duke nukem begins

Artist Shares Trailer for Gearbox’s Cancelled Duke Nukem Begins Showing Us What Could Have Been

13 years after its cancellation, artist Gregor Punchatz has released a trailer for Gearbox Software’s Duke Nukem Begins, which showcases what the game was about. Without further ado, check out the cinematic below.

Duke Nukem Begins never saw the light of day because of an ownership dispute between publisher Take-Two Interactive and 3D Realms. Gearbox Software eventually retained rights to the franchise. Interestingly, both 3D Realms and Gearbox Software are now owned by Sweden’s Embracer Group.

Punchatz was working with Texas-based studio Janimation at the time, and revealed that the team was “crushed” when the project was cancelled because it lost an opportunity that would have helped it compete with “bigger players in the game trailer market” back then.

Punchatz wrote:

We poured everything we had into making the most awesome cinematic Janimation had ever created. But unfortunately, we got word the game was canceled due to the legal issues with Duke Nukem at the time.

It crushed us, as this was what we thought could help us compete with bigger players in the game trailer market at the time. Because it is still a piece I am damn proud of, I am releasing it 13 years after its creation. The whole team that worked with me deserves to see this released into the wild.

I hope this somehow resurrects this version of the game by showing the world how awesome it would have been…

Gearbox Software ended up releasing Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, which was panned by players and critics alike.