Duke Nukem Trilogy was the official name of a three-part video game compilation that was conceived in 2008 but abandoned after the 2011 release of Duke Nukem: Critical Mass, the first entry in the trilogy.
Apogee Software's original concept for the trilogy centered around a vision they termed "multi-mode gameplay." This would have involved gameplay that alternated between third-person, first-person, isometric, and side-scrolling views within the span of a single game. The games that would have been included in the trilogy were Duke Nukem: Critical Mass, Duke Nukem: Chain Reaction, and Duke Nukem: Proving Grounds. A seamless storyline would have unified all three games. At some point, the three games would have been combined into a singular Duke Nukem Trilogy title. This three-part compilation was sometimes discussed as though it would have been a game in its own right.
Duke’s original nemesis, Dr. Proton, is back and has unified all those who opposed Duke in the past. The Earth Defense Forces attempt to ensure the Earth’s continued security by transporting Duke into the future. Ironically, just moments after Duke’s departure, Proton launches a devastating attack on Earth.
The trilogy would have been set in the future, featuring gritty city streets and dark alleys as well as indoor areas. According to Apogee's official website, the in-game world would have been quite large, with more than 30 levels across 9 world locations.
A four-minute trailer was shown at E3 2008. The trailer was criticized for failing to demonstrate any gameplay footage. Instead, the trailer merely featured a series of game logos and concept art.
A video featuring screenshots from both the DS and PSP versions, as well as a video with gameplay from both versions, was released in March 2009.
On October 29, 2010, it was revealed that Critical Mass for both platforms would no longer carry the Duke Nukem license and would be renamed "Extraction Point: Alien Shootout", but on March 23, 2011, Apogee announced that they did not believe they had lost the license after all. They proceeded to release Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for the Nintendo DS on April 8th, 2011 in European and on June 6th, 2011 in North America.
However, a lawsuit between 3D Realms and Gearbox Software ultimately killed the trilogy. In 2015, it was determined that Gearbox Software owned the Duke Nukem IP and all Duke Nukem games ever made. This would have created issues for Apogee, who purchased their Duke Nukem license through 3D Realms.
Rumors of a Duke Nukem title on PSP and DS began spreading in early 2008, and in July of that year, Apogee released a teaser trailer for Duke Nukem Trilogy, confirming the game's existence. In March 2009, Apogee attended the Game Developer's Conference and showed the game off to Gamespot, which released a short video of some of the gameplay recorded on a handheld camera. Duke was seen running around a city landscape from a third person perspective in the PSP version of the game. Meanwhile, the gameplay involved platforming through an environment while confined to a side-scroller style path on the DS version. In the interview, the Fall of 2009 was said to be the target release period for both versions of the game. This event was followed by several updates about the game's progress by Apogee on Twitter during the following months. One update confirmed that Jon St. John had already produced some voice recordings for the trilogy.