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3D Realms/Duke Nukem saga continues with a bizarre turn of events

by Steven Williamson on 20 May 2009, 09:29

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The 3D Realms/Duke Nukem/Take-Two Interactive saga continues with a bizarre turn of events this week. To cut a long story short, we reported last week that developer 3D Realms, who have been working Duke Nukem Forever for the last 12 years, had closed its doors, which had put the future of the shooter in doubt. Would someone take over reigns, or would this everlasting project finally be ditched, we asked ourselves?

Following on from the news, Take-Two Interactive, who owns the publishing rights to the game, made a statement saying it was suing Apogee, the parent company of 3D Realms for not delivering on its contract to create the Duke Nukem Forever videogame.

Now, 3D Realms has issued an official press release confirming that it is not closing, and never was! Instead, it claims it had just released the Duke Nukem Forever team while it "regroups" as a company.

So, were people right in claiming that the influx of leaked Duke Nukem Forever material was part of one giant hoax to create hype around the game. We guess we'll never know who let these assets out into the public domain and why they did so. One thing is for sure though, 3D Realms are not going to let Take-Two Interactive have the Duke Nukem Forever name without a fight.

Check out the full press release:

Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) has not closed and is not closing. 3DR retains ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. Due to lack of funding, however, we are saddened to confirm that we let the Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) development team go on May 6th, while we regroup as a company. While 3DR is a much smaller studio now, we will continue to operate as a company and continue to license and co-create games based upon the Duke Nukem franchise.

As some of you may know, Take-Two filed a lawsuit last week containing various accusations and claims against 3DR and the uncompleted DNF game. Take-Two never paid 3DR advances or any signing bonus or any other funds related to DNF, up until July 2008, at which time they paid $2.5m in connection with another agreement for an unannounced game. This is the sum total Take-Two has paid 3DR in connection with DNF. Take-Two claims that they paid $12m to GT Interactive/Infogrames to acquire the publishing rights for the DNF game. To be clear, 3DR was not a party to that transaction and did not receive any money from it. When the DNF game was originally signed with GT Interactive in 1998, GT paid 3DR a $400,000 signing bonus. Up until July 2008, this was the only publisher money we received for the DNF game. Meanwhile, 3DR put over $20m into the production of DNF.

Take-Two retains publishing rights for the DNF game, although 3DR retains certain rights to sell the game directly to the public. Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game. In the meantime, 3DR was hitting mutually-agreed milestones, despite not having a new agreement finalized. Take-Two was well aware that 3DR needed the funding to continue the DNF game development. Suddenly, after months of negotiations, Take-Two materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement. 3DR informed Take-Two that it could not financially afford the changes Take-Two was suggesting and would be forced to release the team if an agreement was not reached. Take-Two made a last minute proposal to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise and the 3DR development team. Take-Two’s proposal was unacceptable to 3DR for many reasons, including no upfront money, no guarantee minimum payment, and no guarantee to complete the DNF game. From 3DR’s perspective, we viewed Take-Two as trying to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise in a “fire sale.” Those negotiations fell through on May 4th, a deal never materialized, and the DNF team was sadly released a few days later.

Less than a week after the DNF team was released, Take-Two filed its lawsuit in New York, seeking immediate temporary injunctive relief. The court denied Take-Two’s request for a temporary restraining order. While we cannot comment on the details of the ongoing lawsuit, we believe Take-Two’s lawsuit is without merit and merely a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher.

The saga looks set to continue for some time. We don't who or what to believe anymore.

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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publicity stunt springs to mind.
The last person who cares died in 1986, leaving no surviving relatives.
Up until July 2008, this was the only publisher money we received for the DNF game

Really does seem suitable to call it DNF and not Duke Nuken Forever :lol: