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DNF Royalties Lawsuit

PCGamesN has details on a lawsuit filed this week by 3D Realms against Gearbox Software in Texas District Court over unpaid royalties for Duke Nukem Forever, the first-person shooter sequel completed by Gearbox after its 12-year development cycle bankrupted 3D Realms. The suit alleges that 3D Realms is owed more than $2 million and that Gearbox has refused to submit to a contractually agreed upon audit of royalty statements. They have reached out to former 3D Realms staff for comment and have so far not received one, but Kotaku has the following statement about the matter from Gearbox:

Ironically, Scott Miller himself provided the best response when he wrote: "... filed lawsuits are entirely one-sided statements, based on knee-deep BS and with more spin than a top."

The reality is that Apogee / 3D Realms (3DR) received the full benefit of its bargain. Gearbox, in its fulfillment of its commitments, enriched 3DR, saved 3DR from its debts and rescued 3DR from its litigation surrounding its failed dozen-plus year attempt to ship Duke Nukem Forever.

Everyone wished that 3DR's game was better received by the market for the benefit of gamers and profit to its creators. While 3DR might not wish the reality that the results make clear, 3DR turned out to be the only beneficiary of the deal. Gearbox Software, meanwhile, experienced damage to its credibility and loss of its money.

It's unfortunate that 3DR did not abide by the the objective audit rules outlined in the agreement and even more unfortunate that it chose to blame its failures on Gearbox. Since 3DR seems unable to accept reality and has chosen to become hostile, Gearbox is forced to bring its actual claims of breach of contract against 3DR and is confident Gearbox will prevail.

Perhaps the lesson learned here is to never enter a gaming business deal with a person who has had more lawsuits than shipped games.

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