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A lot has changed in video games across my six years as a professional words person, but Duke Nukem has always been a shambles. In uncertain times, I knew I could always glance his way and groan “Oh no what’s happened now?” I feel a little lost now the legal troubles between old owner 3D Realms and the new Dukelords at Gearbox Software have wrapped up.
Gearbox, 3D Realms, and 3DR owner Interceptor Entertainment have issued a joint statement declaring they’ve voluntarily ended all the litigation, and that Gearbox are “the full and rightful owner[s] of the Duke Nukem franchise.”
Remember that legal battle between Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor (who recently ate 3D Realms) and Borderlands border/game license patrol Gearbox over who’s allowed to make Duke Nukem games? Yeah, well it’s still happening, and apparently it’s not going as smoothly as Interceptor anticipated when I interviewed them. From Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction‘s maybe-ashes has arisen Bombshell, Interceptor’s own top-down blast-’em-up starring a hard-fighting, harder-drinking main character. This one, however, is an impractically dressed lady with a robot arm… who just so happens to have recently robbed Duke Nukem’s supply chest/motorcycle garage/lion throne room. Trailer and first details below.
Oh gaming industry, even during the early year release doldrums, you never pull punches on good old fashioned drama. In the red corner, we have Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor, whose burgeoning brand roster now includes the smoldering remains of original Duke Nukem creator 3D Realms, and in the blue corner we have Borderlands developer and current Duke owner Gearbox. Gearbox, of course, is suing Interceptor because of Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a gum-assing, kick-chewing ARPG it doesn’t believe Interceptor has the rights to develop. But, in the wake of its 3D Realms purchase, Interceptor has told RPS that it thinks it’s completely in the right.
I didn’t see this coming. Interceptor, the Danish company that recently announced a Duke Nukem ARPG and released the Rise of the Triad remake last year, have bought Apogee Software Ltd (aka the legal name of 3D Realms). This surprises me because I didn’t think I’d be writing any stories about 3D Realms in 2014, except perhaps when they licensed Shadow Warrior out for a sequel to the splendid remake. But the senescent studio has already been making headlines in this, the 27th year of its existence. They’re not exactly the kind of headlines that would ordinarily lead to a buy-out though.
If the NeoGAF community’s swift data extraction is to be believed, Interceptor, the team that rebooted Rise of the Triad, are due to announce a new Duke Nukem game. They have history with the man who stole a thousand catchphrases, having initially attracted Apogee’s attention while working on a remake of Duke Nukem 3D. Mass Destruction does not sound a continuation of that remake. Instead, if the briefly operative website is to be believed, it’s “a top-down action role-playing game…including experience points and tech trees”. Earlier comments by Interceptor’s CEO Frederik Schreiber suggest a possible return to the square-jawed intergalactic heroics of the original side-scrolling Duke, in place of the failure of a parody of a satire of a spoof that haunted Forever. The website is currently undergoing maintenance but reportedly contained a 24 hour countdown timer. You can follow NeoGAF’s detective work here, or cast your eyes down the page for quoted details.