Regardless, Duke Nukem 3D continues to cast a long shadow. As one of the biggest games of the 90s - Duke himself became a bona-fide gaming icon - he still has fans who yearn for a modern game worthy of that classic. Understandably so, given we don't have any game characters like Duke anymore. Let's face it, all game characters look the same these days. Duke was different and unique.
But how - how - to update a character rooted in dated gameplay and attitudes? This is how.
There was something appreciably straight-to-video about Duke 3D, wrapped up in a technically impressive first-person shoot 'em up. The fact that it was the equal of Doom - in many respects improving upon on it - didn't hurt, but throw into that not only its skewed humour, but the ridiculous arsenal of weapons and a non-linear approach to most levels, and you had a game with an enduring legacy. Heck, set it in the 90s if you have to, and give it a double-whammy of nostalgia.
There's a reason why the recent Doom reboot was better received than many of its predecessors; it understood what made the original so great, ditched most of the sense of creeping horror that had bled into the franchise, and returned it to its shoot 'em up roots.
You have to do the same for Duke; go back to basics. Make as few concessions to modern sensibilities and trends as possible. Make it as politically incorrect as you can get away with. Make it properly funny.
And make it a serious technical achievement. Easier said than done, I know - and a big investment gamble on a property that might've had its day - but without a doubt, Duke Nukem Forever's biggest failing is that it felt unpolished, rushed, and unworthy of its legend.
Duke Nukem 3D revelled in being a direct descendant of Space Invaders. In short: the aliens are here, and Duke is the only thing standing in their way. That's it. That's your plot. And providing Duke keeps up with the macho one-liners, we're good.
Unfortunately, that character trait was fundamental to what a lot of people loved about Duke Nukem 3D. Offering strippers a tip - "Shake it, baby!" - and all that. Duke 3D was a pubescent power fantasy from an era where such things were considered more acceptable. How to translate that into the modern day?
Bottom line: you simply don't do it. And you don't comment on Duke being an outdated dinosaur either, thus making everyone who enjoyed Duke 3D feel bad and piss people off. It's done. It's over. Move on and make Duke Nukem about something else other than the objectification of women. There's still enough of a character remaining even if you remove that.
In many respects, the Saints Row series has picked up where Duke 3D left off, with a similar over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek, approach. And it does it without having to pander to base tastes.
There's an old Jon Pertwee quote about Doctor Who being more frightening when it featured "A yeti on your loo in Tooting Bec". It wasn't so much that a shitting yeti made the show more frightening, but it certainly made it more relatable, keeping one foot in our real world. Duke 3D took that literally (see the image above).
Duke Nukem 3D featured a cinema, a prison, restaurants, and many flushing toilets. Set a new game in the aftermath of an alien-induced earthquake, a ruined, evacuated, Los Angeles - but make sure it's recognisable as our world. Make it interactive. And put ridiculous aliens and massive action set-pieces into it. Turn the world on its head.
A new game could ramp this up; set a level in, I dunno, Kim Kardashian's house, and another in a thinly-disguised Disneyland. Make it a commentary on everything from hollow entertainment culture, to social media, to American patriotism, to video game violence. Give a Duke game a reason to exist in the 21st Century by making it fundamentally satirical.
Make it happen.
Thanks to Col. Asdasd for suggesting this. Got another game series you want me to fix? Tell me in the comments.