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68. Re: Gearbox Snags Homeworld IP Apr 23, 2013, 04:49 Kristian Joensen
Warskull wrote on Apr 22, 2013, 20:15:
While Gearbox deserves every bit of criticism for Aliens:Colonial Marine, it really isn't fair to pin Duke Nukem Forever on them. That failure is squarely on the shoulders of 3D Realms.

People were asking to have Duke Nukem Forever pushed out after 3D Realms finally shuttered. We all knew the game was probably terrible after being stuck in development help for so long.

Now A:CM, Gearbox should be ashamed of that game for the rest of their lives.
(Emphasis mine).

They didn't shutter. They changed their business model, working with external development team on games has always been a huge part of their business model, but after letting the DNF team go in May 2009, they decided to focus exclusively on that and are still actively releasing game developed in such a collaborative manner. With 3D Realms taking various roles depending on the situation but here are some quotes descriping their role in Prey and Max Payne: It says on your website that Prey is developed by Humanhead and produced by 3DRealms, what exactly that means? What 3D Realms is doing Prey in production?

Scott Miller: Well, in this case we stay true to the Hollywood meaning of the word Producer. This means that we provide funding, and we oversee the project, and put together the right team to create the project (i.e. a developer and a publisher).

Publisher/producer? What roles behind a game do these take? For example, how much input does one have in the actual design of a title?

Scott: When we act as a producer, we often contribute significant funding to a project, which allows it to reach a point where it is much easier to pitch to publishers. We also provide design guidance, marketing guidance (for example, I was a prime mover on all marketing for Duke Nukem 3D, Max Payne, and Prey, leading the design of the retail boxes, game ads, picking the screen shots, writing all of the marketing text, etc.), and at the end, we are deeply involved with play-testing and polishing. It’s quite a lot of work, but then, it’s also really fun.

Prey was well received by press and gamers alike, so just how much input did 3D Realms have in its development?

Scott: All of the above! Big money. The overall concept came from me, and was then co-shaped by Human Head and me together. I brought in all three of the external writers and worked closely with them, and Human Head, to lay-out the story and characters. Human Head and I worked on all of the key gameplay ideas, some coming from me (death walk, spirit walk, Talon) and some from Human Head (gravity and wall walking). And many from 3DR were involved with the game’s play-testing. It really is a big collaboration.

Money is the root of all evil. Said one developer, “Someone once told me the Golden Rule really is, ‘The guy with the gold makes the rules.’” Scott Miller, 3D Realms co-founder, states it just as plainly. “The dirty secret is: Publishers control developers through payments. Rockstar was paying Human Head so late on the milestones payments [in the early days of Prey] that 3D Realms was jumping in to help Human Head because they had payroll to meet. [Rockstar] even said to us, ‘[You’re] taking over the control [we] have over developers.’ Nasty stuff like that happens all the time.” For its part, 3D Realms is helping its fellow developers by offering creative and financial assistance on projects.

Naturally, the money that publishers pour into a project entitles them to have some say. These suggestions can run the gamut of good, bad, and ugly. “When Prey was being developed early on it was actually a Rockstar-label game,” explains Miller. “At the time, Metroid Prime was going to be released, and they had the whole visor thing, and this producer [from Rockstar] said, ‘Well, the visor is going to be a big thing for Metroid, and we should have a visor for Prey.’ And it didn’t fit anything to do with the game at all. So it ended up where we were rejecting all these crazy ideas, and for that reason along with some others, Rockstar ended up dropping the game because we were too hard to work with.”

Even with everything all set up, the
project still had its problems. You would
have been forgiven if you’d thought Prey
was cursed. It gave Gerritsen and his
team some nail-biting moments.
“Though I can’t discuss details due to
non-disclosure agreements, I can say
that Human Head worked without a
publishing contract for about 18 months
due to our dispute with our publisher.
That was pretty frightening since Human
Head is an independent studio, and we
were dependent on our milestone
payments to pay for production."
“3D Realms, however, believed in the
game and what we were doing with
development, and they funded us during
that period. This kept the company, and
the project, alive during that period."

Just to be clear that I do not hijack improper credit, Max Payne was developed (all content and code) by Remedy Entertainment (they did all the hard work!), and produced by 3D Realms (meaning we funded a significant portion of the game, handled the publishing agreements, helped guide the game's design, helped play-tested and polished the game, handled the shareware release, and oversaw and co-designed the game's marketing).

Sure the games they have released that way lately haven't been even remotely near the scope of Max Payne or Prey but they are still real games and it is a legit business model that they have a long history of and a good track record doing. So you can't just dismiss that. They are still an active company releasing games(Source,,

This comment was edited on Apr 23, 2013, 05:19.
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