Duke Nukem buyer could get biggest ever refund

The firm which financed the epically-delayed and recently abandoned Duke Nukem Forever is suing to get some of its cash back.

3D Realms closed earlier this month after financial difficulties, putting an end to a saga of delays to the game on which production work first began in 1997. At the time of 3D Realms’ closure, Take-Two made clear it would not be providing any further case for the game.

Now the firm is suing 3D Realms – which has not yet entered bankruptcy proceedings – with the ultimate aim of recovering its money. In the short term it is asking a court to force 3D to keep all source code and other details from the game confidential, and to take all necessary security measures to protect it against leaks or damage.

As part of the filing, Take-Two notes that “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.” That’s pretty much indisputable.

What’s not so clear is the money trail. Take-Two paid $12 million to Infogrames in 2000 for the publishing rights to the game. However, Scott Miller of 3D Realms says his firm “didn’t get a penny of that money”, and it doesn’t appear to be part of the lawsuit.

Take-Two and 3D Realms did make a direct financial deal in 2007. The details of that deal were not made public, but it’s likely to be at the heart of the current dispute.

3D Realms was originally known as Apogee Software but changed names after the 3D Realms brand name became better known. A separate firm which licensed the Apogee name last year remains in business and is not affected by either the closure or the lawsuit.

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