Gearbox files suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor over unauthorized use of Duke Nukem license

Gearbox Software has filed suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over alleged unauthorized use of the Duke Nukem IP, stemming from a 3DR and Interceptor's Duke Nukem title currently in development.


Gearbox Software has filed suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over alleged unauthorized use of the Duke Nukem IP, stemming from a 3DR and Interceptor Duke Nukem title currently in development. Gearbox, owner of the IP since February 2010, seeks a formal injunction against any continued infringement.

A teaser site was established on February 1 with the domain, featuring a countdown clock presumably leading to the reveal of a new 3DR and Interceptor Duke Nukem entry called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. According to the complaint from Gearbox, the game would have released on February 25, at the conclusion of the site's countdown.

The filed complaint states the following:

Recently — and without consulting the Duke IP's actual owner, Gearbox — Interceptor announced its intent to develop a Duke Nukem game based upon the various characters, content and intellectual property owned by Gearbox; the proposed game is entitled "Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction." Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened. The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor.

By attempting to license the unlicensable, assign the unassignable, and effectively re-sell the exclusive rights that Gearbox already purchased in 2010, 3DR breached the terms of its APA with Gearbox, as well as Gearbox's exclusive, federally-protected intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the 3DR-Interceptor maneuver has left Gearbox with little choice but to bring these claims.

Gearbox had sent a cease and desist letter to 3DR on February 13. 3DR responded with a declaration of admission that Mass Destruction would have been an unauthorized infringement and issued an apology to Gearbox, signed on February 16. However, the Mass Destruction teaser site remained live and was presumably still in line to be released. As of now, the site contains a plastered Emergency Broadcast System image and alert tone, with the countdown no longer visible.

"As the filing shows, 3DR's wrongdoing is both admitted and unfortunate for everyone who cares about Duke Nukem," reads an official statement from Gearbox, in regards to the matter.

3D Realms had previously attempted to sue Gearbox for $1.3 million over Duke Nukem royalties. The suit was later withdrawn voluntarily.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 23, 2014 1:20 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Gearbox files suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor over unauthorized use of Duke Nukem license.

    Gearbox Software has filed suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over alleged unauthorized use of the Duke Nukem IP, stemming from a 3DR and Interceptor's Duke Nukem title currently in development.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 1:26 AM

      4th paragraph, cease and desist.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 2:02 AM

      I should find out who's representing them and go solicit a job

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 3:35 AM

      care factor...?

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 3:58 AM

        i care.

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 8:29 AM

        apparently you cared enough to post about it

        • reply
          February 23, 2014 10:59 AM

          So adding these up it's about 6 on the care factor.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 4:26 AM

      Where is the new Duke?

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 6:28 AM

      Well, we now know how gearbox is going to fund their next borderlands crap now.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 7:32 AM

      the only thing 3DR did (besides make most of DNF) is sell Duke Nukem to gearbox.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 7:40 AM

      Not like Gearbox cares about the IP.

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 8:05 AM

        If anything they cared way too much.

        • reply
          February 23, 2014 10:18 AM

          Whatever, Randy Pitchford swooped in like an ambulance chaser and spit out a piece of shit game. The guy couldn't care less what type of product they produce as long as people are buying it.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 10:18 AM


          • reply
            February 23, 2014 10:23 AM

            He's the worst kind of marketer, the kind that will lie right to your face in order to get one more sale.

            He said something to the effect of "DNF has 16-20 hours of gameplay. I know! I was surprised too!"

            Fucking wow.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 10:45 AM

            I don't know what they were thinking as far as quality but at least they felt the people being teased and trolled by 3DR indefinitely deserved some kind of ending to the project, including all the former workers.

            • reply
              February 23, 2014 11:23 AM

              They felt that they could scoop up the mess, throw it our the door and people would buy it so they could turn a profit. I think they banked that there were enough people that were curious just to see the thing regardless of quality. What they released was evidence of that imo.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 10:54 AM

            Used car salesman of video games.

            • reply
              February 23, 2014 6:16 PM

              I repeat: When I found out Randy was a STAGE MAGICIAN by profession, everything made sense.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 12:28 PM

            Ok, like many people I think Randy Pitchford is an ass. However, there was no way DNF was going to be anything other than a piece of shit, if it released at all. None. Development was too long, too fragmented, too disorganized, and had too much "OMG this new thing just happened and we HAVE to put it in the game" going on.

            • reply
              February 23, 2014 12:40 PM

              Exactly, he knew it and he promoted it knowing full well what a mediocre game it was. To say that they cared too much about that product is naive. They pushed it out to cash in on the failure of 3DR.

              He promoted their Alien game in the same way. He's a douche.

            • reply
              February 23, 2014 12:53 PM

              There sure was a lot of PR and shilling being done in here to try and convince us otherwise.

              • reply
                February 23, 2014 2:00 PM

                I'm just grateful it finished the cycle once and for all. If 3DR had kept the rights to it, we'd still be hearing about fucking DNF in production. A game first announced in 1997.

                • reply
                  February 23, 2014 2:15 PM

                  There would have been more DNF jokes than HL3 jokes.

                  • reply
                    February 23, 2014 4:15 PM

                    Speaking of Half-Life, why doesn't every video game journalist ever just straight up ask wieny GabeN, "Hey fucko, where in the fucking fuck is Half-Life 2 Episode 3? I mean, seriously, what the fuck?"

                    • reply
                      February 23, 2014 5:12 PM

                      I think they're afraid to make it because they could never live up to the astronomical hype that surrounds that unmade game and franchise.

                      Can you even fathom being tasked to make that game and living up to expectations?

                      • reply
                        February 23, 2014 5:30 PM

                        The expectations of Half-Life 3 being the best game ever, or the expectations of Valve making Half-Life 3 at all?

                      • reply
                        February 23, 2014 5:53 PM

                        I dunno. HL2 was kind of laid back. HL3 wouldn't have to blow my mind with some insane gimmick. It would have to have solid gameplay and a good story like the others.

                        • reply
                          February 23, 2014 6:58 PM

                          Hl3 could simply be 12 hours of running around with the super gravity gun fucking up combine and solving puzzles all while boning alex via QTE's for extra health / HEV juice.

                          Oh and after x number of minutes you could call in Dog and he'd rape some Striders.

                      • reply
                        February 23, 2014 5:54 PM

                        It's going to be a release title with Oculus Rift. Scout promise.

            • reply
              February 23, 2014 6:56 PM

              Honestly, I never hated that game. Then again I was the white dude in Otaku no Video over that one. One of the basement dwellers who lived on the 3DR boards, PMing with the level designers, etc. so there was a cycle of acceptance. After the cynicism I came to accept that it was just a video game, a game you could finish from beginning to end. Given the game's history that was an accomplishment. The worst parts weren't the bad parts. The worst parts were the ones that showed potential, but no one was at the wheel. It really made me feel for the people who worked on it.

              When it came to Gearbox the only other game I had played was Opposing Force. I had heard how others had felt burned, so I just assumed Randy was blowing smoke.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 1:41 PM

            Going from what I've played by Interceptor, they'd make a far better Duke Nukem game than Gearbox.

            At the damned least, Randy should take this opportunity to swoop in and offer them a job.

          • reply
            February 23, 2014 5:39 PM

            They shipped DNF to satisfy people's morbid curiosity. I don't think he ever claimed the game would be good.

          • reply
            February 24, 2014 6:04 PM

            I have played far worse games than DNF, which never really stood a fighting chance anyway in public opinion. The game was fun played on Hard, it was cheesy and a bit cookie cutter, but fun. Best shotgun in an FPS in a long time.

            • reply
              February 24, 2014 10:13 PM

              You know how I know you haven't played Killing Floor?

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 8:17 AM

      I want to see what crazy legal "logic" 3DRealms tried to use to "privately convince others that the sale never happened."

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 9:02 AM

        Yeah I'm trying to figure out that one.

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 11:03 AM


        Does this mean Interceptor's worked on two Duke games without checking if they can actually release them?

        • reply
          February 23, 2014 12:09 PM

          It's legit, but don't call Randy. Trust me. He'll get REALLY mad if you disturb him.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 8:21 AM

      My prediction- this is a PR stunt.

      They are either going to find a way to make this shitty isometric DN game or rebrand it. This is gonna happen.

      • reply
        February 23, 2014 9:24 AM

        Either that or Texas game developers are literally the worst when it comes to contract negotiation.

        But you said we could make the next installment for you guys! It was over steak and beer 18 months ago.

        Well of course, we just need to settle on the price.

        OK, we'll rock-paper-scissors to see who gets the first salvo on court.

        Aw, rocks beats scissors.

        Haha Bitch!

        • reply
          February 23, 2014 10:19 AM

          Should have used Spock.

        • reply
          February 23, 2014 2:09 PM

          As evidenced by the entire DNF debacle I don't think 3D Realms has anything resembling business sense otherwise it would have been finished and released years ago.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 6:00 PM

      Duke is cursed. :[

    • reply
      February 25, 2014 5:32 PM

      "...for everyone who cares about Duke Nukem..."

    • reply
      February 26, 2014 12:22 AM

      Randy Pitchford is the worst scourge to ever be released on the games industry.

      As someone who has worked in the industry and met the guy, I have nothing but negative things to say about him.

Hello, Meet Lola