3D Realms vs. Gearbox lawsuit settled

Lawsuit concerning reportedly unpaid Duke Nukem Forever royalties comes to a close, as suit is dismissed with prejudice.

The 3D Realms vs. Gearbox Software lawsuit concerning reportedly unpaid royalties for Duke Nukem Forever has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning it will not be revisited, it was confirmed today.

"After reviewing evidence regarding our business affairs, and without any money exchanging hands, we have satisfactorily resolved any and all differences that we perceived against Gearbox," 3D Realms cofounder and CEO Scott Miller said in a statement.

"In all sincerity, we regret the misunderstanding that instigated our lawsuit," Miller added. "Now that we better understand--and appreciate--the actual nature of our business matters, we have voluntarily withdrawn our claims against Gearbox, with genuine apologies to [Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford] for any damage that our lawsuit may have caused to the relationship."

3D Realms filed a breach of contract suit against Gearbox Software in June, claiming the studio failed to pay more than $2 million in royalties and advances related to Duke Nukem Forever. The lawsuit stems from the 2010 agreement between the two parties that saw the Duke Nukem IP officially shifted to Gearbox Software.

In addition, 3D Realms claimed that Gearbox Software blocked an independent audit of royalties earned on Duke Nukem Forever, a point the 2010 agreement should have kept them from doing. Gearbox Software issued a defiant statement at the time, calling out Miller as someone who has had "more lawsuits than shipped games."

3D Realms exists today in name only, after being effectively closed in 2009. The studio's legal name is now Apogee Software.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

154 comments
Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

Unpopular Opinion Times: After Duke Nukem, Borderlands 2 and Aliens: CM I was hoping Gearbox would get a major fine.

blackothh
blackothh

absolutely nothing about duke nukem forever was a positive thing, im glad this is going away. It was never even worth the fight.

DespVand
DespVand

who on their right mind would fight over a shity game like this????

LaStOfThE
LaStOfThE

Oh just let sleeping dog lie and Duke die in peace, FFS!

SilentAssassin
SilentAssassin

The question is: How can you collect royalties off a game that didn't sell? hahahaha 

Hurvl
Hurvl

Then I guess everything is just hunky dory, huh? It's great that they can admit a mistake, that they misunderstood something. Prestige and the absurd fear of losing it should they either lose the lawsuit or admit that they were wrong is otherwise so much more important.

Adavanter
Adavanter

"...with genuine apologies to [Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford] for any damage that our lawsuit may have caused to the relationship."

Good luck with that... You sued them for 2 million dollars and said they ripped you off in a very public forum. Their legal costs alone to even look into the matter is likely enough to make them never forgive you.

And your response was whoops... everything's on the up and up. Our bad? What has this world come to... Makes me so mad I'm going to sue somebody! 

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

Duke Nukem 3D was a fun game, I still enjoy it. the megaton Edition is great fun. Duke Nukem forever wasn't my thing, I played the demo and that was enough for me. I didn't want to see anymore

cboye18
cboye18

Duke Nukem or Aliens:CM?

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

Sounds like they looked at the financials and saw a big fat zero or at least a number that was really not worth continuing to pursue and called the whole thing off.

I wonder if DNF actually wound up making any money. I know it sold decently but that's no indication it actually made money anymore. Just look at stuff like tomb raider that sold like crazy and barely broke even.

gregrout
gregrout

"John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch....Suck it down" - Daikatana 

BatmanForever47
BatmanForever47

duke nukem is a very underrated game the game is good you got good puzzles and funny gameplay duke is also very funny 

at least it's an old school game and has better sp than alot of todays 4 hour games

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

Judge: "You've led a trite and meaningless life, and you're a very bad person."

TronX
TronX

Where are all you clueless people coming from??? DNF sold over a million copies without counting digital downloads, which probably accounts for most of it's sales. Just because a game gets bad reviews from websites does not mean it did not make any money. Any developer would love to sell over a millions copies of their game, and not very many ever do. 2k Games confirmed that DNF proved to be profitable for the company and the lawsuit was for 2 million in royalties from those profits. Anything that makes you millions of dollars in PROFITS is a good thing if you want to stay in business.

I was a big fan of Duke 3D back in 96 and use to play it online on the DWANGO and TEN networks. DNF didn't come close to living up to the expectations and legend of Duke 3D but it was far from as bad as many so called professional reviewers painted it as, and obviously many of us that are not zombies to following other peoples opinions bought the game regardless of the bad reviews. It wasn't great but I still had fun playing it. 

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

How many royalties could there be? I've never seen a game go to the bargain bin faster and I still wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

frylock1987
frylock1987

Why are they fighting over $7.80 for anyway?

I could have given it to them....

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

Oh, Brussard. "He has more lawsuits under his belt, than he shipped games".


Elann2008
Elann2008

3D Realms should have sued them for doing a sh!tty job finishing up Duke Nukem Forever.

I'm sure the judge would have favored in 3D Realms' motion.

fiend_
fiend_

what royalties? lol

charlyk88
charlyk88

Gearbox doesn't help developing other games, it turns them to shit, like this game or aliens colonial marines and the bad quallity game, they only care Borderlands 2, not the contracts they have with other companies.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

3D Relams statement sounds like double-talk for "Several lawyers took several days to point out all the ways our suit was bullshit and would be shot down in court, so we gave up"

PStrife
PStrife

These 3D realms guys really didn't understand how badly it bombed.

nate1222
nate1222

I just watched that review. It makes me WANT this game.

johnnnneh
johnnnneh

Damn 3d realms you make me sad.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

kicking a dead horse, wont make it come back to life somehow, 3D realms should of released the game looooong ago under its own power, its so antiquated in all aspects, they should be happy with ANY sales.

hardeman
hardeman

if anything id sue if someone said i had anything to do with that game

jayjay444
jayjay444

I do admit i laughed at some of the jokes in the game, but the games graphics, pacing, gameplay etc etc all sucked and it was probably the most disappointing game of the entire gen, how could they mess up a game like that lol duke nukem 3d is still amazing even to this day in my opinion, i still love playing that as an arcade game and it still makes me laugh, I don't get how they fucked up a game like that it's a shame they just ruined the entire franchise now. (skipping anything Gearbox makes in the future now, I can forgive them for 1 game but 2 games?no chance lol)

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

@Adavanter Correction:  Randy Pitchford tweeted a simple but meaningful "it's all good" message within hours of the announcement.  Haters will hate, but that's a classy move on his part.

blackothh
blackothh

@nyran125tk i just picked up the megaton edition from the humble bundle weekly sale last week =)

Hurvl
Hurvl

@nyran125tk Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is on sale at the Humble Bundle Weekly Sale for four more days. For a minimum of 1 dollar you get Steam keys to that one and three others, for 6 dollars you get 6 games.

quakke
quakke

@nyran125tk

Agree.

DNF wasn't even a Duke Nukem game. DNF was Call of Duty: episodes of Duke Nukem.

twztid13
twztid13

@Devil_wings00 

Or, sounds like there was an out of court settlement. I know everyone hates 3D Realms, but maybe the dude crying while on his knees was required in the settlement paid. I guarantee he'd rather have money over pride (as they don't even have a game studio anymore).

slayerSS-3
slayerSS-3

@Devil_wings00it did sell very well
Take-Two stated that Duke Nukem Forever would prove to be profitable for the company.

psu.com/a012495/Duke-Nukem-profitable,-LA-Noire-ships-4-million-says-Take-Two?page=0

Hordriss
Hordriss

@Devil_wings00 The amount of time it took to make, I'd be surprised if it was profitable.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@VR_Verdugo It sure is good no one was sentenced to several years in a "pound me in the ass" prison, lol.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

@TronX Selling millions of copies in 2013 is in no way a guarantee of profit or breaking even anymore. That's kind of the problem with modern AAA titles. The budgets, marketing etc. are so outrageously bloated that games need insane sales numbers to get any money back. Thus why there has been such a shift to post release DLC/ micro-transactions as a way too turn a profit and the attempted crack down on used games by publishers. 

  Also please don't bring up it's the graphics that require that money because it's really not, just look at metro last light. A game made for a 10th of the budget of most modern AAA games and it's one of the technically beautiful titles to date (well at least on PC anyway).

frylock1987
frylock1987

@Elann2008  

Meanwhile, all Gearbox did was put finishing touches on a game that was 15 years old already.

Killaman996
Killaman996

@charlyk88 It did not start out being developed by Gearbox but rather Check Six Games which was developing the game back in 2001 for the PS2. Sega picked up the rights to the game and partnered with Gearbox software to create the game. As you stated it was a mistake because Gearbox was pulling people from the development of Aliens and putting them to work on Borderlands. 

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

In unrelated news: I actually found DN:Forever to be in the more entertaining half of games in this gen. I got a lot more fun out of it than from Bioshock, Darksiders or Splinter Cell Conviction to name a few. Graphically it looks like a Xbox 1 game but whatever.

roman4545
roman4545

@nate1222 get it now for FREE... at the nearest garbage can near you ! 

Hurry up... limited time only. No rain check, no reservation !

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

@jayjay444 If I remember correctly Duke was a game that was in development since 15 years ago, the half developed game bounced around the development industry for years before Gearbox purchased the almost complete game, slapped whatever finishing touches it could and sold it.  I believe that 3D Realms did most of the game but I could be wrong.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@quakke @nyran125tk Actually, DNF had little in common with the Call of Duty brand of design. In actuality, it has a lot more in common with Half-Life 2's structure and pacing. Modern military corridor shooters and Duke Nukem Forever aren't really cut from the same cloth in any substantial way. 

SubHumanTorch
SubHumanTorch

@quakke @nyran125tk Have you ever played Call of Duty? Duke Nukem Forever had nowhere near the production values or slick controls of a COD game. The problem with forever was that it didn't whether it was a retro shooter or modern one. I know its the cool thing to immediately reference COD for anything bad in the gaming world and I'm not exactly the series biggest fan but you have to admit they are well made games Duke Nukem Forever was not.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

@wasakawaka @jayjay444 Ya but the game was scrapped and redone many times. Just look at all the trailers for the game across the years. Everyone looks like a completely different game. I doubt the version we got was more the a few years old and the umpteenth rebuild of the game. 

Still gearbox banked on the built in hype around the game because of it's legendary status and shipped out a sub-par product for some quick cash. Don't know if it worked but they can be sure if there is ever another DN game, people won't be fooled twice.

quakke
quakke

@Kevin-V @quakke @nyran125tk  

Are you really saying to me with a straight face that DNF is more like HL2 than CoD? What the?

DNF's whole fundamental gameplay style is straight out from Call of Duty. You take cover, shoot, magically heal and then proceed and same thing goes again. In HL2 you have to explore to survive because there is no ammoboxex with infinite ammunition and because there is no health regen. You lose health in HL and you need to either find a medkit or a Health station. HL is also not only about covershooting, since Valve Software respects Old-School style FPS so Gordon Freeman is fast and therefore you can play it like an Old-School FPS. Run and gun, strafe jump shoot.. Jumping is another thing. Duke can suddenly only jump modern military kneehigh jump? DN3D he jump 2 meters high. In Halo 2 you can also jump alot higher than in any modern FPS.

Rise of the Triad 2013 is how Duke Nukem Forever should have been done. Only thing is, ROTT 2013 is cursed with performance issues. I'm so tired of these "realistic" military shooters. In the words of Total Biscuit "No you didn't go into the era of thinkingman shooters. You don't need to think in Modern Military Shooters" MMS are CoD, BF, MoH, Homefront. They have affected awhole wide repertoire of FPS. DNF took example from there and ruined game, Wolfenstein 2009 took example from there and ruined game, Bulletstorm took example from there and ruined. Rage is the only somewhat good Modern Shooter because id Software has over 20 years of game development experience. So they can make game more enjoyable even if it's desigining is being completely restricted around consoles. But Rage still is not what we need. What we need is DN3D/UT style fastpaced FPS with quality singleplayer and multiplayer.