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Duke Nukem Once Again Involved in Lawsuit Between 3D Realms and Gearbox

June 15, 2020

By: Samuel Guglielmo


Gearbox and 3D Realms are at it again, with a lawsuit over the Duke Nukem franchise. This time around Gearbox is suing 3D realms with the accusation that they breached a contract. The accusation comes in the form of the music featured in the games, with Duke Nukem 3D composer Robert "Bobby" Prince claiming that he still owns some of the music featured in the game and that the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions of Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour infringe on his copyright. Gearbox claims that 3D Realms breached its contract by not informing them of said licensing issues and that the sale was supposed to be for everything in the games.

The lawsuit only has to do with those versions of the game. The upcoming Nintendo Switch port of Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour will not be affected, as Gearbox has worked out a deal with Prince for it.


The lawsuit has already gotten some rather heated comments. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said that, if 3D Realms is found guilty, then they are "kind of shitheads." He went on to elaborate that "Part of what the court is supposed to do is disincentivize shitheads." He noted that this is the first time they had ever seen the contract between 3D Realms and Prince and that there may be more contracts that 3D Realms chose not to show them. No one on the 3D Realms side of the lawsuit, which includes the parent company Apogee Software and 3D Realms co-founders Scott Miller and George Broussard, has commented.

This isn't the first legal battle between 3D Realms and Gearbox over Duke Nukem. In 2011 3D Realms sued Gearbox claiming that they didn't receive royalties from Duke Nukem Forever, but later withdrew the suit when shown how poorly the game sold. In 2014 the two companies butted heads again, with Gearbox suing 3D Realms for announcing Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction after selling Gearbox the Duke Nukem IP. The result of that one is that Mass Destruction was reworked and rebranded to Bombshell, a game that promptly bombed but at least got a rather impressive sequel with Ion Fury.


How do you feel about this lawsuit? Think one side is going to come out of it? Will we ever see a new Duke Nukem game again? Let us know in the comments below!

Samuel Guglielmo TechRaptor
Reviews Editor

I'm Sam. Been playing video games since PlayStation. Favorite games include Ace Combat 5, Perfect Dark, Final Fantasy IX, Metro 2033, and MonsterBag. Also loves books and can be found face first in one all the time.