I’ve had an idea in my head for quite a while, and you’ll have to followe me on this one.
(Note: I have not thought of every detail, just a general thought about how the games will go.)
First off, it is a game Duology. Consisting of two games, the series covers the initial invasion of a brand new alien civilization (ie, not pig cops and Cyloid Emperors) and Duke’s subsequent fight against them.
The gameplay would be rather similar to the Deus Ex series, in that there are RPG elements in how to proceed, giving you multiple possible paths to your objective. Each individual area would be open to explore as you desire, but the story would still progress linearly. So it would not be a true “open world” game, but as you progress from area to area, each individual one is open to explore.
The camera should always be first person, never leaving Duke’s perspective even during scripted events.
Weapons available would contain a couple more iconic weapons, such as the shotgun and maybe the freeze ray, but weapons such as the pistol, the assault rifle, and anything “sci-fi-ish” should be redesigned, or completely new. I believe a four weapon inventory will be sufficient, and of course, you can pick up and switch out weapons that are dropped or found at your discresion. There obviously wouldn’t only be four weapons in the entire game. Other items, such as medpacks and the like will be available for pick up and use as well.
Duke himself needs to become cool again. Think the original Robocop. He’s satirical and over the top, but he’s not dumb or goofy (the way Duke Nukem Forever came across as… or Robocop 3). You can still take the film seriously to some degree, and it’s remains “cool.”
Additionaly, if I had my way, Duke’s name would not actually be in the titles.
I’ll start with game one: Rise of the Jade Star Empire
In this first installment, the “Jade Star Empire” arrives at Earth and begins it’s invasion in typical fashion. There ships descend from the sky, they hover over the White House, such and such forth. Duke is not the “celebrity” he is in DNF. But he is the government’s go-to man. He’s called in to stop various incursions around the world while trying to figure out if there is a specific reason for the invasion. Bombshell will make her debut as an international black operative and as Duke’s partner for several levels, aiding Duke in his missions, as well as going off to perform on her own. Each level will take place in various cities around the world, giving way to having diverse level design. From New York City to Paris to Bombay to Alaska. Anywhere that would make for interesting or fun location and design.
At the conclusion of the first game, scientist will have developed a way to travel to the aliens’ homeworld through some sort of warpgate/stargate device, which Duke will travel through. Bombshell will not follow at first, she is busy on Earth.
On to the second game: “Fall of the Jade Star Empire”
Duke arrives on the alien homeworld and begins his way to the capitol tower in the capitol city of the planet. Like on Earth, each level will be an open area to explore. These levels can take Duke all around the planet before he arrives at his final destination. Indigenous alien creatures can be introduced, as well as a closer look at alien society. Duke could develop a love interest, or at least a general “Bond girl” archetype to accompany him throughout the story. In later levels, the scientists will have found a way to send larger groups of personnel through the stargate safely, and Duke will be joined by Bombshell and groups of Earth military. Duke will make it to the top of the capitol tower and have a “talk” with Jade Star Emperor. This scene will be sort of similar to that of the meeting with Dr. Breen in Half-Life 2 or Andrew Ryan in BioShock. Both the Emperor and Duke will discuss/argue the reasons for the invasion (which is no more complicated than simple expansion) and the atrocities both parties have committed against each others’ people. Despite anything the Emperor says, Duke will execute him and align all nuclear missiles under the Emperor’s direct command to launch at major points on the planet. The missiles will launch and Duke will have to escape with Bombshell and the surviving Earth military to the stargate. He will try to take the “Bond girl” with him back to Earth, but she is obviously furious and distraught that Duke has elected to destroy her world, and stays behind to watch the apocalypse. Duke and company will arrive at the stargate to find that it malfunctioned and only a handful of Earth military are able to make it through before the portal collapses. Duke and Bombshell are left behind with another handful of Earth military. They then fight their way to a spacecraft nearby to escape the planet. Here may be the final boss fight against some recurring enemy (possibly an alien colonel or general he has crossed multiple times). Duke will defeat the enemy forces and make aboard the spacecraft and take off just as the missiles begin to hit their targets around the planet. As the craft makes it into space, Duke and Bombshell watch the devastation of the alien planet. Bombshell will if he should have done that to the world or if was the right thing, to which Duke will not answer. He will back down in silence, light a cigar, and contemplate his actions as they sale into space.
As you might have guessed, I’ve put more thought into how the story should mostly go then I have about the general gameplay or level locations. As far as those are concerned, I truly believe taking a page (or several) from Deus Ex’s book is the best way to build the game. But I especially believe the story is where the next Duke Nukem game needs to be the strongest. If there is one thing that people complained about, disliked, or outright detested from Duke Nukem Forever, it was the character of Duke and the game’s story (or lack thereof).
But that’s my dream Duke Nukem game. I should learn how code and model and such. If I started now, I could have this game done in… about 14 years.