A month or so ago, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction was announced by 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment. And fairly rapidly, Gearbox announced that, uh, 3D Realms had kind of sold them the rights. Needless to say, 3D Realms immediately realized that saying “Nuh-uh!” would be counterproductive and juvenile. So that’s exactly what they did!
Yep, Duke’s travails are not over yet, as Gearbox and 3D Realms are going to court. Wired’s piece includes a detailed look at the ugly history between the two companies: Fans might remember Gearbox was founded by dissatisfied 3D Realms employees. 3D Realms is essentially claiming that it has the right to make a Duke Nukem game, and that Gearbox doesn’t own the trademark anyway:
3D Realms’ affirmative defenses, as set forth in the response, are brief. In part, it says that it believes that 3D Realms owns the trademark rights to Duke Nukem, not Gearbox. Furthermore, it says, the “Asset Purchase Agreement provides that 3DR could complete development of and sell a video game with the tentative title of ‘Duke Nukem Survivor’ [and] also explicitly provides 3DR a ‘worldwide, non-exclusive license (including the right to sublicense) to use’ the DUKE NUKEM trademarks in ‘connection with the marketing, promotion, manufacturing, and distribution of’ the ‘Duke Nukem Survivor’ game.”
If you were wondering, Gearbox does, in fact, own the trademark to Duke Nukem. Just to make this weirder, apparently Interceptor, the developer, just bought 3D Realms.
This being Duke Nukem, we’re sure what should be a simple legal proceeding will drag out for years, nearly coming to a resolution several times, until it finally comes out years after everyone stopped caring. It also probably means we won’t see another Duke Nukem game for a decade. Hey, maybe by then, they’ll have written a better script!