'Duke Nukem' franchise ownership finally settled

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'Duke Nukem' franchise ownership finally settled

A dispute that left ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise in limbo has officially been settled. In a statement, Gearbox Software affirmed that it's the "full and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise." Previous rights-holder and creator 3D Realms (aka Apogee Software) relinquished all claims, saying "to secure the future of Duke, 3D realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves (it) best." That's a far cry from the rancor between the parties after Gearbox launched the lawsuit in 2014, however. Gearbox assumed it had bought the full franchise rights from 3D Realms, until 3D Realms announced that it was creating a new title called Duke Nukem Survivor.

To secure the future of Duke, 3D realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves (it) best.

At the time, 3D Realms said "it is our position that (we) retain the right to develop the tentatively titled Duke Nukem Survivor game.... (and) that the trademark for Duke Nukem was never assigned to Gearbox." Caught in the middle of the whole thing was 3D Realms' new parent, Interceptor, which said "when (we) acquired a license to develop Duke Nukem Mass Destruction (Duke Nukem Survivor) from 3D Realms, we did so in good faith and were not aware of any conflict."

News of a settlement first leaked in May, but the statements today are the first official confirmation. There's no word on whether Gearbox plans to develop a new Duke Nukem game, considering that the last title, Duke Nukem Forever, bombed. The franchise is probably better known now as a cultural anachronism and shorthand phrase for "never-ending development."

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