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Gearbox and 3D Realms settle Duke Nukem lawsuit

Gearbox retains rights to the franchise.

The battle for Duke Nukem is over, with Gearbox retaining the rights to the franchise.

Gearbox, maker of Borderlands, had been embroiled in a lawsuit with 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over the Duke Nukem intellectual property.

Previously, 3D Realms sold Duke Nukem to Gearbox, who finished development on Duke Nukem Forever and released the game.

3D Realms was then purchased by Danish developer Interceptor, who teased a game called Duke Nukem Mass Destruction. Gearbox sued 3D Realms, who later revealed isometric action game Bombshell, which many believe was an altered version of Duke Nukem Mass Destruction without its titular character.

Duke Nukem Mass Destruction, the game that sparked Gearbox's lawsuit.

Now, in a joint statement issued by Gearbox, 3D Realms and Interceptor, the companies said they had "resolved their differences", and all litigation between them had ended.

Current 3D Realms boss Mike Nielsen said Interceptor has acquired a license to develop Duke Nukem Mass Destruction from 3D Realms in good faith.

"We never intended to cause any harm to Gearbox or Duke, which is why we immediately ceased development after Gearbox reached out," he said.

"To secure the future of Duke, 3D Realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves the IP best. And as big Duke fans, we're excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the 'King.' As for our own games, we're eager to complete development of the 'Bombshell' game and get it in the hands of our fans."

Gearbox said it would keep the terms of its settlement confidential, but stressed it is "the full and rightful owner" of the Duke Nukem franchise.

So what's next for the troublesome Duke? At the Develop conference in July, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford said he wants to work on a new Duke Nukem game, aided by an outside developer.

Pitchford explained Gearbox had worked on concepts for a follow-up to Duke Nukem Forever, but getting the game made would likely require Gearbox to rope in extra development support from another studio.

"I did not acquire the franchise merely so people could experience Duke Nukem Forever," he explained when asked if another Duke Nukem title would be made. "That was, sort of, the toll to pay to give Duke Nukem a chance at a future.

"So yes. In fact, we've done some concept development. The challenge is that Gearbox is very busy. A faster way would be if the correct developer would become interested and we'd work with them."

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