Ever since the forum announcement highlighting the impending closure of 3D Realms, creators of Duke Nukem and Max Payne, mystery and controversy has surrounded the studio.
Shortly thereafter, many speculated that the closure was nothing more than a marketing stunt to re-center interest squarely upon Duke Nukem Forever (DNF). Subsequently, this speculation was abandoned when Take-Two Interactive, the publisher that owns the rights to DNF, filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms for failure to comply with contractual obligations during the game’s development.
According to an illuminating article by IGN’s Ryan Geddes, the lawsuit accused “3DR of breaching their publishing agreement for the title and said Take-Two spent $12 million on publishing rights for a game that never came together.”
Of course, 3D Realms declared they had never received any such funds for game development, as that money was given to publisher Infogrames, not 3D Realms. To make a long story short, 3D Realms vehemently denies Take-Two’s claims. While they admit the publishing juggernaut does own the rights to publish Duke Nukem Forever, they won’t submit to a “bully tactic” in an attempt to “gain control of the Duke Nukem franchise in a ‘fire sale’.”
Despite rumors, speculation, and the laying off of their entire DNF team, 3D Realms has not closed and its co-founder George Broussard was quoted in the article as making the following statement:
“Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms has not closed and is not closing. 3DR retains ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. Due to lack of funding, however, we are saddened to confirm that we let the Duke Nukem Forever development team go on May 6th, while we regroup as a company. While 3DR is a much smaller studio now, we will continue to operate as a company and continue to license and co-create games based upon the Duke Nukem franchise.”