Duke Nukem returns to Gearbox

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Gearbox Software, Interceptor Entertainment, and 3D Realms "have resolved their differences [and] voluntarily ended all litigation between them," they said in a joint statement confirming the end of their dispute over the ownership of Duke Nukem. But the Dukester hasn't returned to his original home at 3D Realms, as I speculated might happen in May. Instead, he is now fully and completely the property of Gearbox.

The suit was originally filed in early 2014 over Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action-RPG that had been teased but never actually announced. Gearbox claimed that it was the rightful owner of the property, having acquired it in full in 2010, but that 3D Realms "sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened," and thereby embark upon illegitimate licensing deals with other companies.

3D Realms CEO Mike Nielsen denied that claim in the statement, however, saying that the licensing deal with Interceptor was made in good faith. "We never intended to cause any harm to Gearbox or Duke, which is why we immediately ceased development after Gearbox reached out," he said. "To secure the future of Duke, 3D Realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves the IP best. And as big Duke fans, we’re excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the ‘King.’"

Unfortunately for anyone looking forward to a resumption of work on Duke Nukem Reloaded, Interceptor boss Frederik Schreiber made it clear that's not going to happen. "It was my own decision to pull the plug on Duke Nukem Reloaded, even though we were fully allowed to continue development," he said. "I respect Gearbox for supporting a young developer, and I’m glad we can now put this behind us."

The final terms of the settlement were not revealed, but the statement confirms that Gearbox "is the full and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise." That makes it two-for-two in the Duke Nukem lawsuit series: In 2013, 3D Realms sued Gearbox over unpaid Duke Nukem Forever royalties, but later withdrew the suit and issued a public apology.

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