We actually scored Duke Nukem Forever near the high end of the scale in our review—opinions, am I right?—but the general consensus is that it was not a very good game. But Gearbox isn't giving up on the franchise, and in fact IGN reports that CEO Randy Pitchford said during his keynote at Develop: Brighton that "concept development" on a new Duke Nukem game has already been done. But what Pitchford hopes to do is hook up with another developer, and let it do the heavy lifting.
"I did not acquire the franchise merely so we could all experience Duke Nukem Forever. That was the toll to pay to give Duke a chance," he said. "We’ve done some concept development [for a new game] and I think the challenges are there. Gearbox is very busy. I think the faster way is that a correct developer can become interested and we can work with them."
However it ultimately plays out, Pitchford said "the whole industry will turn its head and look" when a new Duke is announced. That's important, he added, because he believes that "getting attention" was one of the biggest challenges facing Duke Nukem Forever.
"For 10 years, these guys promised that it was going to be the greatest game ever right?" he said. "It was legendary in its vaporware status. So it has this particular pole of attention that makes it probably three or four times more famous than Borderlands as a franchise."
If Pitchford's scenario for a new Duke Nukem game sounds familiar, you may be thinking back to the even more disastrous Aliens: Colonial Marines. Pitchford said in a 2012 interview with Gamasutra that Gearbox was handling around 80 percent of the work on the game, but Timegate Studios claimed (via MCV) that it had a much greater role in the development of the game, an assertion repeated by another source to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Whatever the case, we can only hope that Duke has better luck the second time around.