Making video games is difficult. That comes as no surprise to anyone with even a passing familiarity of game development, of course, and plenty of talented studios have and continue to put out tremendous titles despite the pitfalls.
But some paths are more arduous than others, or at least aren’t as easy to keep quiet. Sometimes we hear about the trouble that a studio went through to get a project out the door, and it makes us realize just how cutthroat the business can actually be.
With that in mind, here are five games from the previous generation that gave their developers an especially hard time.
Duke Nukem Forever
We can begin with one of the most infamous development cycles in the history of the medium, and one that established itself as a long-running joke well before its actual release. That’s right, we’re talking about Duke Nukem Forever, which was in development for 15 years before it finally saw the light of day.
It all began with 3D Realms, shortly after the release of Duke Nukem 3D. For numerous reasons, ranging from changes in hardware and game engines to managerial missteps, it didn’t release before 3D Realms went under in 2009. All seemed lost until 2010, when it was announced that Gearbox Software had acquired the game. By May 2011, DNF no longer stood for “Did Not Finish.”
The problem, though, was that Gearbox clearly cobbled together whatever progress 3D Realms had made on Forever. It was nothing short of miraculous that the game released in the first place, but the end product was hardly worth the headache.