We haven’t seen Duke Nukem make the center stage for a brand new video game installment in a very long time. In fact, the IP is still likely recovering from the far from the beloved release of Duke Nukem Forever. The game came out in 2011 and if you don’t recall, the installment released with dated visuals and below expectations in terms of its gameplay mechanics. Still, there are some fans hope that we’ll see a new installment and while this is not a new game, Duke Nukem made a return but through a legal lawsuit.
I’m no lawyer so I can’t get into the fine details but Gearbox was receiving some heat when they launched the Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour. It was a remaster that also included the soundtrack featuring original songs used for the game. Those songs were from an artist by the name of Robert Prince. Robert Prince had a copyright on those songs from 3D Realms, the original developer. Since then 3D Realms sold Duke Nukem to Gearbox but it’s not all cut and dry here on who owes Robert Prince money if any at all.
Apparently, when Gearbox purchased the IP from 3D Realms and their parent company Apogee Software, they had a contract that would prevent them from any holdups with the franchise. Essentially, nothing that would come up to stop the IP from being either used to further develop games or remastered editions. This contract didn’t include Robert Prince’s music and as a result, Gearbox is now suing Apogee Software in what they claim is a breach of contract. So now two legal matters are surrounding Duke Nukem and we’re not sure who is in the right here.
Could Apogee Software be responsible for not indicating the copyright music was still owned by Robert Prince or did the purchase of the IP void any of the ownership rights? Clearly, a judge is required to sort through this mess. However, it does present the question on if we’ll see more Duke Nukem after this fiasco is over with. Otherwise, will we see more claims come up when Gearbox attempts to further work on the IP? Right now only time will tell so we’ll have to continue waiting for a ruling to be made on the matter.