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Gearbox reaches settlement with Bobby Prince over Duke Nukem music

Composer expresses support for Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour

Gearbox Software, Bobby Prince, Randy Pitchford, Apogee Software, and 3D Realms have all reached a settlement on a court battle over the music in the Duke Nukem series.

In a press release today, Gearbox announced that it and Duke Nukem composer Prince have resolved their issues, and that Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour now has his support.

The issues began in 2019, when Prince sued Gearbox, Pitchford, and Valve over unpaid royalties from Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour, attesting that Apogee had merely licensed Prince's work on the game -- so when Gearbox purchased the Duke Nukem property in 2010, it did not acquire the music.

Then, earlier this year, Gearbox added 3D Realms parent company Apogee Software to the lawsuit, accusing 3D Realms of violating its acquisition agreement when it attested the Duke Nukem rights were being transferred "free and clear," and accusing Apogee of failing to indemnify Gearbox in 2019 when it was informed of the original court case.

Though the terms of this settlement were not disclosed, court filings indicate that all third-party plaintiffs and defendants -- Gearbox Software, Apogee, Action Entertainment, and Apogee co-owners Scott Miller and George Broussard -- will pay their own legal fees.

In a statement, Pitchford said that the questions were resolved after a "thorough review" and that all parties agreed to dismiss their claims.

In its own statement, 3D Realms added that Prince's license was "inadvertently overlooked" by 3D Realms when it sold Gearbox the Duke Nukem catalog.

"There's been a lot of interest about my lawsuit and Gearbox. I'm glad to announce today that the matter with Gearbox is resolved," said Prince. "After productive discussions, we have reached an agreement that allows my music and sound effects to remain in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour.

"I appreciate Randy Pitchford and Gearbox for their collaboration, partnership, and understanding. I'm thankful that we can put this behind us and move forward."

This was not the first court battle over the Duke Nukem franchise over the years. In 2015, a settlement between Gearbox, 3D Realms, and Interceptor was reached after 3D Realms licensed Interceptor to develop Duke Nukem Mass Destruction -- when the IP had already been purchased in full by Gearbox.

And in 2013, 3D Realms dropped its suit against Gearbox which alleged that the publisher had been withholding profits from the sale of Duke Nukem Forever.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar
Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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