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The Almighty Buck The Courts Games

Apogee Suing Gearbox Over Unpaid Royalties For Duke Nukem Forever 88

jones_supa writes "Apogee Software/3D Realms alleges that Gearbox has refused to pay more than $2 million owed to 3D Realms from royalties and advances Gearbox received from publishers for Duke Nukem Forever. In a lawsuit filed June 7 in Texas district court, 3D Realms insists that its agreement with Gearbox permits it to conduct an audit of Gearbox's royalty statements, which the studio has not allowed. 'Gearbox is simply stonewalling here in an improper attempt to conceal information from 3D Realms that it is absolutely entitled to receive,' the suit alleges. The company also alleges that Gearbox has refused to pay the agreed-upon portion of revenue Gearbox received after Duke Nukem Forever was released. 3D Realms has asked for a jury trial. This suit is apparently the end result of a friendly deal gone wrong."
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Apogee Suing Gearbox Over Unpaid Royalties For Duke Nukem Forever

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  • by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @04:17PM (#44010807)
    I thought you had to sell copies of a game for that to happen.
    • I bought a copy.
      $5.00 On ebay. I got ripped off.
      Can I sue someone?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      DNF sold really well despite being garbage. Actually, it was fun enough, but not worth anything more than $15.

    • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

      I suspect they actually sold a decent number of copies, if nothing else but for people to see what the game turned into. If we're talking about a 2 million dollar lawsuit we're talking in the hundreds of thousands but likely not millions of copies of the game. That would generally be a decent if not great title.

      • [...] if nothing else but for people to see what the game turned into.

        This is the only reason I tried it. Well, that and it was an option to play as a demo on OnLive and (after some of the controversy) I wanted to see for myself whether one could play an FPS on OnLive. Turns out you can and the graphics quality can be beautiful--but only if you're playing casually enough to be apathetic if it lags or fails. After a few moments of the puerile body humor that is the basis for the game (points for using the u

      • They may have sold a lot, that's not the same as selling them at a profit.

        My DVD copy was GBP0.99 (about US$1.50) delivered and was returned shop stock. They couldn't reduce it enough to sell in store, couldn't shift them at £5 soon after launch, £2.50 not long after that.

        It's fair to say this was a disaster on total units sold compared to publisher expectations and an even bigger disaster on revenue. With an unknown amount of copies heading for landfill or sold at little profit or even a loss,

        • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

          It's fair to say this was a disaster on total units sold compared to publisher expectations and an even bigger disaster on revenue.

          It was definitely neither of those.

          For the amount of time and money Gearbox sunk into it they probably were profitable in the hundred thousand units, and given how little time they had it I'm sure publishers were thrilled that they managed to ship a product at all after so many years of a useless money pit.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        According to this site [] it sold a combined 1.7M copies between PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Mind-boggling, I would have guessed a LOT less...

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      I thought you had to sell copies of a game for that to happen.

      well.. you don't, if you get advances and the contract says you have to pay royalties from those too(which sort of makes sense, since they wouldn't have gotten the advance payments if the title didn't have duke in it's name). all this might mean that the studio would end up in the red for the dnf.. maybe that's why they aren't opening the books.

      borderlands is probably the only half decent thing they released though... so good riddance. not that 3d realms deserves any money really at this point either.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        all this might mean that the studio would end up in the red for the dnf.. maybe that's why they aren't opening the books.

        You would think the studio would have anticipated that possibility, and made sure the agreement signed protected itself from the possibility that there would be allowed to be royalties equalling or exceeding the profit.

    • To this day I don't get why DNF gets so much hate. The dialog and plot were exactly as over-the-top cheesy and absurd as one should have expected of a Duke Nukem game. The only thing I can seem to pin it on is the difference in reaction between Chewbacca and Jar Jar Binks. Both characters are painfully obnoxious but that isn't as much of a turn-off when you are younger. Perhaps Duke suffered more from changing perceptions i.e. the crowd that was expecting to still enjoy his antics grew up. /shrug I gues
      • You're probably right that a lot of the problem with DNF is that its presumptive audience grew up. That and gaming has changed so much that many of the things that fresh and interesting in DN3D are now blasé. But your comparison of Chewbacca and Jar Jar has me mystified. Ewoks and Gungans, now that would be fair. But to say Chewbacca and Jar Jar are in any way comparable? Anathema sit!
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        try drawing the levels from duke3d to paper and then drawing the tunnel of dnf level to paper... yep there's a lot of difference there. and you know what? in duke3d you barely see duke at all anyhow - there's barely any "antics" in the game, so they are not what made duke3d great.

        also, throwing poo(dnf) instead of exploding holes into bathroom walls(d3d).

    • Yes, X% of $0 is $0

    • Got to give 'em credit, their balls are big and plentiful to pull this shit after blowing that many years jerking off. I don't see how they won't get laughed out of any court, hell they were offering DNF for like $5 less than 3 weeks after it came out, and that was for a new PC box, even Kane & Lynch Dog Days was selling for $19.99 until the third month.

      I mean if you just figure up how much they paid for the box sets and special editions if they made fricking bus fare its a miracle, last I checked the

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • I was honestly surprised reading this headline. Had to go look the game up, I thought it was still never released.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to two years ago.

    • by UltraZelda64 ( 2309504 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @04:28PM (#44010891)

      Don't bother playing it, it's crap. It is nothing like what we were led to believe over the decade... it morphed into a piece of shit with Halo-knockoff controls and health-regeneration system. Sad too... many of the older trailers, from closer to 2000, were fucking awesome.

      • Croteam's Serious Sam on the other hand is still doing surprisingly well. SS4 is in the works, comes with a Linux version.
      • I may be the only person who actually liked DNF. I thought it was fun to play, and the Duke-isms cracked me up. "Who wants white meat, huh? Who wants some!" It wasn't game of the year or anything, but I got it for $5 from Game Stop and got every cent out of playing it.
        • The gameplay was pieced together from whatever scraps were laying around, glued together kinda.

          The multiplayer was so laggy, it sucked on lan, lol.

          Using a dedicated server, decent gameplay was possible, but barely.

          It really sux compared to Crysis3 @ 5700x1200, lol.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        I don't understand the hate for this game. I thought it was great. Other than the regenerating health, it was a retro corridor shooter with plenty of pointless political incorrectness, weapons that would have been a cool follow-on to Quake 2, and monster truck driving. What else did anyone expect?

        • Its a game that if it came out in 2001, I think it could have been up there as game of the year. I mean look at this trailer.


          If the game came out in 2005, it would have struggled to keep up with other FPS games but it could have contended.

          But coming out in 2011 was six years too late. The final product felt like it came from 2005 and no later. I bought Duke Nukem Forever for a $10 in 2012, if I had paid $60 at launch for it, I would have been pissed because
          • by Goaway ( 82658 )

            Hahah, the sheer number of things ripped off from Half-Life in that trailer...

          • In that trailer, the facial animations in the in-game cutscenes are surprisingly good for the time.
          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            I see it the other way. In 2005 it would have been 'meh'. But by the time it actually came out it was retro - it was the only shooter I enjoyed that year. But I like corridor shooters better than Metal of Duty Solid, or whatever, and enjoyed the juvenile sense of humor throughout. Come to think of it, I should go play the DLC.

        • What else did anyone expect?

          I expected (and waited over a full decade) for a true, worthy successor to Duke Nukem 3D.
          Duke Nukem Forever, unfortunately, wasn't it.

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Fair point. Never really played 3D--except I guess the boss fight that was the opening of DNF--so I wasn't comparing the movie to the book.

      • DNF was fun to play through once, but has absolutely no re-playability imo.Go get Saints Row 4 !
        • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @05:51PM (#44011669)

          Life is pretty darn short to worry about replayability. If you wait to buy games until they've gotten cheap, and they're fun the first time through, does it really matter if you want to play it fifty more times?

          • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

            Life is pretty darn short to worry about replayability. If you wait to buy games until they've gotten cheap, and they're fun the first time through, does it really matter if you want to play it fifty more times?

            well.. does it matter that a movie is shit? if you watched it you already got to spend 2 hours on it. watching shit.

            if the game is shit then it is shit. dnf is shit.

      • Don't bother playing it, it's crap.

        Although, if you do play it you should know that taking a crap can get probably result in a boost for your "ego bar".

      • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @06:37PM (#44011991) Journal

        The funny thing is... it even makes a Halo joke at an early point in the plot.

        As in... Duke Nukem Forever (one of the worst fpses of recent years and a commercial and reputational disaster) takes the piss out of Halo (which, like it or not, is incredibly successful).

        Thing is... it's made even worse by the extent to which DNF rips off all the *WORST* parts of Halo. All of those tropes and cliches that Halo introduced that gaming in general could really do without:

        - 2-weapon limits (say goodbye to tactical flexibility and hello to "the game's just given me a rocket launcher, guess I have to fight a tank next");

        - regenerating health (goodbye tension); and

        - hateful protagonist - the old Duke was kind of funny in a horrible way, the new one is just a trash-talking dudebro (much like the Master Chief).

        At the same time, it omits the decent stuff from Halo - like the responsive controls (on a console) and the fairly open level design.

        See, if they'd wanted to spoof Halo, they should have had the first level put only 2 weapons available. Then you get out of it... and a third weapon is ahead of you. A prompt pops up inviting you to swap one of your existing weapons for the new one. Except when you do so, Duke makes his Halo joke - and picks up a third weapon without dropping one of the ones he already had.

        That would have been a proper dig at the hateful conventions introduce by Halo. As it is, it just felt pathetic.

        • Well said... I pretty much agree. I couldn't pinpoint exactly *what* it was about the new Duke, but he was lacking something. He seemed like less of a badass, trying to be funny so hard that he wasn't. The Halo-style two-weapon limit and automatic health regeneration were also two of the worst things about the game, gameplay-wise. Overall... everything just seemed stale. I couldn't even appreciate the game if it came out in, say, 2006 or so--DNF almost completely lacks what made Duke3D awesome. A game

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      I guess we're back to waiting for Daikatana II?

      • SC: Ghost
        • Considering they've confirmed that there's no active development on it at all, considering it vaporware seems inappropriate. Even though they haven't technically cancelled it, it's effectively cancelled, since at this point, they'd need to just about start over anyway if they resumed development on it.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      For the current going price it is worth picking up.
      For more than $10, you should skip it.

      It is cheesy and cheap and honestly not much better/worse than most Duke ever was. People expected much more than they should have. Of course lots of those folks are not even old enough to have played the originals.

    • It's the greatest mediocre game of all time.

      It's not a bad or broken game in any way, just feels dated. Worth checking out for a few bucks.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      I was honestly surprised reading this headline. Had to go look the game up, I thought it was still never released.

      Don't worry. You can go back to sleeep... DNF was never released.

      The piece of shit that got released with the title "Duke Nukem Forever"; was not what Duke Nukem Forever was supposed to be.

      In other words, they just slapped the title on a piece of bird poop, so more of it would hopefully sell.

  • Is there a Gearbox game that is NOT controversial?

    And don't say Borderlands. *coughccough*codehunters*cough*
    • [After Colonial Marines] Is there a Gearbox game that is NOT controversial?

      I'm going to say no, but only because I don't think Gearbox have released any in-house games since Colonial Marines.

    • You do realize that Aliens: Colonial Marines is their latest release, right? So, since they haven't even put out a game, we can say that they haven't released a single uncontroversial game after A:CM, as should be trivially obvious.

      But, giving you the benefit of the doubt, let's assume you were asking whether or not they've released an uncontroversial title since the controversy for A:CM began. Since the A:CM controversy first broken in early 2013, that doesn't help you any, but, again, giving you the benef

  • Don't worry... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @04:29PM (#44010905) Homepage Journal

    They'll pay you in the same amount of time it took you to release DNF.

  • Wow people are even dumber than I thought.

  • After hearing news stories about DNF for years and years, thinking it was dead, having it revitalized and release, and then seeing how much crap it actually was...I for one don't want to read another story about it. Seriously, get over it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Duke Nukem was famous for many different weapon types, common to FPS games.

      Then I read "DNF lets you only carry two weapon types at once." Why? Console design.

      And I knew it had changed into something else. Other changes others have discusses, all related.

      • by antek9 ( 305362 )
        This is not console design, it is lazy design. They just couldn't bother to add a backpack mechanism like in Borderlands, which is a console game all the same and it lets the player hot swap four weapons at a time. Every (major) console controller has more than enough buttons to allow for a well designed interface.

        Previous comments tell me that Bungie introduced this with the Halo series (I never played Halo, so I wouldn't know), Insomniac's Resistance does this as well, so I guess somebody who makes these
  • Anyone else not seeing the comments in the A350XWB story?

  • by Torodung ( 31985 )

    The Duke Nukem Forever story just keeps. Getting. Better.


  • Theirs. For releasing such a horrible thing.

  • Oh, you want a cut of the profits??

    *rummages in pockets, produces crumpled gum wrapper*

  • In my experience, when a "Can't Miss" deal like this goes bad, the probability that one side will do something sleazy is directly proportional to how friendly the parties were at the outset.

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @05:44PM (#44011599) Homepage Journal
    Spend 15 years on development of a game that was so over-hyped and rediculously re-designed everytime a new game technology came out, then pushed on the back burner only to be re-animated every so often, promises made and broken over and over? Seriously, who could possibly imagine that someone would sue some one?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gearbox ripped off Sega big time by taking the contract to develop 'Aliens:Colonial Marines' (A FPS action game) and then using the money to create their own, mega-successful 'Borderlands' games, while farming out the A:CM contract to a developer with a long history of terrible work. Sega has been too embarrassed to sue (and would have to explain why its management of Gearbox permitted this arrangement), but the crooks at Apogee smell blood in the water, and think Gearbox will simply pay Apogee to go away.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      In court, Gearbox will have an easy victory (there have been a number of cases like this recently, and all have been lost by the incompetent idiots attempting to extort cash).

      You must know a lot more about the contract than I do. If the terms dictate that royalties have to be paid, and that Apogee have the right to audit to determine appropriate royalty payments, then they're probably going to win.

      It's extortion, it's contractual obligations.

      The game being shite is irrelevant, it's the contract terms and numbers sold that matter.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    this summer coming to a theater near you:

    Duke Nukem Forever
    It was never meant to live, now it just won't die.

  • Includes listing the stakeholders in a project very realistically. If you estimate that for a key stakeholder pulling the plug on a positive continuation of some project is cheaper than the continuation, it is risk which can not be ignored.

    I work in a consulting company and even the most rudimentary one day course in PM would give you enough skill to deny accepting DNF as a project to manage or even contribute. An incredibly high number of risks with a 100% change of hitting. If sth is 12y late then you can

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN