If you haven't been following the legal wrangling and public posturing between Duke Nukem Forever developer Gearbox Software and previous series stalwarts 3D Realms, plus the latter's new owner Interceptor Entertainment, than you've probably not miss all that much - at least until now, because things took a turn for the interesting this week as 3D Realms claimed that, despite what the studio says, Gearbox Software was NEVER assigned the license for the Duke Nukem brand.
The statement from 3D Realms reads:
On March 17, 2014, 3D Realms filed its answer to the complaint by Gearbox Software in Dallas, Texas. 3DR denies all allegations set forth in the complaint. In its answer, 3DR has submitted evidence showing that Gearbox at no point intended to enter into good faith negotiations but instead sought to force former owners, Scott Miller and George Broussard, to improperly surrender what rightfully belonged to 3DR.
It is our position that 3DR retains the right to develop the tentatively titled “Duke Nukem Survivor” game for specific platforms. This game was previously licensed for development to Interceptor Entertainment. Furthermore, it is our position that the Trademark for “Duke Nukem” was never assigned to Gearbox, but remains the sole property of 3DR.
Not wanting to be left out of the fun and games, Interceptor Entertainment also joined in the salvo with its own published statement:
As an independent and young studio, we have been very fortunate to work with companies such as Apogee and 3D Realms on amazing IPssuch as Duke Nukem and Rise of the Triad. As true fans of these companies, their games and the amazing minds behind them, we have nothing but respect for the intellectual properties they have created as well as their rightful owners.
We were extremely excited for our next reveal, but unfortunately due to the actions of Gearbox Software, Interceptor Entertainment decided to put this reveal on hold in respect of their lawsuit. However, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment were rightfully developing our game and as you can imagine we were quite shocked when the accusations by Gearbox arose, as we have always acted within our legal rights. It’s unfortunate that Gearbox has shown no intention of finding a peaceful solution with us. We will however continue to work towards a solution.
Gearbox has yet to respond, but the studio has been voiciferous in its claims of rightful ownership to the Duke Nukem brand, so this could well turn out to be one of those sagas that just keeps on going, which is a real shame for the guys and gals working on Mass Destruction.