Original Duke Nukem Forever studio 3D Realms has sued Gearbox for over $2 million in royalties it claims remain unpaid following the Borderlands maker’s acquisition of the rights to the property in 2010. According to Law360, 3D Realms filed a breach of contract suit last Friday in a Texas state court, in which it alleged that Gearbox has failed to pay money owed and also blocked an independent audit of the royalties it has earned.
The complaint says: “3D Realms has therefore been required to file this lawsuit to enforce the purchase agreement, to recover the amounts due and owing from Gearbox and to enforce the audit right provided by the agreement to enable it to conduct an audit of Gearbox's royalties.”
Gearbox, which went on to complete development of the critical flop some 14 years after work on the game began, denied 3D Realms' allegations in a statement provided to Law360. It said: "The reality is that 3D Realms received the full benefit of its bargain. Gearbox, in fulfillment of its commitments, enriched 3D Realms, saved 3DR from its debts and rescued 3DR from its failed dozen plus year attempt to ship [video game] 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.”
In June 2011, we wrote in our Duke Nukem Forever review: “Duke Nukem Forever’s world-record development time has produced an ugly, buggy shooter that veers back and forth between enjoyably average and outright boring, with occasional surges of greatness along the way.”