Gearbox and 3D Realms drawn out conflict has come to an end, with Gearbox emerging victorious and retaining the rights to the franchise.
Gearbox, creator of Borderlands and the upcoming Battleborn, has been having it out with 3D Realms and owners Interceptor Entertainment for a while now, after Gearbox sued them over the rights to the Duke Nukem IP.
Previously, 3D Realms sold Duke Nukem in entirety to Gearbox, who used it to finish and release Duke Nukem Forever – a game we are forever trying to forget.
3D Realms was then later purchased by Danish-centered Interceptor Entertainment, who started teasing at a new title, Duke Nukem Mass Destruction. Gearbox didn’t really like that and quickly sued them over the rights. Gearbox later revealed the isometric top down action game Bombshell. Many quickly began to make comparisons to Duke Nukem Mass Destruction and claimed it was an altered version of the title without the addition of dear old Duke.
The trio have been in conflict ever since, but now in a joint statement issued by Gearbox, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment they say that they have “resolved their differences”, and that all legal conflict has come to an end. The current CEO of 3D Realms, Mike Nielsen, has said that Interceptor has acquired a license to develop Duke Nukem Mass Destruction in a sign of good faith.
“We never intended to cause any harm to Gearbox or Duke, which is why we immediately ceased development after Gearbox reached out,” he stated.
“To secure the future of Duke, 3D Realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves the IP best. And as big Duke fans, we’re excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the King. As for our own games, we’re eager to complete development of the Bombshell game and get it in the hands of our fans.”
Seems everyone is friends again. Gearbox stressed that it wished to keep the terms of it’s settlement confidential but has confirmed that Gearbox Software is the sole and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise.
Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford said: “I genuinely appreciate Mr. Nielsen’s and Mr. Schreiber’s statement and sincerely offer my best wishes to Interceptor Entertainment and 3D Realms towards their future success and, as someone who was part of the 3D Realms team when Bombshell was first imagined, I am excited to see what they have in store for us with their game.”
So now that the field is settled and all is calm, the big question is what next for Duke? When asked at the Develop conference in July, Randy Pitchford expressed interest and his desire to work on another Duke Nukem title, aided by an outside developer. “I did not acquire the franchise merely so people could experience Duke Nukem Forever,” Pitchford explained when asked if another Duke Nukem title would be made. “That was, sort of, the toll to pay to give Duke Nukem a chance at a future.
“So yes. In fact, we’ve done some concept development. The challenge is that Gearbox is very busy. A faster way would be if the correct developer would become interested and we’d work with them.”
So time will tell if we’re greeted with another Duke Nukem title anytime soon, or if it’s going to be put to rest for now.