It's time for a new twist in the tale of Duke Nukem Forever. Shacknews are reporting that Take-Two are now filing a lawsuit against the remnants of Apogee and 3D Realms, suing them for failing to deliver the promised game, and demanding a copy of the source code. Cor blimey. In a round-up of who's suing who today, business news site Bloomberg mentions the case, stating that Take-Two are making the case because "Apogee breached an agreement to design the latest installment of Duke Nukem." And in recently discovered papers, it's been revealed that the publisher are demanding a copy of the source code, and assurance that none of the game be leaked or destroyed.
It has been widely reported that 3D Realms' development of Duke Nukem Forever was entirely self-funded, but this doesn't mean money didn't change hands between Take-Two and 3D Realms. In 2000, Bloomberg reports, Take-Two paid $12 million for the rights to publish the game, by then already into its third year of development. After the famous incident in 2003 when Take-Two announced the game wouldn't be ready for Christmas, and 3D Realms boss George Broussard posted on Shacknews that, "Take Two needs to STFU imo," the relationship between the two companies was obviously tense. Come 2007, a further agreement was made between them, but what that entailed is unknown. 3D Realms meanwhile have made it clear that they never saw any of the $12m, after co-founder Scott Miller made a comment on another Shack story about the matter. Asked if they'd received any of the TT money he replied,
"No. We didn't get a penny of that money. This, along with so much else, is 100% spin, being eaten up by those who have no clue whatsoever. But, we cannot talk yet. We will, soon..."
The filed complaint from Take-Two states,
"Apogee continually delayed the completion date for the Duke Nukem Forever. Apogee repeatedly assured Take-Two and the video-gaming community that it was diligently working toward competing development of the PC Version of the Duke Nukem Forever."
However, now 3D Realms has shut up shop, cancelled development of the game, and fired many employees who were working on it. Hence Take-Two's rather perturbed response. Their court order demands that Apogee be:
(i) enjoined from altering, damaging or destroying the existing source and object code for the videogame known as "Duke Nukem Forever" and be required to maintain and enforce all security measures necessary to preserve the integrity of the code;
(i) enjoined from disclosing, distributing, transferring, or selling to any party other than Take-Two any proprietary information related to DNF... and be required to maintain and enforce all security measures necessary to preserve the confidentiality of such proprietary information, and;
(iii) required to immediately deliver Take-Two a copy of the existing source and object code for DNF...
Some of this may be a bit late. There have already been leaks from the game, with concept art, screenshots, movies and design documents appearing in various places. It looks like it's going to only get uglier. So let's end on a brighter note, with how Bloomberg described the game for its readers:
"a game in which the player 'shoots' enemies."
Big thanks to Michael Cook for the tip, and to Shacknews for doing all the work.