Interceptor Entertainment are currently embroiled in a legal tussle with Gearbox, following claims that a rumoured upcoming Duke Nukem RPG violates intellectual property rights. It's a nasty little dispute that could well see Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction evaporate into vapourware before it has even been officially announced.
However, it now emerges that Interceptor's parent company has purchased original series creator 3D Realms (AKA Apogee Software), leaving them perfectly placed to develop some 'good faith' adaptations down the line.
Interceptor Entertainment chairman Mike Nielsen has assumed the role of 3D Realms CEO, suggesting that the company is now ready to return to form. "3D Realms is legendary for its contributions to the gaming industry, as both the pioneer of the shareware model and an always generous partner who has provided both funding and guidance to game studios such as id Software, Parallax Software, Remedy Entertainment, and many others," he said in an appropriately gushing press release.
"3D Realms has also developed, co-developed, and co-financed such hits as Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad, Raptor, Shadow Warrior and Prey. There are only a handful of independent studios with a better track record of original games. Yet even with this stellar track record, we hope we can take the company to new heights."
Naturally Interceptor are chuffed by the acquisition, with Frederik Schreiber describing the move as a "huge step" that could well see them gain access to more legacy IPs. Longtime 3D Realms co-chiefs Scott Miller (who originally created Duke Nukem) and George Broussard are apparently still in favour of the buyout, though whether Broussard will retain a position in the new regime remains to be seen.
"My long time partner George Broussard and I are extremely proud of our past, especially as developers who always tried to partner with up-and-coming studios who just needed their break," Miller wrote. "Our history shows we did that throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and I expect the new 3D Realms to continue with this tradition in full force. Our industry needs more good guys, who honor the profession and fellow hard-working developers."
Where does this leave Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction? Gearbox are still likely to vigorously defend their rights to the IP, which they gained after securing Duke Nukem Forever, but Interceptor have consolidated their position nicely. You know, seeing as they have both the original series creator and the company under their wing. Depending on the outcome or settlement of the Gearbox suit, they could well develop Mass Destruction as a 'good faith' adaptation, or change enough details to make the project legally distinct.
We'll keep you posted.
Credit, thanks and a tip of the cap to reader Lawfull, who actually posted this in our comments section yesterday!