The mysterious "well-known videogame developer" behind new Duke Nukem series entry "Duke Begins" is Gearbox Software (Brothers in Arms, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Borderlands), Take-Two has revealed in court filings uncovered by Shacknews.
Gearbox was named within Take-Two's answer to a counterclaim filed by series creator 3D Realms/Apogee Software Ltd. The increasingly complicated lawsuit sees publisher Take-Two going after 3D Realms for the incomplete state of the long-in-development shooter Duke Nukem Forever, with 3D Realms labeling the lawsuit as a "bully tactic."
Duke Begins emerged from a 2007 Agreement between 3D Realms and Take-Two, with development taking place at an external third party studio now known to be Gearbox. As part of the deal, 3D Realms received a $2.5 million advance to help fund DNF.
While Take-Two admits that the development of Duke Begins "has for the time being been halted," the company denies that the game has been cancelled, and argues that 3D Realms did not need to be consulted regarding this change to the schedule:
Under the 2007 Agreement, any modification to the development schedule
for the Duke Begins game, following Final Concept Approval (as defined
in the 2007 Agreement), is permitted without Apogee's consent provided
that both 2K Games and Gearbox (as defined in the 2007 Agreement)
consent to the change.
Take-Two also disputed 3D Realms' claim that Duke Begins was originally due by mid-2010, and further denied that its halted development "has materially
harmed Apogee and/or will necessarily delay the commercial release of the Duke Begins game."
In its counterclaim, 3D Realms said that a later release of Duke Begins would "delay any royalty payments...from sales of the Duke Begins game and prevent Apogee from being able to repay the [$2.5 million] advance when it becomes due in 2012."
As for the ongoing soap opera regarding Duke Nukem Forever and the funding issues that led to 3D Realms laying off most of its staff, Take-Two denies knowing in advance that terminating the funding negotiations between the two would lead to layoffs, though 3D Realms asserts Take-Two was "fully aware" of this "weeks before."
And though 3D Realms claims it continues to work on "the development of" Duke Nukem Forever and has no contractual deadline by which it must deliver the game, Take-Two writes that the "law implies a reasonable deadline for the completion of contractual performance where no
deadline is explicitly set forth in the contract."