'We bought Duke Nukem.' Franchise rights transferred from 3D Realms to Gearbox

Just two days after revealing its stewardship of the Duke Nukem Forever title at PAX, Gearbox Software just revealed that it has actually purchased the Duke Nukem brand. Gearbox president Randy Pitchford told an audience at PAX this afternoon that they're not just making sure Duke Nukem Forever makes it to store shelves, but they've actually purchased the entire Duke Nukem IP. "We actually bought the brand," Pitchford told fans. "We bought Duke Nukem."

A press release timed to go out with the announcement has some more information. Here's the big picture quote: "Gearbox Software announced today that it has acquired the full intellectual property rights of the 'Duke Nukem' brand including Duke Nukem Forever and all future projects in a cooperative deal made with 3D Realms." Even more interesting: "The first product to be available under the Duke Nukem brand will be the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever." Naturally, if they're buying the brand you can imagine DNF won't be the last game to feature the Duke.

Pitchford made a point to say that Alan Blum, the creator of the Duke Nukem franchise, is now with Gearbox. "He's on the 10th floor with his team," he said. He also wanted to explain that this franchise couldn't simply have been purchased by anyone. "I didn't buy it from [3D Realms]," Pitchford said. "They sold it to me." In the press release, 3D Realms' Scott Miller said, "Gearbox was handpicked as the new home for Duke Nukem because of their continued passion, commitment and long-time heritage with the brand and 3D Realms."

So, Duke Begins then?
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Duke Nukem Franchise Transferred to Gearbox Software

Borderlands and Brothers in Arms creators, Gearbox Software, acquire ownership of the legendary Duke Nukem franchise and brand.

Dallas, TX – September 5th, 2010 – Gearbox Software announced today that it has acquired the full intellectual property rights of the 'Duke Nukem' brand including Duke Nukem Forever and all future projects in a cooperative deal made with 3D Realms. Gearbox Software is an award-winning video game developer known for the creation of original mega-hit franchises, including Borderlands and Brothers in Arms, which have each earned critical acclaim and have been bought by millions of people worldwide.

"Fifteen years ago, Duke Nukem 3D helped launch my professional video game development career," said Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software. "The Gearbox Software team and I are ecstatic that we have grown to a position to be able to pick up and carry the torch and help Duke rise back to glory in his time of need. Fans of the legendary hero and all the incredible talent that have ever helped him all deserve the very best support that we can bring. Please join me in supporting Duke in his triumphant return so that we may all enjoy the unique, one-in-million entertainment experience that only Duke Nukem can bring."

Since its inception in 1991, Duke Nukem has evolved into one of the most iconic brands in the history of video games. The Duke Nukem franchise is renowned for uniquely engaging and entertaining millions of gamers by providing them with highly explosive content and entertaining gameplay mixed with waggish humor. Franchise highlights include Duke Nukem 3D in 1997 and Duke Nukem : Manhattan Project in 2002.

"Gearbox was handpicked as the new home for Duke Nukem because of their continued passion, commitment and long-time heritage with the brand and 3D Realms. Gearbox and Duke Nukem make for a devastating match made in video game heaven," commented Scott Miller, co-founder of 3D Realms. "The gaming community's love and demand for the Duke Nukem brand never wavered and Gearbox will not disappoint them. As you have seen from titles such as Borderlands, Gearbox will bring the right level of addictively compelling gameplay, humor and high powered explosive action to the franchise. Duke Nukem is back and will be bigger than ever."

"Gearbox was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand. 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 am personally cannot wait for fans to see their unique take on the franchise," said George Broussard, co-founder of 3D Realms. "This will be a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially the fans."

The first product to be available under the Duke Nukem brand will be the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever. Duke Nukem Forever will be published by 2K Games, which has exclusive, long-term publishing rights to the game and is expected to launch in 2011 on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. Duke Nukem Forever will bring players back into the Duke Nukem universe with memorable ass-kicking mayhem for the millions of fans who have been anticipating its arrival over the past decade.

For more information on Duke Nukem Forever, please visit www.Duke Nukem .com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.