Gearbox is being sued by 3D realms over Duke Nukem royalties


Gearbox, known for developing the 2013 hit Aliens: Colonial Marines, are the defendants in a lawsuit filed by fellow developer 3D Realms.

Gearbox allegedly took over development of the ill fated Duke Nukem Forever from 3D Realms under the agreement that Gearbox would pay off a $2.9 million loan owed to an unnamed party. However, 3D Realms that Gearbox had refused to pay out any royalties for the Duke Nukem license until the $2.9 million loan had been recouped; hence the lawsuit.

Gearbox’s Vice President of Marketing Steve Gibson has vehemently defended the company again 3D Realms, claiming that “3D Realms received the full benefit of its bargain” and that while 3D Realms ultimately benefited from the eventual release of Duke Nukem Forever, “Gearbox Software … experienced damage to its credibility and loss of its money”.

It’s everyone’s fault by Gearbox’s, eh?

Steve Gibson’s full statement can be found after the jump.

[Source: Joystiq &]

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. 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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Michael Westgarth

Michael Westgarth is a freelance writer and geneticist for hire who has been writing about video games since 2011. Michael enjoys saving the world and building creeper-proof, vertical sheep farms. Follow him on Twitter @MegaWestgarth, Tumblr and Google+.