Always bet on Duke? No, not in this case. Always sue for Duke…
Gearbox Software is suing Apogee Software (which would be the parent company of 3D Realms) for breach of contract in its acquisition of the Duke Nukem franchise and IP. Digital Trends spotted a third-party complaint filed by Randy Pitchford’s company. They accuse 3D Realms of violating the portion of its 2010 acquisition agreement that attested that all the rights to the Duke Nukem IP were being transferred to Gearbox „free and clear.” 3D Realms was transferring sole ownership of the entire property to Gearbox, making them the owners of the Duke IP.
In September, Bobby Prince, a composer, sued Gearbox over unpaid royalties from Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour (released in 2016), attesting that his work had been licensed for the original Duke Nukem 3D, and thus couldn’t be used in new properties without licensing fees. Since Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour is a different version of the game, that’s why the lawsuit happened. Now, Apogee has been added as a third party to the legal battle between Prince and Gearbox alongside co-founders Scott Miller and George Broussard. Gearbox claims in its third-party complaint that it informed 3D Realms of the issue in November and that the company had failed to indemnify Gearbox.
In 2015, a settlement between Gearbox, 3D Realms, and Interceptor was reached after 3D Realms licensed Interceptor to developer Duke Nukem Mass Destruction. The game entered development after the IP had already been purchased in full by Gearbox. You’re not going to find this game anywhere with that name. Instead, you have to look for Bombshell on PlayStation 4 and PC, after Interceptor had to re-tool the game due to this lawsuit. In 2013, 3D Realms dropped a suit against Gearbox in which it alleged that Gearbox had been withholding profits from the sale of Duke Nukem Forever. (Oh yes, the game that was finished after a long development hell.)
Since we started with a Duke quote, let’s also end with one: ugh, this sucks…
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