A graphic artist has posted a video online of a concept for Duke Nukem Begins. He made the so-called vertical slice in 2008 for Gearbox. The video shows Duke in typical action and a four-player co-op mode.
The video is an animated representation of what the game should have looked like. It is a 3D animation created under the direction of Gregor Punchatz when he worked at Janimation in 2008. Punchatz writes that the company was commissioned by Gearbox to make such a vertical slice for Duke Nukem Begins.
Punchatz was a director at Janimation at the time, and according to him, the company had gone above and beyond to make it their best video ever. However, that work turned out to be in vain, as development of Duke Nukem Begins was halted due to a legal conflict.
Because he is proud of the work, he is still putting the animation online thirteen years later, says Punchatz. He hopes that the release of the video can ensure that the development of the game is still being picked up.
Duke Nukem Begins was never officially announced, but it was already known that the game has been in development. This was evident from court documents in 2009. There was a legal conflict over the rights to Duke Nukem for years between 3D Realms and Gearbox. That also provoked the development of Duke Nukem Forever, the game that came out in 2011 after much delay. The game has been in the works since 1997.
3D Realms is the original creator of Duke Nukem, and Gearbox bought the rights in 2010. Both companies have recently become part of the Embracer Group. 3D Realms was acquired by that game company in early August, and the Gearbox acquisition was announced early this year.