Update [Wed 5th Apr, 2023 11:15 BST]: x0R has now released the design documents for Duke Nukem: Endangered Species (as spotted by JuanLurve on Twitter).
One of the most interesting things about this release is that the design docs also contain excerpts from Duke Nukem Forever 2001's design, in order to keep the developers in Ukraine abreast of what Apogee was making elsewhere. The docs include references to Duke's S.O.S (Shades Operating System) heads-up-display, a first-person user interface that was set to be included in Duke Nukem Forever, as well as Duke's Ego, which was going to be a stand-in for a generic health bar. Ego did eventually make it into Gearbox's 2011 version of Duke Nukem Forever, but here we can see Apogee's original outline for this mechanic.
Original Story [Mon 19th Dec, 2022 11:00 GMT]: A development build of Duke Nukem: Endangered Species has appeared online, from the same person/person(s) responsible for leaking the E3 2001 build of Duke Nukem Forever earlier this year: "x0R".
Endangered Species may not have the long and drawn-out development history of Duke Nukem Forever, but it will be familiar to any fans of the Duke who were glued to gaming sites and magazines in the early 2000s. According to a news article from the website Adrenaline Vault, accessed through Wayback Machine, the publication GameDaily accidentally revealed the project was in development just shy of E3 in May 2000, leading to the 3D Realms' co-founder George Broussard issuing more details about the title ahead of that month's event.
Broussard revealed at the time that the developers of Carnivores and Carnivores 2, the Ukrainian studio Action Forms, were working on the project, under both Take-Two and Gathering of Developers. He also told fans that "It will be a high quality, fun, budget level DUKE game with all the edge fans have come to expect. It will surprise a lot of people what designers can do with a good idea and [a reasonable budget]."
Like Carnivores before it, the title was a first-person shooter and tasked players (controlling Duke) with hunting down various creatures including alligators, dinosaurs, and werewolves, across different regions of the world. As Duke hunted more and more of these animals, he would soon discover that these bizarre events were linked and would gradually piece together who or what was responsible.
As reported in an interview by Stomped, It was being built with an entirely new engine developed in-house and was originally set to launch on PC in December 2000. However, its release date slipped to August 2001, and in December 2001, Gamespot reported that it was cancelled.
As some sources have since noted, assets from the cancelled game ended up being repurposed for 2005's Vivisector: Beast Within, another game from its developer Action Forms.
The leaked build of Duke Nukem: Endangered Species, recently distributed online, is dated July 2002 - seven months after its official cancellation.
It comes with a MegaPatch included in the Patches & Tools directory, as well as a model conversion tool to easily view the game's assets. As part of the cleanup process, they've also put two additional audio drivers together - CreativeEAX and DirectSound - which are based on audio driver source code from the Carnivore games. This is because, untouched, the build features one A3D audio driver, which is incompatible with most modern systems, and a software driver that has stability issues.
Apogee/3D Realms' co-founder Scott Miller responded to the news of the leak with the following:
"A leak of Duke Nukem Endangered Species has just come out. [...] This was a hunting game essentially, and tbh I didn't think it fit Duke's character very well to go around killing animals. So Apogee killed the project."