3D Realms sues Gearbox alleging unpaid Duke Nukem Forever royalties

Developer files breach of contract suit claiming Gearbox failed to pay more than $2 million in royalties and advances.


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

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In addition, 3D Realms claims Gearbox blocked an independent audit of royalties earned on Duke Nukem Forever, a point the 2010 agreement should have kept them from doing.

"3D Realms has therefore been required to file this lawsuit to enforce the purchase agreement, to recover the amounts due and owing from Gearbox and to enforce the audit right provided by the agreement to enable it to conduct an audit of Gearbox's royalties," reads a line from the statement.

Gearbox Software issued a defiant statement to GameSpot on the lawsuit, calling out 3D Realms founder Scott Miller as someone who has had "more lawsuits than shipped games." The company's full statement is below.

"Ironically, Scott Miller himself provided the best response when he wrote: "Filed lawsuits are entirely one-sided statements, based on knee-deep BS and with more spin than a top," a Gearbox representative said.

"The reality is that Apogee / 3D Realms (3DR) received the full benefit of its bargain. Gearbox, in its fulfillment of its commitments, enriched 3DR, saved 3DR from its debts and rescued 3DR from its litigation surrounding its failed dozen-plus year attempt to ship Duke Nukem Forever."

"Everyone wished that 3DR's game was better received by the market for the benefit of gamers and profit to its creators. While 3DR might not wish the reality that the results make clear, 3DR turned out to be the only beneficiary of the deal. Gearbox Software, meanwhile, experienced damage to its credibility and loss of its money."

"It's unfortunate that 3DR did not abide by the objective audit rules outlined in the agreement and even more unfortunate that it chose to blame its failures on Gearbox. Since 3DR seems unable to accept reality and has chosen to become hostile, Gearbox is forced to bring its actual claims of breach of contract against 3DR and is confident Gearbox will prevail."

"Perhaps the lesson learned here is to never enter a gaming business deal with a person 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.

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