3D Realms: We're Not Closing, Spent $20 Million On Duke Nukem Forever

Illustration for article titled 3D Realms: We're Not Closing, Spent $20 Million On Duke Nukem Forever

The creators of Duke Nukem Forever fired back today at publisher Take-Two, detailing the costs of developing the never seen game and saying they haven't closed the studios.


3D Realms, the studio behind the legendarily delayed Duke Nukem Forever claimed in a statement today that Take-Two, the publisher now suing the studio, provided $2.5 million in funding, a fraction of the$12 million described in the publisher's lawsuit. Most of that money went to other companies long since uninvolved with the game.

The studio did confirm that the DNF team has been let go, but expressed a desire to "co-create" games based on the character in the future.

In their statement, 3D Realms accuses Take-Two of failing to offer the team a reasonable deal to continue developing the game and instead trying to attain the Duke Nukem Forever game from 3D Realms earlier this month in what amounted to a "fire sale."

Kotaku has requested comment on these allegations from Take-Two. [UPDATE: Take-Two declined to comment on 3D Realms' statement.]

3D Realms chief George Broussard e-mailed the full statement to Kotaku earlier today:

3D Realms Release – Pertaining to Recent Events Surrounding Duke Nukem Forever

Dallas, TX (May 18, 2009) – In light of recent press articles and statements by Take-Two (to the media and in a lawsuit), we want to set the record straight on some issues.

Despite rumors and statements to the contrary, 3D Realms (3DR) 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 (DNF) 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.

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.

Take-Two retains publishing rights for the DNF game, although 3DR retains certain rights to sell the game directly to the public. Late last year, 3DR began negotiations with Take-Two to provide funding to complete the DNF game. In the meantime, 3DR was hitting mutually-agreed milestones, despite not having a new agreement finalized. Take-Two was well aware that 3DR needed the funding to continue the DNF game development. Suddenly, after months of negotiations, Take-Two materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement. 3DR informed Take-Two that it could not financially afford the changes Take-Two was suggesting and would be forced to release the team if an agreement was not reached. Take-Two 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. 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.

Less than a week after the DNF team was released, Take-Two filed its lawsuit in New York, seeking immediate temporary injunctive relief. The court denied Take-Two's request for a temporary restraining order. While we cannot comment on the details of the ongoing lawsuit, we believe Take-Two's lawsuit is without merit and merely a bully tactic to obtain ownership of the Duke Nukem franchise. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this publisher.


Davy M Jones

Generally what I see here is a continuous, perpetuated agreement among pompous, self-serving hypocrites that 3D Realms is somehow less than worthy to lick the boots of Take-Two, and a one-sided understanding of what is written in this release.

A few people are assuming that Take-Two would be correct in an assumption that the work done to Duke Nukem wouldn't be worth the money 3D Realms is asking for. Some agree, saying what has been released so far is absolute garbage. Well, you're lying, and if you'd cram your ego for a few moments, you'd realize you were lying, as well.

Why did 3DR take so long? They started YEARS ago, but never received any payment until July of 2008. No signing agreements, no advances, nothing. Would you do something of this caliber for no guarantee of success? The only reason they got THIS far was probably because they love the Duke Nukem franchise so damn much, and what they get, a DECADE after beginning development, is $2.5mil?

Now, 3DR may not be expecting to get back the $20mil they put into this from Take-Two, because they'd make an ass-load off of the sales of the thing, with how amazing it looked, and then more still after re-releasing the old Duke classics. They just want all their work to be worth it, and with the DNF team just dropped like that, with nothing to show for it other than an excellent looking build so far, but almost no money from Take-Two, what the hell kind of incentive is there to give this over to the publisher who just fucked them over?

Don't say 3DR are shitty developers unless you understand their motives, actions, and processes. No one would touch a game with a name as fucking lame and Troma-Video-Worthy as "Duke Nukem" unless they had a serious love for what they were doing.

Personally, I'm with 3DR on this one. Take your Take-Two and shove it in both ends.