Gearbox/3DR Duke Nukem lawsuit finally settled

Duke Nukem is a free man. The year-long legal battle between Gearbox Software and Interceptor Entertainment/3D Realms has finally been (mostly) resolved.

Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem

To recap: 3D Realms is the original developerment studio behind the Duke Nukem series. Gearbox Software bought the rights to the franchise when it took over development on Duke Nukem Forever, something 3DR and new owner Interceptor Entertainment may have overlooked when it started working on Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

(The game was never formally announced, but a teaser website was less-than-subtle in its hints.)

Gearbox said at the time:

Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened. The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor.

Now, court documents (PDF) suggest that the drawn-out suit has been settled – with the assistance of a mediator – and even though we don’t know the specific details of the terms, we do know that Gearbox is happy to sell the Duke… for the right price.

That was actually determined in the original agreement between 3DR/Apogee Software and Gearbox, prior to the release of Duke Nukem Forever, which states simply:

the Seller may repurchase the Duke IP at a price equal to the Buy-Back

(…the agreement also shows that Gearbox can sell the Duke Nukem property to another, third-party buyer, with proceeds split between Gearbox and 3DR.)

It’s important to note that the new arrangement does not necessarily mean that 3DR is planning on buying the Duke back from Gearbox – or that Gearbox is looking to sell – but it does mean that such a thing is possible.

Having read through the legal documents, it’s also pretty obvious that Gearbox is rather displeased about the whole shenanigans, prefacing its response to virtually every one of 3DR‘s requests for information with the following:

Gearbox objects to interrogatory on the grounds that it is overly broad, unduly burdensome and seeks information that is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Unsurprisingly, even though the case was settled earlier this month, neither Gearbox or Interceptor (for 3DR) has released any statement or comment on the matter.

In the meantime, Interceptor and 3DR have salvaged the progress made on Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, made a few subtle tweaks, and bundled it up as a new game, with an all-new (female!) protagonist: Bombshell.

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