Gearbox sues over new Duke Nukem

Gearbox has taken legal action following the launch of a Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction teaser site.

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Current owner of the Duke Nukem IP Gearbox Software has filed suit against Apogee Software and Interceptor Entertainment over the companies' intentions to release Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

Earlier this month, Interceptor Entertainment, the developer of the recent Rise of the Triad remake, and 3D Realms launched a teaser website for Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action role-playing game for PC and PlayStation. The site was counting down to Feb. 25, but the countdown clock has since been obscured with a fake emergency broadcast signal.

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

The suit, filed in Texas, shows that Gearbox is seeking damages for trademark and copyright infringement, which “stems from efforts to illegally exploit Gearbox’s intellectual property rights in the Duke Nukem video game franchise.”

“You and 3DR are colluding with other, equally-unauthorized parties to develop a new video game based upon the Duke Nukem IP,” Gearbox’s lawyers said in a cease and desist letter to 3D Realms’ CEO Scott Miller. “No developer reveres Duke Nukem and its fans more than Gearbox; it’s why Gearbox committed so much to rescuing Duke back in 2010. As you well know: 3DR’s rights were reduced under the terms of that rescue, not expanded.”

3D Realms’ Scott Miller and George Broussard responded to the letter with a signed document that acknowledges Gearbox’s rights for the Duke Nukem IP. But unless we’re supposed to understand the emergency signal on the teaser website as a cancellation notice, it seems as if Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction is still going forward.

Gearbox’s Steve Gibson told Polygon that the current lawsuit is simply a formality and that he's confident Gearbox will succeed. “We tried to avoid court,” he said.

In 2010, the Borderlands developer announced it acquired the rights for the Duke Nukem IP. It helped see Duke Nukem Forever to the finish line after more than a decade in development, and announced plans to develop other games in the franchise.

"Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand," Broussard said at the time. "They are very talented and possess the perfect perspective and understanding of the brand. Their vision for its future direction is exciting and unbelievable. I personally cannot wait for fans to see their unique take on the franchise."

In 2013, 3D Realms sued Gearbox alleging unpaid Duke Nukem Forever royalties, but then abandoned its claim, and apologized for what it called a “misunderstanding.”

Discussion

253 comments
nicecall
nicecall

suing over a now turned bad game series, why bother?

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

Legal schmegal. Businesses all have bugs up their arses when it comes to intellectual property. if I were Gearbox i'd say "Go ahead and finish it and come back and we'll talk."


Tomdogg
Tomdogg

Duke Nukem: The series with more lawsuits than shipped games

joe_b1_kenobi
joe_b1_kenobi

Just let them have it for love of god. Duke hasn't been relevant in years. Then you can crack on with borderlands 3.

lilflipp
lilflipp

Whenever a game starts to take over a decade to be finished is when you know it's having problems. Like how the fuck do you stay relevant for a decade while trying to make the game.

By the time you're hitting the end, some parts of your early work is already outdated lol


Duke Nukem Forever was really fucking bad and felt so outdated. Honestly I don't give a shit... about shit like this. Go ahead and sue each other. Just put Duke Nukem in the past, forever. Let him be what he is, a video game cult icon.

sidzero
sidzero

"No developer reveres Duke Nukem and its fans more than Gearbox" - If this is true, then please explain DNF.

loneygod
loneygod

Hmm the last game that gearbox made that I liked was brothers in arms. Borderlands was too cartoony, too much of an rpg and had a story barely worth listening to

sensesfail99
sensesfail99

while yes gearbox has the rights to Duke Nukem, 3DRealms was the original devs that made Duke. Yeah let's sue them for everything they have and make the chances of a true Duke game never possible. Nice logic gearbox. You should just give them the right back since no one liked duke nukem forever, and aliens colonial marines.

el_swanno
el_swanno

Shouldn't Roddy Piper be suing these guys over using his "I came here to chew bubblegum and to kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum" line he ad-libbed in They Live?

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

It was bound to happen. Gearbox did bought the Duke Nukem IP afterall, so they have every right to not wanting someone else to make a game without their consent.

McGregor
McGregor

I wonder if 3DR is not actually making a Duke Nukem game, but a different game and just teased a Duke Nukem name, which is bringing attention and advertising their way for free (well, probably not free as they will probably be paying some legal fees), but still, advertising that may be at a reduced cost.

Not sure what the goal is here, or why they did it...Seems colossally stupid.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

“No developer reveres Duke Nukem and its fans more than Gearbox"

Hahahahahahahahahahaha if I was the judge I'd immediately dismiss the case after reading that line.

chev7781
chev7781

My expectation for Duke Nukem Forever weren't ridiculously high so I has a okay time with it. DNF didn't receive a proper development cycle so why was it a surprise that the game turned out the way it did? 

Spyre1984
Spyre1984

I'm still quite antsy about the idea of Gearbox getting their grubby mitts on Homeworld 1 and 2. :/

BeefoTheBold
BeefoTheBold

I see a lot of the top comments are nerd rage about how terrible Duke Nukem Forever was. That's understandable, but it also has nothing at all to do with who owns the IP now.


Unless I'm missing something, creating a terrible game doesn't make you forfeit ownership of an IP and therefore Duke Nukem Forever has nothing at all to do with the legal issues at hand, which is that 3DR has no right to make or release a game with the character. I don't see how there could have possibly been any ambiguity here on who owned the rights.


With that being the case, 3DR has been deliberately trying to steal intellectual property in a blatant way for three years now as they've developed the "Mass Destruction" game. How does making a bad game make Gearbox incorrect with regards to this particular lawsuit?

drankin06
drankin06

Can I sue them for damages for Duke Nukem being bad or Hell even aliens 

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Despite Gearbox leaving a bad taste in everybody's mouth recently, if they acquired the rights for Duke Nukem from 3DRealms legally, then they're right.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

lol, damages from this? Wasn't DNF damaging enough?


Seriously Gearbox, I don't plan on buying anything from you after you released ACM like you did.... Go back to Borderlands and stfu please. You tried to "rescue" DNF and you should have just let it go instead of releasing whatever "that" was.

whatsazerg
whatsazerg

YOu can't blame Gearbox for DNF....  if anything thank Gearbox, b/c without them, we'd never have ever seen DNF.


After 10 years in development hell... what can you expect Gearbox to do with it?


I look forward to a new DukeNukem game built in 3 or 4 years, built for the current hardware and released on that same hardware, not 2 or 3 generations from now.

strothers101
strothers101

the reboot of duke,nukem was a massive fail. If another company can produce something better then why not.

kitmeep
kitmeep

They should really just let other developers have at it with that franchise. Gearbox will never do anything good with it because Gearbox is only good at making Borderlands. Any time they attempt to work on any other franchise, new IP or otherwise, it is an unmitigated disaster.

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

People, Gearbox didn't "make" Duke Nukem Forever. They acquired what 3D Realms had already done and attempted to finish and release it. Of course, that's no excuse for Aliens: Colonial Marines. Seriously, has anyone seen the prerelease footage? What happened to THAT game?

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

Duke nukem hasn't been relevant in more than a decade

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Funny, I was just thinking that Gearbox should be sued for making Colonial Marines........

dark_jedi79
dark_jedi79

Fuck Gearbox. I hope they lose just on the principal of the utter garbage they continue to put out. 

Aramantha
Aramantha

Gearbox has ruined many games (the two most anticipated for me being Colonial Marines and Forever), i say goodluck to Interceptor Entertainment and 3D realms, go for it and give fans a good Duke game

quakke
quakke

@Tomdogg  

Is that so?

Duke Nukem (1991)

Duke Nukem2 (1993

Duke Nukem 3D (1996)

Duke Nukem 64

Duke Nukem Time To Kill (1998)

Duke Nukem Zero Hour (1999)

Duke Nukem Land of the Babes (2000)

Duke Nukem Manhattan Project (2002)

Duke Nukem Gameboy games (200x)

Duke Nukem Forever (2011)

HIT3kNology
HIT3kNology

@Thanatos2k Good thing you'll never become one

JachAnen
JachAnen

@---Cipher--- Agree with ACM, but DNF is a matter of taste. If you didn't like Duke, don't play his games.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@---Cipher---  You know that Gearbox didn't develop most of ACM? Plus, whether you liked that game or not has NOTHING to do with the fact that they are right in this case, they own the Duke Nukem IP and so this game is violating their copyrights.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@Dragon_Nexus  From protecting THEIR IP? This is no different than Sony suing a studio trying to make a Killzone game or Nintendo suing a studio trying to make a Mario game. 3D Realms is trying to develop a game in a franchise they don't own or have any rights to. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@whatsazerg It was better to have never seen the game than to see what actually got released.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@kitmeep  Studios can't make games to IP's they don't legally have a right to, end of story. Nintendo is not doing anything with the StarTropics franchise, but that doesn't mean I can legally make a game using the IP just because they aren't using it.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@dark_jedi79  And you should be sued for taking up oxygen since it's not going to your brain. They have a right to stop other companies from ILLEGALLY using their IP

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@Aramantha  First, Interceptor and 3D Realms have no legal right to make a Duke Nukem game. Second, they had very little to do with DNF or ACM (they outsourced almost all of the work on ACM to other studios). Third, they've made a lot of good games

the1four
the1four

@JachAnen @drankin06Its not a matter of taste really,, Duke Nukem Forever was complete shite and,,,,,....well we dont talk about aliens

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@TJSpyke That's exactly why there's no excuse for Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Spyre1984
Spyre1984

@TJSpyke @Aramantha Good lord son, where were you brought up? You don't let your little brother do all your math homework, and then hand it in as your own....or do you?

JachAnen
JachAnen

The key word here is "almost". Plus, they knew the end result before release. They could have continued development or cancelled it instead, so they actually didn't care about the buggy ACM. And I actually liked DNF.

Spyre1984
Spyre1984

@TJSpyke @Spyre1984@Aramantha Sorry, perhaps you missed the point. You do not subcontract your work out, and when your client hands it back and asks "wtf?", you tell them "oh we subcontracted out, so not our fault!". You are responsible for your work, and Gearbox is accountable for their products that they put out. They are to blame for Colonial Marines.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

@Spyre1984@Aramantha  I was brought up in the real world, companies do it ALL THE TIME. They are called subcontractors. Even in video games it happens a lot, Tose is famous for developing hundreds of games but taking no credit for them