In response to Take-Two's lawsuit over the Duke Nukem Forever fiasco, Apogee Software claims the publisher has enlisted a "well-known videogame developer" to create an entirely new and separate Duke Nukem game.
Take-Two sued Apogee, aka 3D Realms, in May over the collapse of Duke Nukem Forever, claiming among other things that Apogee had stashed a "substantial amount" of money in offshore bank accounts, presumably so it could keep the cash rather than use it to pay off its outstanding debts. The suit also mentioned a planned Xbox 360 version of the game which was to be developed in parallel with the PC release, and alluded to the possibility that a 360 release of the game might still be in the cards.
But in papers filed June 19, Apogee makes one or two interesting claims of its own. The majority of the filing is spent denying virtually all of Take-Two's allegations but at one point reference is made to a "new Duke Nukem-based game being developed in parallel by a separate well-known game developer under contract with Take-Two." Later in the document, that claim is fleshed out further.
"On October 22, 2007, Apogee, Take-Two and 2K Games entered into an agreement in which Apogee granted 2K Games the exclusive right to develop and publish a new videogame based upon Apogee's Duke Nukem franchise, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions," the document says. "One of those conditions was for 2K Games to enter into a development agreement with a well-known videogame developer to develop the new Duke Nukem-based game within two months after execution of the October 2007 Agreement in order to complete the game quickly. The new game was given the working title of Duke Begins and is not the same game as the DNF game."
Apogee alleges that Take-Two halted work on Duke Begins in April 2009 with the intent of disrupting its release schedule and thereby delaying any royalty payments owed to Apogee, hindering the company's ability to repay the "additional DNF advance" when it comes due in 2012. The intent, according to the claim, is to pressure Apogee into selling the Duke Nukem rights to Take-Two for less than their true value.
Got all that? Here's the bit that confuses me: The "additional DNF advance" in the amount of $2.5 million was to be recouped from the royalties owed to Apogee from sales of either Duke Nukem Forever or Duke Begins, unless DNF wasn't released by October 22, 2012; at that point, the advance would be "immediately due and payable." Apogee claims it is being "materially harmed" by the delay of Duke Begins because it won't be able to use the royalties from that game to pay back the advance when it comes due, but would that not be a moot point if DNF actually came out prior to October 2012?
I'm no lawyer so I could be way off-base with this, but you don't have to be a lawyer to be amused by Apogee's complaints that someone is taking too damn long to develop a videogame. The company also reiterated its claim that it has sunk over $20 million of its own money into the development of Duke Nukem Forever.
Get your own copy of Apogee's answer to the Take-Two lawsuit here. (PDF format)