Duke Nukem Forever is dead and gone (I think.) Its possible successor on the great video game milk cart of missing games, Alan Wake, is on the verge of release. So what, then, is the New Duke Nukem Forever?
Here are some candidates:
First Inklings: This fan-made re-creation the original Half-Life using development studio Valve's Source engine was started back in 2004. Its team was working its way through development challenges in 2006. A trailer and late-2009 release date emerged last year. The game did not.
Last Sighting: The development studio announced last month that Black Mesa will be out "in the near future."
First Inkling: The 2004 free PC game was shown running on a Nintendo Wii in late 2008. It would be a WiiWare game, presumably soon. The game was again playable on the Wii at the Penny Arcade Expo in September 2009. So, again, coming soon, yes?
Last Sighting: Tyrone Rodriguez, whose Nicalis studio is handling the WiiWare version, told me last month that the game is complete and in submission with Nintendo. Seems like it's coming real soon.
First Inkling: Blizzard announced the game with a dramatic bit of web-work in 2008. This game was playable last August, but...
Last Sighting: Late last year, an Activision Blizzard exec put Diablo III in his slideshow of upcoming games. It didn't go in the 2010 column. It went in the "next few years" column.
First InklingLaunching what may have been a campaign to make Final Fantasy XIII's development seem swift, Final Fantasy Versus 13, an action role-playing game of some sort, was shown to the world, in pre-rendered trailer form in 2006. And then came little word, mostly just signs of delay.
Last Sighting: At least in late 2009, Square-Enix's Testuya Nomura admitted the game still exists.
First Inkling: Sony's PS3-only racing game was announced in 2006, but was expected as far back as Gran Turismo 4's release in 2005. Since GT4, three Forza racing games have come out on rival platform Xbox 360. No Gran Turismo console games. (A long-missing Gran Turismo PSP did finally come out in 2009, though.)
Last Sighting: The game has been playable at Sony events since last year, which is more than can be said about most of the other games on this list. But, screeching around the bend for an early to mid 2010 release, Gran Turismo was just shifted to a TBA release window by Sony.
First Inkling: Half-Life 2 Episode 3 has been expected since Half-Life 2's episodic expansions were announced in early 2005. Episode 1 was out in 2006, Episode 2 in 2007. Episode 3 is 2008, right? Wrong. How about 2009? Nope.
First Inkling: Pirates of the Caribbean and CSI super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer announced in late 2007 that he would be starting an initiative to make video games with MTV. An MTV exec told me then that, "if everything was perfect," the first Bruckheimer game would be out in 18-24 months.
Last Sighting: In early 2009, Bruckheimer brought in former top me from Bungie and Ubisoft to oversee Bruckheimer games, with a focus on original works. Since then, no news, no Bruckheimer games.
First Inkling: The Team Bondi-made PlayStation 3 game was announced in 2005 and, a year later, described by backer Rockstar Games as an "interactive detective story set in the classic noir period of the late 1940's" from the lead creator of the PlayStation 2's The Getaway. By 2007, publisher Take-Two was pushing the game's release back all the way to 2009. In 2009, we didn't even get a new L.A. Noire trailer, let alone a game.
Last Sighting: Rockstar Games announced on its site last week that fans can "expect to see a long-awaited reveal via a big cover story next month."
First Inklings: The original Pikmin was released on the GameCube in 2001, with a sequel out three years later. It was assumed that Pikmin would return on the Wii, because Nintendo is a publisher good about maintaining most of its critically-acclaimed franchises and seemed proud enough about the Pikmin characters to include them in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Later that year, Nintendo's top game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, told reporters at E3: "We're making Pikmin." A ha! Pikmin 3 incoming?
Last Sighting: In 2009, Miyamoto was apologetic about the lack of progress but did confirm that a new game is slowly being developed: ""Unfortunately we haven't been able to expand the team size very much, because we've been working on so many different games that we've shown off at the show. So the team is working very hard, but it's a bit of a small team."
First Inkling: Long in development, announced in 2007, this game was playable by the press last year.
Last Sighting: The first installment of the multi-part StarCraft II may be planned for 2010 now, but the game's multiplayer beta, expected for 2009, has yet to begin.
We wait, and we wait some more, Kotaku faithful. Tell me, what's the new Duke Nukem Forever? Feel free to rank these games in the order they will come out. That would be some helpful info.
UPDATE: The following reader submissions are also good candidates: Ubisoft's disaster-survival game I Am Alive, Ubi's fan-teasing Beyond Good and Evil 2, the long-incubating first-person shooter massively multiplayer Huxley, the early Wii project Sadness, the former Midway project This Is Vegas, MTV's little-mentioned Japanese edition of Rock Band, and E3 2006's WarDevil.