After denying claims that DNF was now running on the Doom 3 engine, in 2006 Broussard gave an update on the game's development, stating that the team was finally tweaking and polishing the game.
In June 2006, a filing revealed that Take-Two was offering a $500,000 bonus if 3D Realms released Duke Nukem Forever by December 31, 2006. Broussard denied the rumours, saying that he would "never ship a game early... for 500K."
In early 2007 a brand new in-game screenshot emerged alongside a 3D Realms job ad, followed by the release of Duke Nukem 3D on Xbox Live Arcade. Reports emerged that "significant progress" had been made on the shooter - now in its fourth or fifth iteration - and it would finally be released in 2008. 3D Realms seemingly confirmed the news with the release of the first teaser trailer in six years.
In January, 2008 Duke's art director Tramell Isaac revealed that 3D Realms was currently "doing a lot of polishing of set pieces, environments, and characters," and a full reveal looked likely to happen soon. And it did: in June 2008 a journalist actually managed to infiltrate 3D Realms and see Duke Nukem Forever being played in front of his very eyes.
Another journalist who saw the game behind closed doors reported that it was "looking great" after spending "a good half hour" witnessing "several different DNF gameplay scenarios, mechanics, and environments being demonstrated".
Confidence grew. Actually getting our hands on the infamous FPS finally looked likely, though 3D Realms decided to skip showcasing the game at the "irrelevant" E3 show in 2008. 3D Realms chief Scott Miller reassured fans "development is swimming along nicely. Seriously nicely."
Nothing more was seen of the game in 2008... or at all. In April 2009, 3D Realms boss George Broussard gave a final development update on his Twitter, stating "71 more tasks to do and we started with probably 800-900. Been a good push. Next one starts Monday." But it wasn't to be.
On May 7, 2009 reports rolled in that 3D Realms had closed its doors as a result of "funding issues", later confirmed by its publisher Take-Two.
"We can confirm that our relationship with 3D Realms for Duke Nukem Forever was a publishing arrangement, which did not include ongoing funds for development of the title," said Take-Two VP of communications Alan Lewis. "In addition, Take-Two continues to retain the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever."
It's been an emotional, decade-long rollercoaster ride.
Finally, today, our dreams came true: A respected developer picked up where 3D Realms left off. We're finally getting the proper Duke Nukem sequel we've been waiting so, so long to receive.
In the end, he was right: You always bet on Duke.