Take-Two was developing new Duke Nukem for '10 - Report

Legal documents from countersuit contend publisher had commissioned "well-known" third-party developer to make a new title called "Duke Begins"; project allegedly stopped this past April.

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Like most legal battles, the courtroom struggle between Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms and publisher Take-Two Interactive is progressing at a gradual pace. One month after Take-Two sued 3D Realms, the latter's parent company, Apogee Software Ltd., filed a countersuit on Friday in the US District Court of Southern New York, which was spotted by GamePolitics. (The company also uses the Apogee name for its handheld and classic game division, relaunched in 2008.) Besides denying most of the initial suit's claims, the new filing also revealed that Take-Two was working on its own new Duke Nukem game.

Monster legal team assemble!

Though briefly mentioned in the main body of the suit, the game and its origins are best described in the background information at the 20-page filing's end. It says that as part of an October 22, 2007, agreement, "Apogee granted [Take-Two subsidiary] 2K Games the exclusive rights to develop and publish a new videogame based on Apogee's Duke Nukem franchise." Later on in the suit, the studio is identified as a "third-party" shop, not one of Take-Two internal studios.

According to Apogee's filing, the new game was given the working title of "Duke Begins," possibly hinting at a Batman Begins-style reboot or prequel. 2K Games had reportedly commissioned a "well-known game developer" to start work on the game within two months of the October 2007 filing, with Apogee retaining approval rights. A similar arrangement saw 3D Realms oversee Human Head Studios' development of the 2006 relaunch of Prey, published for the PC and Xbox 360 by 2K Games.

The suit says the original launch date for Duke Begins was mid-2010 under a development schedule approved by Apogee. The agreement would see royalties from the game be used to pay back a $2.5 million loan Take-Two made to Apogee to complete Duke Nukem Forever, which would presumably be released before Duke Begins. However, a clause in the agreement hinted that DNF--first announced in April 1997--could be released as late as October 2012 before Apogee would be forced to repay the loan.

However, Duke Begins was never to see the light of day. Apogee's suit contends that, "upon information and belief"--which is legalese for "as far as we know"--Take-Two "halted or otherwise canceled all development for by the third-party game developer on the Duke Begins game in April 2009." The company contends that any such move was done without its consent and has "materially harmed Apogee" due to loss of royalty revenue.

Though concept art for Duke Nukem Forever has leaked, Duke Begins remains unseen.

The October 2007 agreement also saw Take-Two relinquish publishing rights to both a Duke Nukem Forever sequel and a game based on a potential film based on the risque shooter series. However, the current legal impasse between the two companies stems from the fact that Take-Two holds the publishing rights for Duke Nukem Forever, preventing Apogee from taking it to another company. Since Apogee owns the Duke Nukem IP, Take-Two can't commission another studio to make a game without the developer's consent.

According to a May 18 statement from Apogee, Take-Two tried to buy the Duke Nukem IP outright earlier this year. However, according to the developer, "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."

Apogee's counterclaim also reveals that all the agreements were only for a PC version of Duke Nukem Forever. Until May 1, 2009, the companies were negotiating an agreement for Apogee to develop a 360 version of the game--which obviously fell through.

Finally, Apogee also laid out the blame for Duke Nukem Forever's 12-year development period. The culprits were "personnel changes over the years, software and hardware technology changes and upgrades, gameplay changes and enhancements, and switching from the Quake II engine to the Unreal engine during the project." Apogee contends, though, that the delays didn't matter, since "a completion date has never been set by either Apogee or Take-Two or otherwise contractually agreed between Apogee or Take-Two."

Discussion

141 comments
insanitycheck4
insanitycheck4

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

insanitycheck4
insanitycheck4

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insanitycheck4
insanitycheck4

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insanitycheck4
insanitycheck4

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insanitycheck4
insanitycheck4

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

yujun_wu
yujun_wu

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GabrielOnuris
GabrielOnuris

What a soap opera... so... WHERE IS DUKE?? HEY, DUKEEEE!!!

Siimgames
Siimgames

i hope Take 2 doesn't F*** around

Hitmanspike
Hitmanspike

Damn Zero Hour was kinda the last chapter...it's like 15 yaers ago

wenisman
wenisman

we have heard all this rubbish before... 'duke is coming'... blah blah blah... the hype is gone, why kick this dead horse? fans of duke are sooo pissed they wont buy the game for sheer frustration over the past 12 years! as a long fan of duke i have heard so many cry wolf stories from these two companies that i can no longer believe either one. i do believe there will be no more duke nukems...

shinigami50
shinigami50

This really pisses me off. Kiss and make up damn it. I want to have this game! T.T Waiting for so long. And yes, I am a die-hard fan of Duke Nukem.

VanGriffin
VanGriffin

Hmmmm Ten years and counting.... I dont really give a hoot. The first one is still fun to play. However the new graphics look kickin. Be nice if they finish the thing and gimme no matter who owns it

Dgalmun
Dgalmun

A new duke nukem game that's gonna take forever, if 3d realms start doing something. Then I'll get the game.

ofitser
ofitser

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lollersir
lollersir

It's like 2 friends bought a lamborghini but then got mad and said the other couldn't drive it. Uselessness should be left for personal things and made into personal problems ... NOT in business settings where you need to have your company do its work. I don't blame whichever dev. team member leaked all those images. I would be PISSED if I toiled and spent my time and creativity on such a project only to see it go down the ****ter because the higher ups are pissing on each other. If it went my way I would've released the whole build I had to the public no questions asked.

psycho_spaceman
psycho_spaceman

gawhhh.... this sucks man, i have great memories with duke nukem 3d.... and this is where they're at now. yeesh

beesbreck
beesbreck

gonna rip off ya lawyer head and shet down your neck.....

Troqe
Troqe

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Shedding
Shedding

Wow.. talk about a royal mess. These two companies need to kiss and make up. Make the game and make some money. The only one making money right now are the blood sucking lawyers.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

The lawyers came to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but they were all outta gum

Joshuayeah
Joshuayeah

seriously, any one still care about this? Duke had his day, you can bet all your money that if this game did ever get finished produced and published it would be fairly terrible. after all the crap thats surrounded it and all the years in development. maaaan just drop duke and make something else... more suited to your abilities.... perhaps some online flash games?

mooooo99
mooooo99

im not really too bothered about this game.. the duke nukem games i played were never really that good anyway.

55592
55592

Those alien bastards are gonna pay for litigating my ride!

MrDrew816
MrDrew816

12 years to develop one game. Is there any way DNF could turn a profit for 3DR? They should cut their losses and hand the IP to professionals while it's still relevant to someone.

MrDrew816
MrDrew816

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BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

10 years is long enough.. This game better be good after all the crap its been through...

Leo_Colt
Leo_Colt

I find the thought of an Octabrain as 3D Realms' lawyer quite amusing...

JBjazzbo
JBjazzbo

@hydrolix and bodombeachchild sSSorry for that poor comment. Most fps' were before my time. I used to watch my dad play duke nukem. Was the remake any good on XBL?

Sechu
Sechu

It is a pity Duke Nukem ends up like this. "Do you want some?" at the court... Shame to Apogee / 3D Realms.

quinnd6
quinnd6

This legal battle garbage isn't doing anyone any good. Why don't they stop acting the fool and finish making the frickin game. I mean it'd be about frickin time for them to do that wouldn't it.

ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

Apogee and 3D Realms need to be hammered for this entire mess. 12 years guys! Really? Just hand ALL creative and intellectual property over to 2K so PROFESSIONALS can finish SPECTACULARLY what you couldn't finish, or by the sounds of this article even start. YOU SUCK APOGEE & 3D REALMS!

Barighm
Barighm

That's funky. They didn't finish because they didn't have a deadline? What kind of company develops a game and then doesn't develop it because they don't have to finish for 10 years? Sounds to me like they never really wanted to finish it. I'm still confident this thing will get done-clearly TT wants it real bad-but it looks like we will now have to wait for 3D to become exhausted and eventually give in to TT's demands. Probably 6 months or so away, THEN they will work on the game.

Big_Mac4547
Big_Mac4547

good take two is better than 3DR so maybe it will be just a little bit better! i am done with this gayness now!

Autolycus
Autolycus

at some point in the development cycle 3D Realms had to pick a technology and stick to it, knowing damn well that when the game releases it may be outdated graphically and gameplay wise. Therefor giving more reasons for 3D Realms and crew to finish the game on a timely manner.

CatKickin
CatKickin

I understand the companies need to make money. I also understand that 3D Realms has always had an "It's finished when it's finished" attitude. But a 12 year development cycle is ridiculous for a video game. How could a video game live up to the expectations of people after that long of a cycle? I am sure since it has the Duke Nukem name it would sell well. And now because of the crap these two companies are slinging, the chances of us ever getting to play this grand opus is slim to none. While the companies are losing money, us gamers are losing the chance to play something that we have been waiting for 12 FREAKIN' YEARS for. Thanks guys! YOU SUCK!

Hydrolix
Hydrolix

@JBjazzbo they did port it. It's on XBL.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

Finally, Apogee also laid out the blame for Duke Nukem Forever's 12-year development period. The culprits were "personnel changes over the years, software and hardware technology changes and upgrades, gameplay changes and enhancements, and switching from the Quake II engine to the Unreal engine during the project." You got to love this. That's like blaming "time" itself. Hello, it's called human progress and a natural advancement in technology. The real reason why these tools couldn't finish on time was poor management through that egotistic fat lard George Broussard who had enough hot air to fill up the Good Year blimp. The only thing keeping him grounded was that ever expanding gut. This guy actually made Daikatana's Romero look humble by comparison.

BodomBeachChild
BodomBeachChild

@JBjazzbo: Do you not remember how old FPS games all did that?

thrubeingcool13
thrubeingcool13

duke nukem was an average game 10 years ago, so why do people think its going to change

Leo_Colt
Leo_Colt

Well the game really was headed towards the closest chance of "completion" it ever had. Methinks it was just a long con; a good con at that. I mean, you sit around and do nothing for 12 years all the while getting paid. Show a few screens to the publishers, and they'll keep quiet. The big cheeses probably let the little techies take the hit for their lack of progress, which may explain the high turnover rate. Yes... it all makes perfect sense :D Of course, this may well be a long and highly elaborate advertising campaign for the game's true eventual release in 2039.

mikeyg756
mikeyg756

Duke nukem forever could only kick so much ass if it had really good level design like duke nukem3D had back in the 90's. Also they would have to make him less "I'm DUKE NUKEM HAIL TO THE KING!" cuase we're past that now, it didn't seem silly at the time but now its halarious.

djwood84
djwood84

Well... looks like another decade till Duke Nukem. Lmao, good going guys!

rr2Real
rr2Real

"Duke nukem forever, Duke nukem begins?.. where have i heard those before? hmm.. batman .. ah thats very original." Ever play a Duke Nukem game? They're all about making fun of pop culture.

2buxaslice
2buxaslice

I'm still waiting for Peter Molyneaux's B.C to come out.

forhekset
forhekset

Just let the license go so we can evetually get a game at some point.

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

DukeNukem Lives Forever !!!!!

DaGamingDude
DaGamingDude

Duke will have better future for sure...