3D Realms claims that Gearbox owes it more than $2 million in royalties and advance payments on Duke Nukem Forever.
Duke Nukem Forever may have been one of the most embarrassing videogame bombs of all time, but a deal's a deal and 3D Realms says Gearbox isn't living up to its end of the agreement that gave it the rights to the property back in 2010. According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Gearbox agreed to pay off a $2.9 million loan that 3D Realms owed to another software company and to pay it a percentage of royalties earned on future Duke Nukem releases; it also agreed not to deduct any of the debt it assumed from the royalties paid. Yet 3D Realms says that's exactly what Gearbox has done.
"Despite the assurance it provided to 3D Realms, Gearbox now claims that it is entitled to first deduct the full amount of the debt it assumed (i.e. the entire $2.9 million Duke loan) before any royalty payments become due to 3D Realms," the complaint says. "Thus, Gearbox is turning the tables."
3D Realms claims it's owed more than $2 million on the game, but Gearbox said in response that the company has already "received the full benefit of its bargain," and also slipped in a shot or two at 3D Realms' inability to complete the game itself.
"Gearbox, in fulfillment of its commitments, enriched 3D Realms, saved 3DR from its debts and rescued 3DR from its failed dozen-plus year attempt to ship Duke Nukem Forever," the studio told Law360. "Everyone wished that 3DR's game was better received by the market for the benefit of gamers and profit to its creators. 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."
I can't even imagine how galling it would be to have to fork over seven-figure royalties on Duke Nukem Forever, but regardless of how it works out, it's a far cry from those happier days when 3D Realms boss George Broussard said Gearbox "was the only home appropriate for the Duke Nukem brand."