3D Realms head honcho George Broussard finally released an "official" statement in retaliation to Take-Two Interactive's recent lawsuit, claiming that the development studio has not closed, and doesn't plan to close any time soon.
This was the first real statement made by the studio since word of its closing surfaced weeks ago. Many have speculated as to what happened to its alleged demise, ranging from a re-surfaced fictional story surrounding a 12-year conspiracy to rumors that the company ran out of money developing the infamous "vaporware" PC game, Duke Nukem Forever.
If anything, Broussard's recent press release only feeds the Duke Nukem Forever controversy that has spanned over the last twelve years. It also doesn't seem like a coincidence that Broussard is stating that 3D Realms is not closing after facing the legal wrath of Take-Two Interactive, after the "supposed" closing and the subsequent release of never-before-seen screenshots, renders, and concept art. But as it stands now, Take-Two is going after 3D Realms (or rather Apogee Software Ltd.) for a breach of contract because the developer "continually delayed" DNF. While the suit details were not disclosed, it's highly likely that the publisher is filing for the more than $12 million dollars invested into the game, plus damages.
"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," reads the complaint.
The 3D Realms press release, posted over on Kotaku, naturally tells a different tale, claiming that the publisher only provided $2.5 million of the supposed $12 million. However, because of a lack of funding, 3D Realms was forced to let the Duke Nukem Forever development team go back on May 6th, confirming the original reports from many of the staff members posting assets online. Broussard said that 3D Realms as a company has not closed, but is now smaller, and still retains the rights to Duke Nukem. After a brief regrouping, the company plans to continue to license and co-create games based o the franchise. Unfortunately, the development of Duke Nukem Forever is on hold, possibly for a brief time, possibly forever.
So what's the story behind the lawsuit? Broussard explains his version in a press release: "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."
Broussard goes on to explain that Take-Two owns the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever, while 3D Realms still retains "certain rights" to sell the game directly to the public. Broussard claims that both parties began negotiations to fund the completion of DNF, and the team reached mutually agreed milestones that Broussard actually made public in his blog on many occasions. However, because there was no set contract, Take-Two suddenly changed the parameters of the funding agreement, and 3D Realms could not continue financially under the new conditions. Take-Two then 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," he added. "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."
Broussard noted that Take-Two swooped in immediately after the release of the DNF team, filing a lawsuit in New York to receive an "immediate temporary injunction relief." The request for the temporary restraining order was denied, however Broussard could not add any additional comments on the legal matter, only stating that 3D Realms would not be bullied, and would "vigorously" defend itself against the publisher. As always, stay tuned for the next chapter--more than likely from Take-Two in a rebuttal to Broussard's claims, within the next few days.