Take-Two Sues 3D Realms for Failing to Deliver Duke Nukem Forever

By Nick Breckon, May 14, 2009 7:01pm PDT Update: Documents for the case have appeared online, revealing that, among other things, Take-Two is demanding a copy of the Duke Nukem Forever source code.

Original: Take-Two Interactive, publisher of Duke Nukem Forever, has filed suit against the remains of Apogee Ltd./3D Realms for failing to deliver the long-awaited title.

Take-Two claims that an agreement to finish the shooter was breached when 3D Realms shut down development last week. At the time of the studio's closing, Duke Nukem Forever had been in development for over 12 years.

"Apogee continually delayed the completion date for the Duke Nukem Forever," says Take-Two in the complaint, according to Bloomberg. "Apogee repeatedly assured Take-Two and the video-gaming community that it was diligently working toward competing development of the PC Version of the Duke Nukem Forever."

Take-Two paid $12 million to former DNF publisher Infogrames for the exclusive publishing rights to the game in 2000. According to the publisher, a second unspecified agreement was struck between Take-Two and 3D Realms in 2007.

Following the closure last week, Take-Two spokesman Alan Lewis confirmed that the publisher was not providing 3D Realms with "ongoing funds for development of the title."

The two companies were on less than cheery terms during development of the game. After Take-Two publicly expressed hope that 3D Realms would finish the game in 2003, 3D Realms president George Broussard famously reminded Shacknews users that the game was self-funded, saying: "Take Two needs to STFU imo."

The details of the 2007 agreement have not yet been revealed, and may be key to determining how the lawsuit will proceed.

Apogee Software, Ltd is the official title of 3D Realms. The company abandoned the Apogee name in 1996 in favor of the 3D-oriented title. Apogee Software, LLC, an external publisher established in 2008, remains in operation.

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91 Threads* | 479 Comments

  • What a "major" bummer... I, and so many were really hoping and looking forward to this title actually coming out. I, along with so many others just didn't want to totally give up. WE all thought that 3dRealms was doing their "job", and REALLY working on this game?!!?
    NOW--the supposed "truth" comes out.. Apparently, 3dRealms was just "taking in " the money;and, that's about it. What much actual work being done...
    What a sorry sort of affairs, for a company that was established so long ago. Christ!!- I was there when there first few games came out on the P.C. What the heck happened to them???
    Sad--very sad... But, once ALL the B.S. gets "ironed-out", there is a possibility of a different company(can't recall the name) who'll take over--and just might finish... "Good Ole' Duke Nukem Forever".
    I, and so many others would hope that comes to pass...
    When I first heard and read about this--I just couldn't believe what I was reading.
    That's a ton of money to get "sued" over...
    Good-Luck (what's left of) 3dRealms...
    Ole' Joe

  • This legal battle will never fly, just like DNF didn't.

    Look at the details between TT and 3DR.

    The project was in development for 12 years with reassurance that it would be completed - no legal action took place during these 12 years. Either the contract did NOT have a deadline date specifically outlined, or TT was extremely flexable if there was indeed a deadline date outlined.

    This poses two possible scenarios.

    1.) If there was no deadline outlined in the contract for project completion, and the project continued on for 12 years without complaint only to find a legal suit after AG/3DR closes the doors just shows an obvious attempt at a cash grab based on economic times - issue will be tossed out of court, legal fees remain to be paid by someone.

    2.) If there WAS a deadline date outlined in the contract but TT was being overly flexable (12 years people) and then, finally, decided to take action after AG/3DR closes their doors - court will more than likely decide TT should have taken action earlier and thus, scenario plays out like in example #1.

    In result - garbage, waste of time legal battle. Enjoy.

  • As much as I wanted to see DNF, George/3DR deserves this. I know his employees are innocent, but the level of stupidity in this project at the top was astounding. Pick a fucking engine and make the game. If you switch engines everytime something better comes out you'll never release, because something better is always coming out. It's like a person who needs to build a new computer but never does because they're terrified that the next greatest thing is just a few months away. Guess what, it is.

    We don't know all the details of the agreement so none of us can really comment as to the validity, but if Take Two does have a leg to stand on, I hope they take the farm home with them.

  • It was funded by 3D Realms, that 12 mil was for publishing rights from Infogrames. I highly doubt 3D Realms had it in writing to Take-Two saying when the game would be finished. If Take-Two wins I'll be surprised. It was a self-funded game. Just like all you that play mods, the team put there own time and money into the project.

    Look at The Nameless Mod, for Dues Ex, that took forever and a day to release. I don't see you all crying about other mods taking forever to make. The only difference was that you would have to pay for 3D Realms final project rather than downloading a free mod. In which you know for a fact you would have paid.

    Take-Two is trying to take the 'gamers' side saying that the public was lied too, but, me being a gamer, I don't agree with it. All they are trying to do is get that 12 min back they spent for publishing it just so they can have right to DNF. It's a business, like all, that are about money.

    3D Realms (Apogee ltd.) was not only about making money, but also pleasing the consumer (with a good product so don't even talk about it not being released and not pleasing you.) Just look at Prey that was also stopped mid-development, but was released and it sold very well despite what you might think (Prey 2 and Prey on the iPhone...), I personally really enjoyed it. As I would with DNF.

    If a new team does gets a hold of DNF you can bet your life savings it will be changed drastically and not what 3D Realms envisioned.

  • It seems the rights to publish Duke Nukem Forever belonged to GT Interactive who according to Wikipedia got the rights by buying FormGen. Maybe the small advance George mentioned ( the 99.999% self funded post ) is a part of this or it could be an even older agreement from the first two Duke Nukem games. I bet 3DRealms regret that agreement now, they probably gave away those rights for nothing if put in perspective.

    GT Interactive was bought by Infogrames ( Atari ) and later Take Two bought the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever from Infogrames. The GOD deal seems to be separate from all this. Since 3DR probably sold the rights so cheap, I would be very surprised if they are obligated to deliver a game.

    How much Take Two paid for the rights is totally irrelevant, what matters is the first agreement between GT Interactive or FormGen.