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One Of The Worst Games Ever Actually Almost Looked Good

The story of "Duke Nukem Forever" is one of gaming's most notorious cautionary tales when it comes to troubled development. Originally announced in 1996, the title was highly anticipated due to the success of prior entries into the series. "Duke Nukem Forever" continued to fuel the hype train for the next several years, but behind the scenes, the game was enduring one of the worst examples of development hell in entertainment history. Eventually, after 15 years of development, "Duke Nukem Forever" was released in 2011. And, despite the multitude of delays, the game still came out terrible.

"Duke Nukem Forever" was lambasted by critics and gamers alike upon its release, with a lot of criticism levied at its unintuitive control scheme, dated humor, and poor visuals. Despite literally setting a Guinness World Record for the longest game development cycle ever, there were hardly any redeeming qualities about the final product. However, some fans recently began digging into the game's archives to find ways to fix the faulty experience players were ultimately served. For instance, the build of the game that was shown at E3 2001, once thought to be lost, was recently recovered by dataminers. Now, certain technological tinkerers have discovered that "Duke Nukem Forever," a game that was criticized for its poor graphical quality, initially did look better before its launch.

Modders have discovered Duke Nukem Forever once had an advanced lighting system

While the graphics in "Duke Nukem Forever" were nothing to shout about, a pair of modders — computer science student Vinícius Medeiros and his friend Justin Marshall — recently discovered that the game initially had a much more advanced lighting system that could've made the game look way better than it ultimately did. Medeiros initially shared his findings on Twitter, using in-game footage and screenshots to show the rather impressive unimplemented lighting system, which is capable of casting shadows and providing a more ambiance to the game.

In an interview with PCGamesN, Medeiros said that the lighting system is still in the game but was nerfed at some point during development. "The lighting system is very reactive," Medeiros told PCGamesN's Ed Smith. "It's in the game. It's just that the devs set most of the objects to not cast a shadow. There are some scenes that still have shadows present, but it's not used to its full potential." As to why 3D Realms didn't implement the lighting system, it's likely it came down to optimization issues. "I suspect that It got downgraded due to optimizing the game to the [Xbox] 360 and PS3," Medeiros told PCGamesN. "Most of the features were disabled due to console optimization, so the PC version suffered as a result."