A Visual history of Bombshell

A Visual history of Bombshell

A Visual history of Bombshell

As many of you know, Bombshell is not a new character. She was originally concieved back in the mid '90s, before the development of Duke Nukem Forever began. Back then, she started her journey towards a character as fan fiction in the Command & Conquer universe.

Not quickly thereafter, she developed into a new character for Duke Nukem Forever, but never made it into the final game.

Originally, she was going to be based off Pamela Anderson, from the movie "Barb Wire". A counterpart to Duke Nukem, with a heavy emphasis on her attitude towards Duke.


The first concepts of Shelly were drawn in 1997, and had a heavy emphasis on sexualization, which was not uncomon the mid-nineties, although a bit embarrasing looking back with 2018 glasses;


In 1998 Bombshell was re-drawn again, this time by Dan Panosian. The design was slightly more stylized, but still with a heavy emphasis on sexualization.

1999 - 2001

In 1999 - 2001, she got another range of designs by Paul Richards, with some having a closer resembelance to the current version of Shelly. For instance, in one instance she had a bionic arm, while in another she was a bomb defusal expert. This was still the late '90s, with an over-the-top emphasis on sexualization (How far we've come!).


Paul Richards also did a few colorized version of his Bombshell artwork in 2000:


In 2003 we hired the legendary artist Feng Zhu to design a new interpretation of Bombshell.

This iteration was way less sexualized, with a more tactical look:


2009 marked the final appearance of Bombshell in a game related to Duke Nukem. At this point she was still meant to be included in Duke Nukem Forever, but was shortly scrapped afterwards.

In this interation, Bombshell, was simply an EDF Soldier:


2015 marked the year of the return of Bombshell - This time in her very first appearance in her own game.

In terms of her design, we had decided to take her in a completely new direction. We wanted to scrap the emphasis on sexualization, and instead create something brand new. We kept some old ideas, like her bionic arm, and her background as a bomb defusal expert:


And here we are!

In 2018, Bombshell returned to her FPS roots, starring in her very own First Person Shooter - Ion Maiden. As a prequel to Bombshell, before she lost her arm in the Washington Incident, we wanted to focus more on a different set or armor for the character. At this point, Bombshell is still working for the GDF, which we wanted to emphasize in her new look:

Back to the 90's

That brings us full circle back to the 90's with Ion Maiden.  Using the Build engine of old, we feel it's a great way to wrap us back around to those days.  To that, someone asked us this question on Steam..

Any information on the standalone Bombshell game 3D Realms was working on in the 90s?

3D Realms founder Scott Miller had this to say in response...

Sure. We had a small internal team, lead by engine coder, Billy Zelsnack and his brother, Jason, who were working on a fully 3D game in 1997, starring a female hero. It was going to be a war game, and your female character was a bit of a female Rambo. The two Zelsnack's had the idea of calling the game Bitch, and I put thought into coming up with a better name.

A month or two later, while watching the film, Barbwire, the ending credits had a generic "bombshell" character, and it immediately clicked that Bombshell could be a very cool name for the game, in place of Bitch.

The Zelsnack brothers left 3D Realms soon after, though, to start their own studio, and that's when I convinced my partner George that Bombshell should have a role in Duke Nukem Forever, with the idea of establishing her in that game, then giving her a spin-off game of her own.