Duke Nukem Forever was in development for 12 years until the plug was finally pulled in June this year. What went on during those years remains largely a mystery, but Wired's Clive Thompson has dug deeper on the subject than anyone else and if you want to know why Duke Nukem Forever never saw store shelves you need to read his article.
Here are a few choice quotes to wet your appetite:
"Broussard simply couldn't tolerate the idea of Duke Nukem Forever coming out with anything other than the latest and greatest technology and awe-inspiring gameplay. He didn't just want it to be good. It had to surpass every other game that had ever existed, the same way the original Duke Nukem 3D had."
"One day George started pushing for snow levels," recalls a developer who worked on Duke Nukem Forever for several years starting in 2000. Why? "He had seen The Thing" - a new game based on the horror movie of the same name, set in the snowbound Antarctic - "and he wanted it." The staff developed a running joke: If a new title comes out, don't let George see it."
"Normally, game developers don't have much cash. Like rock bands seeking a label to help pay for the cost of recording an album, game developers usually find a publisher to give them an advance in exchange for a big slice of the profits. But Broussard and Miller didn't need to do this. 3D Realms was flush with cash; on top of the massive Duke Nukem 3D sales, they had other products that were selling briskly, including several add-on packs for Duke Nukem 3D that they'd outsourced to another developer."
Basically, its a case of trying to hard for perfection, and being cursed with buckloads of money. It's a great read that you should not miss out on...