Gearbox Sues Interceptor & 3D Realms Over Recently Revealed Duke Nukem Game

Alex Co

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Gearbox Sues Interceptor & 3D Realms Over Recently Revealed Duke Nukem Game


Borderlands developer Gearbox Software is suing 3D Realms and Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor Entertainment for trademark and copyright infringement over Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

Earlier in the month, Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor Entertainment launched a countdown and teaser site for Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/131949-Duke-Nukem-Mass-Destruction-Teaser-Site-Revealed], which has the badass set to star in a top-down action-RPG. While Duke Nukem fans might be excited to see how the Duke fares in an RPG, Borderlands developer Gearbox Software has thrown a monkey wrench into 3D Realms and Interceptor's plans, as it has filed a lawsuit against both companies for trademark and copyright infringement. According to court filings, Gearbox alleges that 3D Realms -- which was the original owner of the Duke Nukem IP before it was bought by Gearbox in 2010 -- "sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened." Gearbox has now issued a cease and desist letter on February 13, 2014, to 3D Realms founder Scott Miller, and series co-creator George Broussard.

Responding to the claims, Miller and Broussard has acknowledged and apologized for the infringement, with Gearbox stating, "As the filing shows, 3DR's wrongdoing is both admitted and unfortunate for everyone who cares about Duke Nukem." This isn't the first time 3D Realms and Gearbox crossed paths legally. Just last year, 3D Realms filed a lawsuit against Gearbox for alleged unpaid royalties for Duke Nukem Forever. However, mere months after the suit's filing, 3D Realms withdrew the complaint and even issued an apology. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127791-Duke-Nukem-Creator-Drops-Lawsuit-Against-Gearbox]

Duke Nukem Forever is, of course, one of the most infamous games when it came to vaporware discussions. Stuck in development limbo in over a decade, the final game developed and released by Gearbox was met with universal disdain, with The Escapist's review even saying that "If you are stuck on a deserted island with only this game to play, go fishing instead. Worth playing so that you may be able to say that you did, but otherwise imminently forgettable and not worth your time. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/reviews/8949-Duke-Nukem-Forever-Review.3]

At this point, do people even care about the Duke Nukem brand anymore? I gather that Interceptor's isometric action-RPG game might even benefit more without the Duke Nukem name to drag it down. Or could I be wrong and there are still hardcore Duke fans that are still waiting for the franchise's return to its former glory?

Source: Joystiq [http://www.scribd.com/doc/208673755/Gearbox-v-Apogee-d-b-a-3D-Realms-Interceptor-2014-Filed-Complaint]

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JediMB

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Can't bring myself to caring about the situation, but as far as this news piece goes... I'm pretty sure it's a case of trademark infringement; not copyright.

That said, I'd be all for an Evil Dead game. There's a king worth hailing.
 

Brian Tams

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Wait, wait, wait, wait...

You mean 3D Realms never bothered to ask for permission? I mean, did they really think Gearbox would just be cool with it?

No, Gearbox are a bunch of dicks. No way would they have let it gone through without first getting a paycheck first.
 

Shoggoth2588

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I'd gladly play a Duke RPG so I'm kind of annoyed by Gearbox. I understand that Duke is their IP but you just know they're not doing anything with it other than sitting on it and that's what annoys me. It isn't a Gearbox thing, it's an industry thing...although I'm kind of surprised 3D Realms didn't try buying the Duke IP outright after DNF bombed.
 

Something Amyss

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Dec 3, 2008
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Is Gearbox pissed someone might release a worthwhile DN game?

...Yeah, I get why they're doing this legally, I just had to take the shot.

Money from this lawsuit will likely be funneled into Borderlands 2 DLC.

JediMB said:
Can't bring myself to caring about the situation, but as far as this news piece goes... I'm pretty sure it's a case of trademark infringement; not copyright.
Yup. Unless they took dialogie or elements of writing from a game, it's not copyright.

That said, I'd be all for an Evil Dead game. There's a king worth hailing.
Haven't there been several?
 

RicoADF

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Shoggoth2588 said:
I'd gladly play a Duke RPG so I'm kind of annoyed by Gearbox. I understand that Duke is their IP but you just know they're not doing anything with it other than sitting on it and that's what annoys me. It isn't a Gearbox thing, it's an industry thing...although I'm kind of surprised 3D Realms didn't try buying the Duke IP outright after DNF bombed.
Don't be pissed off at Gearbox, they wasted millions on the IP only to get the mess that was DNF and end up with it seriously harming their reputation. I can't say I blame them for not being in a hurry to sink more money into it. Also can't blame them for smacking 3D Realms down for trying to steal their IP, this was a case of IP protection being used correctly as it was meant to be. The devs should contact gearbox about creating the game that was announced, I'm sure considering their success with rise of the triad that GB would be approachable atleast.
 

Shoggoth2588

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RicoADF said:
Shoggoth2588 said:
I'd gladly play a Duke RPG so I'm kind of annoyed by Gearbox. I understand that Duke is their IP but you just know they're not doing anything with it other than sitting on it and that's what annoys me. It isn't a Gearbox thing, it's an industry thing...although I'm kind of surprised 3D Realms didn't try buying the Duke IP outright after DNF bombed.
Don't be pissed off at Gearbox, they wasted millions on the IP only to get the mess that was DNF and end up with it seriously harming their reputation. I can't say I blame them for not being in a hurry to sink more money into it. Also can't blame them for smacking 3D Realms down for trying to steal their IP, this was a case of IP protection being used correctly as it was meant to be. The devs should contact gearbox about creating the game that was announced, I'm sure considering their success with rise of the triad that GB would be approachable atleast.
I missed that part about 3D Realms just going ahead and not asking for permission. I still would have liked to have seen a Duke RPG of course...
 

Lemmibl

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Now, I don't know anything about copyrights/trademarks, but if I was in GB's shoes, I'd try to use this opportunity to sell the DN trademark to 3D Realms. Idk if that'd work, but after DNF, I don't think GB are in any hurry to try to make a new attempt at DN game. And let's be totally honest here, is duke nukem really worth anything at all these days? The last generation that gave a damn about duke nukem are probably all in their thirties by now... not to imply that people in their thirties can't be gamers, of course.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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How on earth did 3D Realms expect to get away with that?

Maybe they were hoping that Gearbox would be too ashamed to remind everyone that they own the Duke Nukem property.
 

Atmos Duality

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This is just baffling to me. 3DR obviously had to have known they didn't own The Duke anymore.
So either this is a bizarre publicity stunt, 3DR are paint-huffing imbeciles, or there's some other element we don't know about at work.

Zachary Amaranth said:
Is Gearbox pissed someone might release a worthwhile DN game?
*snickers* Not like Gearbox had anything to fear there; it was 3D Realms.
 

Reed Spacer

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Atmos Duality said:
This is just baffling to me. 3DR obviously had to have known they didn't own The Duke anymore.
So either this is a bizarre publicity stunt, 3DR are paint-huffing imbeciles, or there's some other element we don't know about at work.

Zachary Amaranth said:
Is Gearbox pissed someone might release a worthwhile DN game?
*snickers* Not like Gearbox had anything to fear there; it was 3D Realms.
Oooh, snap.

Talk about a low blow...
 

Adept Mechanicus

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I don't see how anyone thought another Duke Nukem brand game was a good idea after Forever. There's also no way they thought they could get away with making it while completely ignoring Gearbox. I'm normally not one for elaborate theories, but I do believe there's a long game being played here. Maybe 3D Realms thinks they can stir up some legal controversy, get some buzz from that, immediately drop the character and the name from the game, then release it with a new title, hoping the notoriety generated by the legal action will do their marketing for them. They do this on the mistaken (but sadly common) assumption that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

However, this would mean 3D Realms believes people are smart enough to remember the news they read about Duke Nukem's legal troubles, but stupid enough to forget it was Duke Nukem, and still buy the game off name recognition alone. That is an enormous logical leap.

Well, I'm out of ideas. You could say 3D Realms are just morons and leave it at that, but even a total moron has a thought process. I cannot understand why they are doing this.
 

FYI I Am Some Guy

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Atmos Duality said:
This is just baffling to me. 3DR obviously had to have known they didn't own The Duke anymore.
So either this is a bizarre publicity stunt, 3DR are paint-huffing imbeciles, or there's some other element we don't know about at work.

Zachary Amaranth said:
Is Gearbox pissed someone might release a worthwhile DN game?
*snickers* Not like Gearbox had anything to fear there; it was 3D Realms.
Er... Isn't Interceptor behind this, with 3DR publishing?
 

Sarah Kerrigan

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But yet, everyone saw this coming. Gearbox purchased the rights from them, right? If another company goes on making a game without their permission, they will get sued. Even if it's a shitty license like Duke. I mean, if we knew this was coming, Gearbox would have said something about loaning the property out, or giving another company the rights to make their own.

I'm not surprised by this, I'm just surprised on how long it took.
 

Atmos Duality

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FYI I Am Some Guy said:
Er... Isn't Interceptor behind this, with 3DR publishing?
Yes, and I do not envy Interceptor's position here at all.

Their publisher couldn't even figure out that they didn't own the rights to Duke anymore.
So right out of the gate, Interceptor's involvement is moot. Because 3D Realms.

Zachary Amaranth said:
True. I just had to take the low road.
Reed Spacer said:
Oooh, snap.

Talk about a low blow...
The low hanging fruit is there for a reason.
 

Fox12

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Jun 6, 2013
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Oh no! Where am I supposed to get my masochistic male power fantasies from! I need a game that will allow me to escape from my man child persona, so that I can verbally abuse women even as they lavish me with attention! Where am I supposed to find a decent poop throwing simulator? Should I kickstart one?

Yeah, in case it's not obvious, I don't really care. This is one of the few franchises I find actively offensive. The only way this could be good is if they made a deconstruction based on Yahtzee's parody video. I would actually pay for that.

JediMB said:
Can't bring myself to caring about the situation, but as far as this news piece goes... I'm pretty sure it's a case of trademark infringement; not copyright.

That said, I'd be all for an Evil Dead game. There's a king worth hailing.
My thought exactly. Lets get Ash in here. I'd be curious to see him react to Silent Hill.

*Pyramid Head crosses the hall, and slowly turns his head towards Ash*

*Groovy...*
 

Falterfire

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I love how clearly you can see the hatedom hierarchy based on the comments. Company A announces plans to make game in franchise they don't own and Company B tells them no? Which company is yelled at in the comments is the one the internet hates more.
 

StriderShinryu

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Well, that's rather funny. First, I don't see how they ever expected to get away with it. Second, I'm having a hard time not laughing over how accepting people seem to be of seeing Duke Nukem in a top down action RPG given how much flak other companies get for not keeping new versions of old IP exactly like the old ones.