I was grading a paper written by Jon Mark Allen for the SANS Technology Institute, an accredited cybersecurity graduate school, when I came across this section:
A good illustration of the consequences of clinging to a failing strategy is the fiasco of Duke Nukem Forever. After the perfect timing and exceptional performance of the original Duke Nukem 3D, George Broussard led the sequel project for its full duration of 12 years. Development in 1997 and progressed quickly enough and to such rave reviews that everyone believed it would be released in late 1998. But "Broussard was clearly obsessed with making his product as aesthetically appealing as possible", to the degree that the project switched gaming engines twice during development – essentially restarting from scratch each time. (Thompson, 2009)
Mike Wilson, a former games marketer with id Software and 15-year veteran of the industry, suspects that Broussard was paralyzed by the massive success of Duke Nukem 3D. "When Duke came out, they were kings of the world for a minute," Wilson says. "And how often does that happen? How often does someone have the best thing in their field, absolutely? They basically got frozen in that moment." (ibid.)
Eight years into the project, the staff began to leave for fear that their careers would be completely spent on one game that would never ship. One developer said he left because he "was burned out after working on the same project for five years without any end in sight." Rafael Van Lierop, a creative director hired in 2007, when he saw what was happening, said "Wow, how many times have you been here, near the finish line, and you thought you were way out?" Broussard and company burned through their funding and were eventually forced to shut doors in 2009 without ever delivering arguably the most anticipated game ever (not) produced. (ibid.)
Well, everyone fails at some point, but nobody can deny that Mr. Broussard and Duke Nukem left their mark on America. This summary was based on a fantastic Wired magazine article by Clive Thompson. I really had to smile, sixteen years ago, I was working on a network data reduction project and we needed a visualization system for the analyst. When asked what I recommended, I replied, "Hire the Duke Nukem coding team."
I serve as the chair person for SANS Rocky Mountain 2017 on June 12 in Denver. I think George Broussard would appreciate the attention to detail and the efforts the staff and faculty go through to execute as close to flawlessly as one can get.