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.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.