They said it would never happen, and it nearly didn't -- but after many, many long years of waiting, Duke Nukem Forever is finally finished.

Duke Nukem Forever Goes Gold

Gearbox Software has announced today that Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold, meaning that it's finished and ready for manufacture, duplication and distribution to the waiting masses.

It's actually relatively rare that developers and publishers make such an announcement these days, instead tending to jump from a release date announcement to "it's out tomorrow!" via discussions of pre-order bonuses. But given Duke Nukem Forever's long and troubled history, every milestone the project reaches is a significant one. And "going gold" is the last major milestone before you see disc cases on your local game store's shelves.

"When you play this game you will be reminded of that epic journey at every turn and in every small detail of the game," said George Broussard, creative director of original developer 3D Realms.

"I bet on all of the developers who have ever been a part of this legendary project and I bet that none of us want to live in a world without the Duke," added Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, who has played a prominent role in the game's marketing campaign. "I've played the final game and it is an incredible experience -- a once-in-a-lifetime opus of interactive entertainment that reminds me once again why Duke Nukem is our King. The developers of Duke Nukem Forever at 3D Realms, Triptych, Piranha and finally at Gearbox deserve our thanks and respect for never giving up and have truly shown us that they have balls of steel!"

Duke Nukem Forever is out on June 14. Members of the First Access Club will get access to the demo on June 3.