Oh gaming industry, even during the early year release doldrums, you never pull punches on good old fashioned drama. In the red corner, we have Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor, whose burgeoning brand roster now includes the smoldering remains of original Duke Nukem creator 3D Realms, and in the blue corner we have Borderlands developer and current Duke owner Gearbox. Gearbox, of course, is suing Interceptor because of Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a gum-assing, kick-chewing ARPG it doesn't believe Interceptor has the rights to develop. But, in the wake of its 3D Realms purchase, Interceptor has told RPS that it thinks it's completely in the right.
“We wouldn't have entered this development if we weren't completely, 100 percent sure that we were indeed doing what we were allowed to,” CEO Frederik Schreiber said during a recent interview.
The line "in good faith" has come up countless times at this point, so I inquired further as to what exactly Interceptor means by that. Newly appointed 3D Realms/Apogee Software head Mike Nielsen explained:
“In good faith means that we felt we had done all the necessary work to verify and secure that the license was valid. And we still believe that. Nothing has changed. But we have to be realistic that we're facing a lawsuit.”
And yet, Schreiber and Nielsen refused to refer to Mass Destruction by name, instead calling it an "unannounced project" even though a web-based promo campaign already revealed its identity. When pressed, however, they adamantly stated that they don't think Gearbox's lawsuit will hold their weapon of mass deliberation back for long. While they can't predict the future, they believe 3D Realms still exerts some degree of control over Duke Nukem despite a recent apology letter from 3D Realms' Scott Miller and George Broussard acknowledging that they'd violated Gearbox's rights.
"We've obviously investigated and we have good faith that 3D Realms had that residual right [to Duke],” said Nielsen. "That's what we believe... We're not too worried about the lawsuit.”
“We would never enter agreements like these if we hadn't done the necessary research and legal research beforehand," added Schreiber. "That'd be too risky for a small company like Interceptor.”
So then, what happens next? For their parts, Schreiber and Nielsen seem pretty optimistic that Gearbox's lawsuit is only a stumbling block - not the end of the line.
“The lawsuit hasn't swayed us from thinking that this was a good business decision to acquire 3D Realms and basically relaunch it as a publishing brand," explained Nielsen. "That's what we're working on right now. The lawsuit is just part of business I think. You can get sued for a lot of things. We'll take it as it comes.”
And as for Duke? Well, if Interceptor gets its way, we'll be getting some concrete info sooner rather than later.
“Hopefully we'll be making an official announcement on that within a month or so," said Nielsen. "By then we should be able to make an announcement on it.”
For now, though, it's back to the realm of lawyers and legalese. That one, presumably, is also three dimensional.
“We'll let our defense speak for itself," concluded Nielsen, "but we're still hoping that we can solve this peacefully. That's always been our goal.”
Look for the rest of our interview with Interceptor - which includes the Rise of the Triad developer's publishing plans and overwhelming desire to acquire the Blood IP - very, very soon.