Duke Nukem: Merch & Media

Playing with Yourself

In 1997, ReSaurus Inc., an Ohio based toy production company licensed the rights to produce Duke Nukem action figures. The figures were planned to be released alongside Duke Nukem Forever in 1998, but ended up launching alone when the game was delayed.

Two lines of figures were planned, but only one was mass produced. Six figures were produced; Duke Nukem, SWAT Duke Nukem, Battlestrike Duke Nukem, Battlelord, Pig Cop and Octobrain. The figures sold for $US12.99. A Military Pig Cop was also produced in very limited quantities.

A variant of the standard Duke figure could be ordered online – it included a shareware version of the game and a bonus freeze gun. Approximately one in every twelve of the standard retail Duke figures also included the freeze gun and shareware disc.

The figures were not manufactured in great numbers – there were an estimated 36,000 Duke figures produced. Planned figures in the second line included a Western Pig Cop and a Scuba Gear Duke Nukem. The figures aren’t particularly popular, so you could get a whole set in their original packaging for under $US200 – the prototypes for the second line (which exist in very small numbers – like less than 5) will set you back a whole lot more.

NECA has been commissioned to produce a new Duke Nukem figure to be released at the same time as Duke Nukem Forever. The NECA figure has higher detail and more points of articulation than the old ReSaurus figures, but comes with very few accessories. It’ll set you back $US14.99.

If you’re not the action figure sort, Moore Creations produced 8,500 of these Duke Nukem 3D statuettes. The highly detailed sculpture of Duke killing a Pig Cop will set you back up to $US150.

The Music of Duke

At least two CDs featuring music related to the Duke Nukem series have been released. The first, Duke Nukem: Time to Kill Powertracks was released in Europe in 1998. The album contains 18 power trance tracks that have little relation to the Duke series. There is also a bonus PlayStation disc in the package which contains a demo of Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, along with demos of B-Movie and OddWorld: Abe’s Exoddus.

Duke Nukem: Music to Score By is the official soundtrack to the Duke Nukem series. It was released on August 10, 1999 – a week or so after Duke Nukem: Zero Hour. The album features the Megadeath cover of Grabbag, the Duke Nukem 3D Theme, along with a bunch of other metal tracks. Multimedia content on the disc includes shareware versions of the Duke Nukem games, an interactive playguide for Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, screensavers and wallpapers and a behind the scenes look at the Duke Nukem: Zero Hour commercial shoot.

Advertisements for Time to Kill and Zero Hour both refer to soundtracks being available through Red Interactive records, but all searches for these albums wound up leading back to Music to Score By.

Reading Material

Most of the Duke Nukem related books are playguides that cover the games, but there are a few exceptions. One of the more conventional books is The Duke Nukem 3D Level Design Book, a guide that was written in conjunction with the 3D Realms team that gives you the ins and outs of designing levels in Build, along with a set of 50 new maps and tools to convert existing maps from Doom and Hexen.

The other non-playguide book is quite an oddity. Duke Does the Internet was written by Jonathan Mendoza (who did the Duke 3D playguides) and offers a firmly tongue-in-cheek look at the Internet through the eyes of Duke Nukem. It’s basically a collection of good internet sites (albeit many of which are probably dead by now) and guides on how to play games online. Given that it was written in late 1996, its antiquated look at the Internet should provide just as much amusement as its Duke-ness.

Duke Nukem is also hopping on the video game comics bandwagon with Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard, to be published by IDW in July. It’s a four issue mini-series involving Duke getting sent back in time to World War II, in order to help foil an alien invasion that will alter the time line. Tom Waltz (Silent Hill, A-Team) is writing the books, Spanish artist Xermanico is doing the drawing, while Luis Antonio Delgado and Chris Mowry are handling the colouring and lettering respectively. The covers are being done by John K. Snyder III.

The same team is also producing the 22 page mini-comic which is included in the “Balls of Steel” edition of Duke Nukem Forever.

Duke on the Silver Screen

There have been three attempts at producing a Duke Nukem feature film. The first came in early 1998, when Threshold Entertainment, GT Interactive and 3D Realms signed an agreement to “exploit video game blockbuster Duke Nukem across film, TV and home video.” Lawrence Kasanoff had recently produced Terminator 2 and Mortal Kombat Annihilation, and was looking to get involved with other video game projects (Zork being the other title he leveraged). The film was planned for release in 2000, and involved Duke’s favourite strip club being overrun by aliens. Like so many video game projects, this one never got past the pre-production stage as Threshold Entertainment encountered difficulty securing funding for the film.

Larry Kasanoff

Two years later, the Kasanoff-produced Duke pic re-emerged in the headlines after a deal was struck with Dimension Films to produce the film. The plot had changed, with Duke heading into deep space to take on a hostile alien ship headed for Earth. Fans of the series balked when producers let loose that they were targeting a PG-13 rating for the flick, and the project went quiet again.

Eventually, Threshold’s rights on Duke expired and movie options were explored again. Depth Entertainment, which produced the Max Payne flick, signed a deal to produce the Duke film. Scott Miller stated that the new film would be an original story in the Duke universe, and that a story bible had been produced in order to help the movie producers along. However, after Max Payne failed to ignite the box office, little has been said about the Duke Nukem film project. Given that the franchise rights have been transferred to Gearbox, we’d expect that any future Duke film projects are contingent on Duke Nukem Forever being a big success.