I don't know if Duke Nukem Forever is really as bad as the legend that's sprung up around it makes out, but it sure wasn't good. Which is probably why, aside from a little spat with 3D Realms and Interceptor over what eventually became Bombshell (with a heavy emphasis on the “bomb,” as it turns out), Gearbox has been content to let the franchise lie quietly for the past half-decade. But that may be about to change.
Point yourself at dukenukem.com, lie to the age gate, and you'll be confronted with a “Happy 20th Anniversary” banner—Duke Nukem 3D was released in 1996—a “Coming Soon” warning, and a countdown that's currently got eight days and change left on the clock. That puts zero hour at 8:30 pm ET on September 2, a date that means... [Update: I originally pegged it at September 1 but it's been pointed out to me that I got it wrong, and September 2 is in fact a date of significance. Gearbox is holding a panel at PAX West that day, which surely can't be a coincidence. The panel is scheduled to run from 4-5 pm PT, while the timer will run out at 5:30 pm PT, so presumably we'll find out what's happening a little bit before it goes live.]
Also of note: The Duke Nukem Facebook page has suddenly come back to life with its first new post since 2012, and a Duke Nukem Twitter account has appeared. Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford is currently bantering with it.
The King is back. Line up, ladies. pic.twitter.com/jiyifNvWzLAugust 24, 2016
There's no guarantee that all of this will end in the announcement of a new game: We could be looking at Duke Nukem Forever DLC, or DNF Gold, or a Duke Anthology of some sort. But that's awfully unlikely. This a lot of effort, relatively speaking, for anything less than a new game reveal, especially since that's so obviously what people are going to expect. I've reached out to Gearbox to ask about what's going on, and while I don't imagine I'll hear back—why would they blow their own countdown?—I'll let you know if I do.
(Final thing: I couldn't get the site to load properly in Firefox, only in Chrome, so if you run into a “you cannot view this website” message after entering your birthdate, switch browsers.)