E3 2001. Incredibly, until yesterday that was the last time 3D Realms chose to publicly show Duke Nukem Forever in video form. Six whole years ago. We've had to wait and wait and wait for the developer to role out new media. But what has this week's teaser trailer really shown us?
First, it's important to note that 3D Realms' George Broussard has gone on record stating that the trailer is in-game and in-engine footage, sticking a pin in and popping the 'it's all CGI' talk bubble.
It's apparently a heavily modified Unreal version 2 engine that DNF uses, Broussard explaining that rendering's been redone 100-percent that and it's a "fully modern engine".
3D Realms' teaser trailer opens with the new-look Duke sitting on a weight bench in a low-lit room, sucking on a cigar and lifting weights. A couple of beer cans, one crushed, lie nearby on a concrete floor. Weights have the word "Hevy" on them, leaving us in no doubt that this is the muscle-bound, dumbass character we fell in love with in Duke Nukem 3D.
Why are we watching Duke lifting weights? Well, reasons are two-fold. One the scene - which intersperses four main sections in the trailer - reveals the attention to detail on the character model and the dynamic lighting and shadow effects. Watch how those biceps realistically flex and veins throb under the skin and the, ah, dynamic light and shadows.
Secondly, it's surely an in-studio gag about the ten-year-long development period to date that Duke Nukem Forever has experienced. Is 3DR saying, 'Hey folks, he's been in training, but now he's finally ready to run amok!'?
This opening scene is followed by trailer's first real action sequence kicking in. It reveals what's got to be the new version of the alien Assault Troopers from Duke Nukem 3D, in a city environment with a wealth of neon lights and a palm tree just viewable. Is it Los Angeles again, as in Duke Nukem 3D? Las Vegas? Your guess is probably better than ours.
It's like a news reporter's filming the action as the alien in the foreground reaches out to shove the camera off its focus, but not before we've seen a bit of carnage.
In the background, a second Assault Trooper stands atop a crushed police car suggesting object-deforming technology will appear in the game, while blood can be seen plastered up the side of a coach with flat tires in the right of the frame and a second car with a smashed windscreen on the left.
And the worst is yet to come, as the camera is shoved downwards and we catch a glimpse of dead soldiers on the pavement. Note that the right leg of one of the corpses is half hanging off, meaning we're expecting plenty of gratuitous violence and limb dismemberment.
However, the one thing it's impossible to get an idea of is the size and design of game environments.
A quick shift back to Duke pumping iron is followed by our first incredibly brief look at Duke Nukem Forever's Octobrain. What's important to note here is the alien-organic style of the environment the creature's in, which suggests that at some point during the game we'll either be taking the fight to an alien mothership or homeworld. Well, either that or they've begun adapting parts of Earth.
Cue a further brief cut back to Duke pumping iron. Watch the realism of the smoke from the cigar.
Our penultimate glimpse of non-Duke stuff stars an awesome-looking pig cop in uniform that appears to be on a dam, and is surrounded by mutilated corpses and blood. High body count in Duke Nukem Forever? You never assumed it'd be anything otherwise, right?