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3D Realms sues Gearbox over unpaid Duke Nukem royalties, Gearbox responds


3D Realms has filed suit against Gearbox Software, claiming unpaid royalties for the 2011 multiplatform release of Duke Nukem Forever.

Gearbox took over and resumed development of Duke Nukem Forever in 2009, eventually completing the project that 3D Realms had spent nearly 15 years developing. 3D Realms now seeks to recover over $2 million, claiming that Gearbox blocked an independent audit attempting to document the company's royalty earnings from Duke Nukem Forever.

The lawsuit filing, discovered by member "Green," notes that Gearbox agreed to pay off a $2.9 million loan that 3D Realms owed to an unnamed company, as part of its purchasing agreement for the rights to Duke Nukem Forever and the follow-up project, Duke Begins. 3D Realms alleges that Gearbox refused to pay out royalties until the cost of this loan is recouped, violating the terms of the agreement.

Responding to Joystiq's request for comment, Gearbox VP of Marketing Steve Gibson 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," Gibson continued. "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 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."

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