for ruining his plans to work together with the Cycloid Emperor. The president orders a nuclear strike at the site of the dam to wipe out the remaining aliens, intending to leave Duke there to die. However, the Cycloid Emperor emerges and kills the president and his security detail. Finally, Duke kills the Cycloid Emperor and is rescued by Graves, just before the nuclear bomb explodes.

Octabrains swarm the Hoover Dam.

The game ends with a satellite surveying the detonation area and listing Duke Nukem as "KIA," to which Duke replies off-screen, "What kind of shit ending is that? I ain't dead, I'm coming back for more!" After the credits roll, Duke is shown at a press conference, where he announces that he is in the running to be the 69th president of the United States.



Duke Nukem Forever is an action-oriented first-person shooter. Players take control of Duke Nukem as they navigate through a series of levels which take place on Earth and beyond. The gameplay is similar in some respects to the first-person shooter games of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with each level culminating in a boss battle in which the player must fight and kill an especially powerful enemy.

In contrast with previous Duke Nukem games, the player can only carry two weapons at a time, which is similar to the Halo series, but Pipe Bombs and Trip Mines are now considered inventory items and are not limited by this restriction. The health management system has also been overhauled; Duke Nukem Forever employs an "ego bar" similar to Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. The ego bar depletes when the player is attacked. Once it is fully depleted, the player becomes vulnerable to damage. If the player avoids further damage, then the ego bar is restored, as is the player's health.

Duke Nukem Forever features a checkpoint-based system for saving the player's progression.



The following levels are found in the singleplayer campaign:

1. Duke Lives
2. Damn! It's Late...
3. The Duke Cave
4. Mothership Battle
5. The Lady Killer
6. The Lady Killer: Part 2
7. The Lady Killer: Part 3
8. Vegas in Ruin
9. The Duke Dome
10. The Duke Dome: Part 2
11. The Hive
12. The Hive: Part 2
13. Queen Bitch

14. Duke Nukem's Titty City
15. Crash Course
16. The Duke Burger
17. The Duke Burger: Part 2
18. The Duke Burger: Part 3
19. The Mighty Foot
20. The Mighty Foot: Part 2
21. Ghost Town
22. Highway Battle
23. Highway Battle: Part 2
24. Dam Top
25. The Shrunk Machine
26. The Shrunk Machine: Part 2

27. The Forkstop
28. The Forkstop: Part 2
29. Generator Room
30. Underground
31. Underground: Part 2
32. The Clarifier
33. The Clarifier: Part 2
34. Blowin' the Dam
35. Blowin' the Dam: Part 2
36. Final Battle
37. Press Conference

The following levels are also available with the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC:

1. Rude Awakening
2. Going Down
3. In Security
4. The Clone Carousel
5. Me, Myself and I

6. Meat Grinder
7. The Doctor is in
8. Magic Carpet Ride
9. Drunken Crane Master
10. All Your Base...

11. Tunnel Vision
12. The Burning Bush
13. Teleportation Spire
14. Duke Side of the Moon

Level design in Duke Nukem Forever


Multiplayer maps in Duke Nukem Forever are centered around a hub map known as My Digs.

These maps come packaged with the Duke Nukem Forever base game and do not require purchasing DLC:

The following maps are also available with the Hail to the Icons Parody Pack DLC:

In addition, these maps are available with the The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC:


The following enemies can be found in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following bosses can be found in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:

Enemies in Duke Nukem Forever


The following weapons are included in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following items are included in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


The following vehicles can be piloted in Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC packs:


Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Main Article: Hail to the Icons Parody Pack

Hail to the Icons Parody Pack is the first downloadable content pack for Duke Nukem Forever. It contains three new game modes (Freeze Tag, Hot Potato, and Free-For-All Hail to the King), four new multiplayer maps, and four new weapons.

The Doctor Who Cloned Me

The Doctor Who Cloned Me

Main Article: The Doctor Who Cloned Me

The Doctor Who Cloned Me is the second downloadable content pack for Duke Nukem Forever. It features an all new campaign with 14 new single player levels, four new multiplayer levels, two new enemies, two new weapons, three new vehicles, and two new bosses. It was released on December 13, 2011.


A Good Dam Fight          - Defeat the Battlelord on the Hoover Dam
Air-Duke                  - Win air hockey with a score of 7-0 in the strip club
Annihilation              - Kill 100 aliens
Balls of Steel            - Earn a 1,000,000 pinball score in SP
Baron von Nukem           - Shoot down 20 alien fighters
Beating the One-Eyed Worm - Defeat the Energy Leech
Big Guns, Big Ships       - Blow up 5 enemy gunships or dropships
Bucket Head               - Find all 3 helmets in the SP campaign
Call Waiting              - Listen to all phone messages
Come Get Some             - Complete the SP campaign on Hard Difficulty
Companion Barrel          - Unlock the secret closet at the end of the Forkstop
Damn, I'm Good            - Complete the SP campaign on Insane Difficulty
Dead Useful               - Kill 10 aliens with environmental explosives
Downtown Barrel Beatdown  - Kill 10 aliens with tossed objects
Drawrings                 - Doodle something on the whiteboard in SP
Duke Angry, Duke Smash!   - Kill 15 aliens with melee attacks while on steroids
Extermination             - Kill 50 aliens
FBT                       - Get knocked down 10 times
Flagon of Chuckles        - Drink a beer in SP
Fork the Pork             - Kill 6 aliens with the forklift
Freeze Well!              - Kill 15 frozen aliens
Gunslinger                - Carry the gold pistol through the whole SP campaign
He's Got a Hologram!      - Use a Holoduke in SP
Hippy-Stomper             - Foot stomp 12 aliens
I Am All That Is Man      - Discover all Ego cap awards
I Need a Date             - Look at every page of a calendar in SP
I Need a Towel            - Get hit by 10 Pregnator bombs
Judge, Jury, Executioner  - Execute 20 aliens
Juiced                    - Take steroids in SP
Let's Rock                - Complete the SP campaign on Normal Difficulty
Lots of Whacking          - Win a game of Alien Abortion in the strip club
Natural Disaster 3x       - Kill 3 aliens at once
Nobody Likes a Whiner     - Knock out the talent at the talk show
Noms                      - Eat 10 pieces of food during the SP campaign
Not Bad for a Human       - Defeat the Alien Queen
Nuclear Devastation       - Kill 250 aliens
Octacide                  - Defeat the Octaking
On the Noggin             - Kill 30 aliens with headshots
One-Eyed Freak            - Defeat the Cycloid
Party Animal              - Drink all of the beers in the strip club
Pescaphobe                - Kill all the catfish in the underwater level
Piece of Cake             - Complete the SP campaign on Easy Difficulty
Pit Champion              - Defeat the Battlelord in Las Vegas
Road Rage                 - Kill 15 aliens with the monster truck
Special Thanks            - Watch the credits all the way through
Sticky Bomb Like You!     - Put a Trip Mine on a live alien
Substance Abuser          - Drink beer while on steroids or vice versa in SP
Sunday, Black Sunday      - Shoot down the blimp above the stadium
Trapper                   - Kill 10 aliens with Trip Mines
Turd Burglar              - Find and steal a piece of poo

Note: the tossed objects achievement is titled "Tosser... in the Literal Sense" on PC.

Development history

See Also: History of Duke Nukem Forever

Intended to be groundbreaking, Duke Nukem Forever has become infamous in the video games industry and become synonymous with vaporware due to its severely-protracted development schedule; the game has been in development since 1996. Originally in development under 3D Realms, director George Broussard, one of the creators of the original Duke Nukem game, first announced the title's development in April 1997, and various promotional information for the game was released between 1997 and 2008.

After repeatedly announcing and deferring release dates, 3D Realms announced in 2001 that it would be released simply "when it's done". In May 2009, 3D Realms was downsized for financial reasons, resulting in the loss of the game's development team. Statements by the company indicated that the project was due to go gold soon with pictures of final development. Take-Two Interactive, which owns the publishing rights to the game, filed a lawsuit in 2009 against 3D Realms over their failure to finish development. 3D Realms retorted that Take-Two's legal interest in the game is limited to their publishing right. The case was settled with prejudice and details undisclosed in May 2010. On September 3, 2010, after 13 years, Duke Nukem Forever was officially reported by 2K Games to be in development at Gearbox Software. It was originally confirmed to be released on May 3, 2011 in North America, with a worldwide release following on May 6, 2011. This has however been delayed by a month to June 10 internationally with a North American release on June 14. On May 24, 2011, it was announced that Duke Nukem Forever finally went gold after 14 years. After going gold the launch trailer for Duke Nukem Forever was released on June 2, 2011.

Duke Nukem Forever was originally intended to be a PC exclusive game, however 2K and Gearbox had hired Piranha Games to port the game to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and added a Mulitplayer in order to raise sales. However the Console ports were poor and very flawed due to it being designed exclusively for PC.

This is the build information for the Demo version of the DNF engine:


This is the build information for the Retail version of the DNF engine:



Duke's First Access Club

The First Access Club (FAC) was founded by Gearbox to reward the long-waiting fans with special bonuses. A First Access Club code could be obtained by preordering the game or buying the Game of the Year Edition of Borderlands or Borderlands on Steam (if bought before the club was announced), on the Duke Nukem Forever website. The benefits include access to wallpapers, concept art, artwork, podcasts (which are added often), the theme song, screenshots, the demo version of Duke Nukem Forever and the first multiplayer DLC (details as yet unannounced) for free.

E-mails were sent asking members to "please help [Gearbox] obtain the most accurate up to date information for your First Access profile." Members were then prompted to choose their preferred platform of choice for the Duke Nukem Forever demo by May 15, 2011. It then stated that "users that currently live in a territory where the demo may not be supported on console will automatically be defaulted to the PC Steam option." Gearbox sent a second e-mail to First Access Members in conjunction with a video showing that the Duke Nukem Forever demo was released on June 3, 2011.

Duke Nudem

Main Article: Duke Nudem

2K Games launched a website titled "Boob Tube" to promote the game. The website features videos and features to download. On May 19, 2011, a flash game was released via the website titled Duke Nudem where players have to shoot targets against a CPU bot "woman" of their choice, and if successful will have a piece of clothing taken off the girl until she is topless. However, if the player loses, the actress will act as though Duke has stripped naked.

Duke's Big Package

Main Article: Duke's Big Package

In North America, video game retailer GameStop promised exclusive in-game content for customers pre-ordering Duke Nukem Forever. The exclusive content, known as "Duke's Big Package" allowed the player from the start of the game to access "Big Heads," and "Ego Boost," and custom in-game T-Shirts. A code printed on the final receipt could, at the time of release, be activated over Xbox Live, The Playstation Network, and Steam.

Console goodies

Two themes, avatar items, and a gamerpic pack are available for download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems. The premium theme for the Xbox 360 showcases the inside of Duke Burger during the alien invasion. The avatar items for said system include Duke's outfit, his throne, the Freeze Ray, a Pig Cop mask, and a pet Octabrain while the gamerpic pack features "Babes, aliens, and the King himself." The official Duke Nukem Forever website hosts the free PlayStation 3 theme, which includes three wallpapers and an icon set.

Collectors' editions

Balls of Steel Edition

Duke Nukem Forever Balls of Steel Edition pre-order game set

A special limited Collector's Edition was available upon release called "Balls of Steel Edition" for all platforms. This version included include a five-inch bust of Duke Nukem, a 100-page hardcover artbook following the development of the game, postcards, sticker, a comic book, playing cards, dice, poker chips and foldable papercraft, and with every item being marked with the Duke Nukem Forever logo.

King Edition

Another edition called the "King Edition" was made available exclusively for pre-order from EB Games in Australia and New Zealand. It comes with bonus Ego Boost DLC, Duke Playing Cards and Duke Bubblegum.

Press coverage

Wired News has awarded Duke Nukem Forever its Vaporware Award several times. It placed second in June 2000 and topped the list in 2001 and 2002. Wired created the Vaporware Lifetime Achievement Award exclusively for DNF and awarded it in 2003. George Broussard accepted the award, simply stating, "We're undeniably late and we know it." In 2004, the game did not make the top 10; Wired editors said that they had given DNF the Lifetime Achievement Award to get it off of the list. However, upon readers' demands, Wired changed its mind, and DNF won first place in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2008, Wired staff officially considered removing DNF from their annual list, citing that "even the best jokes get old eventually", only to reconsider upon viewing the handheld camera footage of the game in The Jace Hall Show, awarding the game with first place once again. In 2009, Wired published Wired News' Vaporware Awards 2009: Duke Nukem Forever was excluded from consideration on the grounds that the project was finally dead. Duke made a comeback with an unprecedented 11th place award on Wired's 2010 Vaporware list.

Duke Nukem Forever has drawn a number of jokes related to its development timeline. The video gaming media and public in general have routinely suggested several names in place of Forever, calling it "Never", "(Taking) Forever", "Whenever", "ForNever", "Neverever", and "If Ever". The game has also been ridiculed as Duke Nukem: Forever In Development, "Either this is the longest game ever in production or an elaborate in-joke at the expense of the industry". One conspiracy theory was that the game's continued development was some kind of elaborate scam, claiming "DNF" had come to stand for "Do Not Finish."

When the GameSpy editors compiled a list of the "Top 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming History" in June 2003, Duke Nukem Forever placed #18.

Jason Hall, host of The Jace Hall Show, featured Duke Nukem Forever in the show's premiere episode on June 4, 2008 and described his hands-on play experience with the game as "perfect", ending the segment with "I saw it. They have been working. It's not a myth. You're going to be pleased." In a subsequent interview with 1UP.com, he described the game as "amazing" with the summation, "This might be the only game in history worth waiting 12 years for, perhaps longer.... It was good."


Duke Nukem Forever has received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 60.00% and 76/100,the PlayStation 3 version 59.50% and 65/100 and the Xbox 360 version 43.00% and 50/100. Eurogamer gave it 3/10 noting that "your time and money would be better spent reliving [Duke Nukem's] iconic past than bearing witness to this gruesomely mangled resurrection." IGN gave the Xbox 360 version 5.5, saying, "It's a muddled, hypocritical exercise in irritation with solid shooting mechanics and decent encounter design." Australian gaming website PALGN gave the Xbox 360 version 5/10 stating that "Duke Nukem Forever is a miracle. It's also a poor game, saved only by its humour and nostalgic value." Not all critics gave the game a poor score, however. PC Gamer gave the game 80/100, though noting that "years of anticipation will spoil Duke Nukem Forever for some."

The mixed reviews are mostly likely because of the high expectations of the game in comparison to recent 2011 shooters (particularly graphics) and it has been suggested it would have fared better had it been released a couple of years back but due to 3D Realms running into difficulties the release was delayed by at least a few years. Despite these reviews many fans and some online reviewers have given it high praise. In fact, the reviews have only given the game publicity.


  • The Serious Sam games have frequently poked fun at Duke Nukem Forever's tortured development cycle. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter includes a secret phone call where Sam asks for "Blondie" and sighs at the reply that he will "be ready when he's ready." Serious Sam II includes the line, "Dude, you've been hanging here, like, FOREVER".


External links

Duke Nukem Forever
Chapters Duke Lives | Damn! It's Late... | The Duke Cave | Mothership Battle | The Lady Killer | Vegas in Ruin | The Duke Dome | The Hive | Queen Bitch | Duke Nukem's Titty City | Crash Course | The Duke Burger | The Mighty Foot | Ghost Town | Highway Battle | Dam Top | The Shrunk Machine | The Forkstop | Generator Room | Underground | The Clarifier | Blowin' the Dam | Final Battle | Press Conference
Items Beer | Duke Vision | Holoduke | Jetpack | Steroids | Double Damage | Invincibility
Weapons Melee | M1911 Pistol | Shotgun | Ripper | RPG | Pipe Bomb | Trip Mine | Railgun
Shrink Ray | Freeze Ray | AT Laser | AT Captain Laser | Enforcer Gun | Devastator | Expander | Impregnader | Garter Pistol | Sticky Bombs | Tittyana | DFG | N00b T00b
Scrapped: Assault Rifle | Chainsaw | Shield
Enemies Assault Commander | Enforcer | Assault Trooper
Assault Trooper Captain | Octabrain | Pigcop | Pregnator | Octababy | Rat
Bosses: Cycloid Emperor | Mothership | Battlelord | Alien Queen | Octaking | Energy Leech
Scrapped: Robot | Army Ant | Mutated Human | Human Robot
Other Difficulty | Hazards | EGO | Multiplayer | Cheat codes | Easter eggs
Quotes | Music | Creators | Duke Nukem
Game bugs
Hail to the Icons Parody Pack
The Doctor Who Cloned Me
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