Duke Nukem Returning in 2011?

Back on April 28, 1997, something interesting happened in the video game world: George Broussard announced Duke Nukem Forever, what was to be the latest installment of a first-person shooter franchise, building on the success of Duke Nukem 3D. Since then, the development of Duke Nukem Forever has become the longest-running game development saga in the history of the video game industry, with developer 3D Realms shutting down earlier this year, and Take Two prompt suing its parent company (Apogee) over failing to release the game.

And now, a new chapter in the Duke Nukem Forever development saga: rights to the franchise have been transferred to U.S. game developer Gearbox software, which is now promising Duke Nukem Forever will launch on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PCs in 2011. The title will be published by 2K Games.

“Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand,” said 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard. “This will be a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially the fans.”

Under the new deal, Gearbox has acquired the complete intellectual property rights for the Duke Nukem franchise, including Duke Nukem Forever an all future projects. The arrangement is described as a cooperative deal with 3D Realms, but financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

“Fifteen years ago, Duke Nukem 3D helped launch my professional video game development career,” said Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, in a statement. “The Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need.”

Gearbox is best-known for developing the Borderlands and Brothers in Arms franchises. No pricing or specific availability information has been announced.

If Duke Nukem Forever ships in 2011, it will be the longest gap between released in video game franchise history. The current record holder is Deux Ex, which has currently been on hiatus eight years since its most recent release.

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