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Apogee suing Gearbox over Duke Nukem

Original IP owner accuses Pitchford's studio of withholding profits

Apogee, the creator and original IP owner of the Duke Nukem franchise, is suing Gearbox Software over allegedly withholding profits from the sale of Duke Nukem Forever. The developer also claims it was blocked from conducting a proper audit on the game's sales performance.

A debt of over $2 million in profits and agreed fees is named in the suit, but Gearbox has dashed Apogee's hopes of recouping it by denying the validity of the case completely.

In a statement issued to Polygon, a Gearbox official made no bones about the publisher belief that the claims are spurious.

"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,'" reads the statement, referring to an earlier statement by Apogee founder Miller on previous legal accusations around DNF. "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."

Previously, Gearbox has claimed that Forever was its best selling game at the time, in terms of units, but many of these were sold at heavy discount.

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Dan Pearson

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