Gearbox and 3D Realms settle Duke Nukem lawsuit

Duke Nukem Forever Portrait

The Duke Nukem lawsuit between 3D Realms and Gearbox Software has been settled, according to documents recently posted on NeoGAF. The suit was initially filed in February 2014 over Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action-RPG being created by 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment.

The game was never officially announced, but it was strongly (very strongly) hinted at on the now-disappeared website The trouble arose from the fact that Gearbox had acquired the rights to Duke Nukem in 2010 on the way to releasing Duke Nukem Forever. "Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened," Gearbox said in its complaint. "The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor."

According to the documents posted on GAF, the matter was settled with the assistance of a mediator, and may ultimately end with the return of the Duke to his original home at 3D Realms. The filing states that "the Seller may repurchase the Duke IP at a price equal to the Buy-Back," which is framed by various expensive-sounding clauses and conditions; that doesn't mean that 3D Realms is definitely reacquiring the property, or that Gearbox is committed to selling it, but it certainly appears as though an opportunity for the franchise to change hands is on the table. There are also a few images apparently taken from Mass Destruction before work on the game morphed into the upcoming Bombshell.

An Interceptor Entertainment rep said the company could not comment on the matter, while Gearbox has not yet responded to our inquiries.

Andy Chalk

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.