As revealed by recent court documents, Gearbox was brought on to develop Duke Begins following a 2007 agreement between 3D Realms and Take-Two. In exchange for the rights to make another Duke game, 3D Realms received a cool $2.5 million advance to help fund the ongoing development of Duke Nukem Forever (and, in turn, extend the practice of wondering aloud, "How on Earth can 3D Realms afford to keep making this game?").
3D Realms claims that the "halted" development of Duke Begins in April 2009 "materially harmed Apogee and/or will necessarily delay the commercial release of the Duke Begins game." They claimed that any such delay in release would "delay any royalty payments ... from sales of the Duke Begins game and prevent Apogee from being able to repay the [$2.5 million] advance when it becomes due in 2012." And now you begin to see where all this talk of lawsuits came from. We've put word into Gearbox and Take-Two and will let you know what we hear.