3D Realms: We haven't closed

Written by Joe Martin

May 19, 2009 | 11:04

Tags: #abandonware #dnf #duke #duke-nukem #duke-nukem-forever #vapourware

Companies: #3d-realms #take-two

3D Realms has fired back at Take-Two today and claimed in a press statement that, despite rumours to the contrary, it has not closed down fully. Instead, while the team behind the legendarily delayed Duke Nukem Forever has been let go, the company itself is still in business.

The statement comes in rebuttal to a lawsuit from Take-Two, who would have published Duke Nukem Forever, seeking to claim back up the $12 million USD that Take-Two claims it invested in the Duke Nukem Forever project.

3D Realms is disputing the lawsuit however, claimed that it actually only ever got $2.5 million from the publisher for Duke Nukem Forever and that any other funds it received were instead going to other companies which were no longer involved in the development of the game.

Lashing out at Take-Two, the statement from 3D Realms also accuses Take-Two of failing to offer the Duke Nukem Forever team a reasonable deal to continue developing the game, despite the fact that development had been on-going for at least 12 years. Instead, 3D Realms alleges that Take-Two attempted to obtain the Duke Nukem Forever game in "what amounted to a fire sale".

Speaking about the future of Duke Nukem Forever, the statement again confirms that that the Duke Nukem Forever team has been let go, but that 3D Realms is still eager to co-create games based on the franchise in the future. Whether or not that means Duke Nukem Forever will ever see a release or not is open to interpretation.

According to reports from Kotaku Take-Two has declined to offer any further comment on the matter. You can read the full statement from 3D Realms below, then let us know your thoughts in the forums.

"3D Realms Release – Pertaining to Recent Events Surrounding Duke Nukem Forever
Dallas, TX (May 18, 2009) –
In light of recent press articles and statements by Take-Two (to the media and in a lawsuit), we want to set the record straight on some issues.

Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) has not closed and is not closing. 3DR retains ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. Due to lack of funding, however, we are saddened to confirm that we let the Duke Nukem Forever (DNF) development team go on May 6th, while we regroup as a company. While 3DR is a much smaller studio now, we will continue to operate as a company and continue to license and co-create games based upon the Duke Nukem franchise.

As some of you may know, Take-Two filed a lawsuit last week containing various accusations and claims against 3DR and the uncompleted DNF game. Take-Two never paid 3DR advances or any signing bonus or any other funds related to DNF, up until July 2008, at which time they paid $2.5m in connection with another agreement for an unannounced game. This is the sum total Take-Two has paid 3DR in connection with DNF. Take-Two claims that they paid $12m to GT Interactive/Infogrames to acquire the publishing rights for the DNF game. To be clear, 3DR was not a party to that transaction and did not receive any money from it. When the DNF game was originally signed with GT Interactive in 1998, GT paid 3DR a $400,000 signing bonus. Up until July 2008, this was the only publisher money we received for the DNF game. Meanwhile, 3DR put over $20m into the production of DNF.

Take-Two retains publishing rights for the DNF game, although 3DR retains certain rights to sell the game directly to the public. Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game. In the meantime, 3DR was hitting mutually-agreed milestones, despite not having a new agreement finalized. Take-Two was well aware that 3DR needed the funding to continue the DNF game development. Suddenly, after months of negotiations, Take-Two materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement. 3DR informed Take-Two that it could not financially afford the changes Take-Two was suggesting and would be forced to release the team if an agreement was not reached. Take-Two made a last minute proposal to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise and the 3DR development team. Take-Two's proposal was unacceptable to 3DR for many reasons, including no upfront money, no guarantee minimum payment, and no guarantee to complete the DNF game. From 3DR's perspective, we viewed Take-Two as trying to acquire the Duke Nukem franchise in a "fire sale." Those negotiations fell through on May 4th, a deal never materialized, and the DNF team was sadly released a few days later.

Less than a week after the DNF team was released, Take-Two filed its lawsuit in New York, seeking immediate temporary injunctive relief. The court denied Take-Two's request for a temporary restraining order. While we cannot comment on the details of the ongoing lawsuit, we believe Take-Two's lawsuit is without merit and merely a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher.
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