3D Realms still in business, $20M Duke Nukem Forever bill revealed

Texas studio issues statement confirming elimination of game's team, but asserting its existence continues despite having had to shoulder massive development costs solo.

So far, the month of May has been the most tumultuous for 3D Realms since the studio's inception in 1987. On May 6, reports that the Texan studio--which had been working on Duke Nukem Forever since 1997--had shut down were apparently confirmed by webmaster Joe Siegler. Two days later, the shop issued a group "Goodbye" accompanied by a photo of nearly three dozen staffers.

The $20 million game.

Then, on Friday, May 14, would-be Duke Nukem Forever publisher Take-Two Interactive (Grand Theft Auto, BioShock) sued 3D Realms' parent company, Apogee Software Ltd. According to the Bloomberg news service, Take-Two accused 3D Realms of failing to deliver on its contractual obligation to produce the game after being paid $12 million in 2000. It sought an immediate temporary restraining order preventing the release of any Duke Nukem Forever assets by Take-Two.

Today, 3D Realms hit back at Take-Two in the form of a statement sent out by CEO George Broussard to several media outlets, including GameSpot. In it, the company defiantly declares that it is not going out of business.

"Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) has not closed and is not closing," reads the statement. "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 6, 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."

The statement then lays out 3DR's version of the tangled series of events that led to this month's dramatic developments. It claims that Take-Two has not given 3DR a single cent in signing bonuses or advances for DNF, but instead paid the $12 million mentioned in the suit to defunct publisher GT Interactive. (The publisher was absorbed by Atari parent Infogrames in 1999.) 3DR contends that, in 2008, it was paid a $2.5 million advance by Take-Two for "an unannounced game," and the only money it ever received for DNF was a $400,000 advance from GT Interactive.

To date, 3D Realms claims that it has sunk more than $20 million of its own money into Duke Nukem Forever, and that at of the end of 2008, it realized that it required outside help to continue. "Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game," read its statement. "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."

By 3D Realms' account, "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."

Artist's interpretation of the monster legal fees the Take-Two/3D Realms spat will generate.

"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 guaranteed 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 4, a deal never materialized, and the DNF team was sadly released a few days later."

Though it would not address the specifics of Take-Two's suit, 3D Realms' statement did say that the legal action is "without merit" and "a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise." It revealed that a New York judge has denied Take-Two's request for the restraining order, and promised to fight on.

"We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher," read the statement's final line.

For the moment, 3D Realms appears to have the last word. "We have no further comment on the matter at this time," was all a Take-Two rep would say on the looming legal battle.

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Discussion

501 comments
rccars411
rccars411

Chinese Democracy came out November of 2008...

Princess_Rectum
Princess_Rectum

If Chinese Democracy ends up getting released, so will Duke Nukem Forever. Remember that.

SeargantGoat
SeargantGoat

Hopefully Shadow Warrior: Forever is still on track..

Dgalmun
Dgalmun

I surely hope it comes out, it's been in development hell for over 12 years and the 3d realms haven't done nothing at all. And besides I need an ass kicking game for my xbox 360.

psycho_spaceman
psycho_spaceman

it's never gonna happen. i really wish it would, but i'm being realistic... i remember picking up issues of pc gamer a decade ago at the bookstore, lookin at breaking news of this game. lemme tell ya, i got super excited.. practically creamed myself. but it ain't happenin'.. just download duke 3d off of xbox live. that's the closest you'll get to a new release.

shinigami50
shinigami50

There is also no guarantyfrom 3DR that DNF will ever be released. But im still hoping. It has been awhile since i played ANY Duke Nukem game.

P90E21
P90E21

Man I love that video , but I just want to have the game and stop listening to political bs just please make it so I can say Hail to King once more!

P90E21
P90E21

Maybe its a game so tied up on bs it will never be but I would love to play it

gangsterjc
gangsterjc

Well im glad 3d's kickin still but this just means it'll sit with them. Take two would have finished the game,well ive waited for duke this long ill wait til i die,Im a Duke fan for life,and even after i die. i mean gods probably got a copy rite?

KingXerxes
KingXerxes

Dudes! Patience! 12 years for DNF ain't so bad. Some European cathedrals tooks 500 years to complete.

todsnet
todsnet

I wish someone would come to the rescue. The duke needs some play time on my console, Damnit.

kakshilaz88
kakshilaz88

i think EA should come in and help 3DR.. since EA is multi-billionaire company. I really do hope that Duke Nukem come's out and ill impact the world at it has in the pass..

robertwarnes91
robertwarnes91

Despite never being a fan of the series, and seeing the development of the game as the greatest example of poor work ethics. I honestly do wish for this game to come out, because out of curousity you must want to see what this 12 years of work must produce.

payne6705
payne6705

Honestly we all know this game will suck lets be honst here the last duke nukem game was ehhh and was quickly forgotten by better games like half-life I mean the graphics don't even look as good as today's standard and the game has basically been one big joke of failing or never coming out personally the FPS genre has been doing fine for over 12 years without duke just let the series die sure I enjoyed his games over the years but I didn't miss the franchise enough to make it worth the wait it will just be 12 years of hype and it won't deliver

Comduter
Comduter

3DR might as well still be defunct. They haven't made anything worthwhile in 12 years. How will things be any different now, especially with the people in charge who brought that company under in the first place? Horray!!!! What a relief!!! 3DR fanboys rejoice!!!! Isn't it wonderful that 3DR is back in business to do absolutely nothing again!!!!???? I guess it may explain why George Broussard and Scott Miller are so fat and out of shape.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

DNF=Does Nothing Forever, Duke Nukem Fail, Duke Never Finish How does a developer with no funds and no employee finish a game when it couldn't finish with $20 million and 36 employees? Answer: It can't and won't. Alternative answer: Gets sued and pays off plaintiff by selling off IP to a competent game developer.

-Dark_Palladin-
-Dark_Palladin-

Taking a cue from my last post, I do hope that those trolls saying "This game will never come out" are pretty damn unhappy now. DNF = Duke Never Fails!

geoff-uk123
geoff-uk123

Well thats a relief! I'm not really a Nukem player myself but hey, at least Duke Nukem Forever will still be finished.

oskuuu
oskuuu

3D Realms still in business? I not sure should i be happy or sad... i just hope this game gets out to shops somehow =/

forhekset
forhekset

I don't get how people can leave comments saying it's good they're protecting the IP and they still can't wait for it to come out - it's NOT going to come. Ever. If you read the article you'd know they laid off the whole team. They don't have the people or money to make it. It's gone.

dwigth
dwigth

I hope 3drealms keeps their baby in home, and don´t let it go to the sugar and cream land where it maybe die in a dark cellar. I have wait twelve years and I can wait twelve more if its necessary to see Duke under 3Drealms logo and hear the words It´s done

maven_zer09
maven_zer09

@russian takeout dude, give yourself some rest! the movie is from 2007, not mid 2009, and even today games are hardly this good!

Wanderer947
Wanderer947

It's a conspiracy. It's going to show up at E3 and 3dRealms is going to say, "Ha! Fooled ya!" Then in the background, you will see Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two Interactive, Joe Siegler, and George Broussard toasting champaign after announcing Duke Nukem Forever's Christmas release date. Then the three dozen laid off employees will run out screaming, "It's over! It's over! For the love of God, It's over!" At least that is seriously what I'm hoping for. Just like that; Verbatim.

PrimeLazarus
PrimeLazarus

@nappan I can see it your way. 3Drealms (Broussard fundamentally) has very little to show for their 12 years of 'work.' All opinions about what was produced aside, there is still no game for us to get our grubby mits on. 3DRealms has no right (in my eyes) to profit from it after sucking funds and time into a gaping black hole of a dev cycle. Someone capable (WITH VISION) should scoop it up. It is a little painful to admit because 3Drealms use to have chops, but they sure whittled that down over the last decade. My biggest frustration is that a developer/publisher doesn't just take charge and offer up some money to do the game (and/or IP), and do it right. I hate for 3DRealms to still walk away laughing, but Duke is the king and he wouldn't be a bad investment. As far-fetched of a thought as it is---I'd love to see Valve take it on. Valve might be too cerebral of a company to approach it, but their quality can be next to none when it comes to shooters. That's just me nerd fantasizing though. TF2, L4D & HL2 have been especially good to all of us I think. I just want someone to finish it ...or re-make it (on a reasonable schedule) and release it.

dg3215
dg3215

The title of this game says it all..

leach112
leach112

Although I'd still love to see this game this announcement only makes it seem more unlikely that it will be finished. This statement is basically a kick in the teeth for Take 2 with no explanation of how 3DR are going to finish a game with no money or team. The fact is that 3DR is a pathetic company who had a big hit with DN3D and rested on their laurels for too long before bothering to develop DNF. Even Valve didn't take 12 years to develop half-life 2, the best game ever.

BonsaiMagpie
BonsaiMagpie

I really want that game, but at the same time i feel sorry for the development team. They've worked so long on this title, you just know any new team that comes is in going to scrap a lot of their plans and ideas and bring in fresh stuff. It might make the game better, it might make it worse, but roughly 40 people are out of work, and their project is total waste. Further to this, if a new team isn't brought in soon, the game will ocst more when it's eventually made, cause the grpahics and that will degrade over time and become less intense, and after what seems like an eternity of waiting you can't whip out good PS2 graphics, these need to be Duke Nukem graphics, ie. blow our brains out on thw back wall.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Looks like I missed one heck of a discussion with nappan putting holes in everyone on this subject... But yes I remember playing the DN3d atomic edition on a windows 97 compaq back in the day and I thought at that time that the game was the most amazing thing I ever laid eyes upon. gosh I think at that time playstation just came out... Anyways the brand is a dead one and its only real life is for a new dev to take it up and redue it. But I don't think even that would save it through..

Joshuayeah
Joshuayeah

any one else think that "DUKE NUKEM - FOREVER" is possibly the most aplty named game ever? 3DR dont need to fire the development team, they need to fire the management team. if DNF ever sees the light of day it better be the best damn game ever made!

rezapoc
rezapoc

Here's some ideas for 3D realms, release prey on the PS3 (it still looks ace!) and get the original two duke games and the ps1/n64 3rd person duke games to live arcade and psn to raise money for dukes development

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

Can't wait to play DNF... in 2014 :(

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@ "k_bingham" "" ...Actually that was the third Duke game. Oh, and just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean the progress isn't there. Go search just about anywhere and you'll find plenty of evidence anyway.

k_bingham
k_bingham

Like others here, I agree that this is basically worse news. They're not going to sell DNF IP to anyone, but they've laid off their DNF team, so DNF is now officially shelved. No longer at a snail's pace, it's shelved and restarting it later would be mean a total restart given the technology changes. They're going to milk the Duke name on other, smaller stuff, I guess by porting the 1996 original for the bazillionth time to a new platform--maybe a watch or something. Finishing DNF looks to me like an impossibility at this point. I agree with the poster who said they probably haven't even finished a complete level yet. This looks like the end of the game _for real_. If they'd have sold the IP to someone else, maybe...but with this news, it's over.

gmansbigestfan
gmansbigestfan

This better be the most amazing thing the human race has ever contributed to the universe, but really, we all know this is NEVER coming out right?

scarface_dm
scarface_dm

Give the Duke Nukem Liscense to someone else dammit!!!

forhekset
forhekset

How stupid. Cause 3DR was to proud to let their baby go to someone else so it could actually finally get MADE, the whole thing just goes down the toilet. I'm sure the development team would rather still have jobs working for Take Two then get laid off because 3DR is stubborn. They stay in business, yet noone is going to care now.

snax13
snax13

Even though I love Take-Two, they don't deserve DNF. That's like taking Mario away from Nintendo or Madden away from EA.

chrisda
chrisda

@ nappan that 3drealms is alive, i don't think it would be right having duke be developed by someone else

russian_takeout
russian_takeout

really stupid movie. one of the coments was right.... would be nice 10-15 years ago. i dont know how many duke nuken fans left, and i dont believe this game will get any of now days regular game players. at least not with these graphics.... and most likely some what close to original game play. both needs to be upgraded big time

Cloud737
Cloud737

All things aside, does this mean we'll finally be able to get Duke Nukem Forever... soon? :D I certainly hope so, and the article does look optimistic about it. :D

lev_six
lev_six

My friend worked on this for YEARS. I won't tell you what position he had. He left the company several years ago. They paid at least 10-20 grand just on one very brief (2 weeks total) side research project he did for the game, excluding his salary. The development process has been sloppy and inefficient (understatement of the decade). The best thing they could do is sell the IP and the material, or just hire new management. They make Darkfall look like they had a quick development cycle. Duke Nuke 'Em needs fresh eyes. That trailer's vibe and music was cool... for 1987.

nappan
nappan

@Valas_Azuviir: Hmmm... good point. @Chrisda: There is a god... because this DNF junk is over? Or there is a god, because you think 3DR is alive and kicking? Context... I crave it. :)

Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

Purely based on the news articles that I've been reading on this issue. Well.. 3DR is giving me a similar vibe as I-play's Herve Caen does. And that's not a good thing to say the least because it's making T2's story all the more plausible. And normally I'm the type of person who's more on the side of the devs than the publishers, so that's saying something.

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

"I'm looking for some alien toilet to park my bricks. Who's first?"

Cloud737
Cloud737

What in the BEEP is this brouhaha? "We're releasing... We're releasing, just you wait! NO, we're closing! Goodbye to everyone, no DNF for you! Oh, scratch that, we're still alive! DNF will come... eventually!" This is some strange consecutive quick turn of events. 3DR's version does seem plausible, but I really wonder why T2 sued them, then? Again, trying out of revenge to sue 3DR and hopefully beat the DNF IP out of them is really retarded from a business standpoint. Revenge has no place in businesses, unless of course you'll know you'll win. T2 really dropped a few bars in my eyes.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

The only way for this game to ever be released is if George Broussard and Scott Miller are no longer associated with it plain and simple, especially that fat slug Broussard. 12 years and no game is embarassing to say the least. I seriously doubt they even finished the first level. All they can show are snippets of gameplay, animation, and wire frame models. I mean seriously if that's all you can show as a portfolio for 12 years of work then I doubt anyone is going to hire you. Even Bioshock 2 is more complete than this game where they were able to show an actual walkthrough of one of the first levels in the game. I've lost all interest and hope for this game about 5 years ago. The only ounce of hope left is for T2 to relieve 3DR of the IP and have another team work on the project like Rockstar, otherwise this game and franchise is nothing more than vaporware. 3DR hasn't shut down but they fired all of their employees and they haven't developed any games so what's the difference. Even if they still had all their employees it wouldn't make a difference either if king Broussard is still in charge. My interest now resides in this soap box story between 3DR and Take 2. I hope more info on what exactly 3DR was doing all of this time comes out and I seriously doubt it involved "hard work", more like hardly working.

_R4ptor_
_R4ptor_

3DRealms is a joke. I don't care what their story is, the facts are simple, they've been working on a game since 1997 which is not finished 12 years later. If they sunk $20m of their own money over the last 12 years they must've had the worst team of people in the business there to have nothing to show for it. Far Cry was made on a $5m budget, started in 2000 and released in 2004, including the development of a kick-ass games engine. You wanna tell me with > $20m and 12 years these losers still have nothing. They needed a new CEO 10 years ago.

Herenr
Herenr

Since, the discussion is still going, I'll just add one last thing. What kills me is George's smug attitude. I can't be the only one who remembers him telling the original CEO of T2 to "STFU" for doing the honest thing and telling gamers that DNF wouldn't be out in 2003, which 3DR's, ironically, said would be. Then, by some magical means, they somehow got T2 to release Prey (a pretty decent game, but WTH was Duke?), but they can't scrounge up anything for DNF. Have they ever once apologized for stringing fans along?

Hydrolix
Hydrolix

I'm not sure I even know what to think at this point. It's looks to me like DNF is a massive 3DR joke at this point. Every time it gets out of people's minds they "create" publicity around it and yet, it appears as if they are no closer to finishing the game now than they ever have been...almost like it isn't a real project and broussard is just messing with all of us.