Take-Two accuses 3D Realms of hiding money offshore
- — 18 June, 2009 08:43
While most feel the possibility of slipping into the alien blasting role of Duke Nukem for next generation consoles is a dead idea, gamers can find plenty of action in the court room, as recently released documents reveal that Take-Two Interactive is accusing 3D Realms of not only negating their contractual obligations, but also withholding "substantial" amounts of money in an offshore account.
The documents originally filed in mid-May, show that Take-Two had asked Apogee Software (otherwise known as 3D Realms) if the studio could "co-develop" an Xbox 360 version of Duke Nukem Forever. Apparently, Apogee stated that they would agree on the condition that Take-Two "fully fund Apogee's reaching certain milestone." Take-Two was naturally hesitant, as over a decade of delays had still lead to no completed game.
Take-Two offered to fund half of the "concurrent development costs" on PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game however, "up through" 3D Realms hitting the "Alpha Milestone" of the PC version, with the remaining half to be paid upon completion of the game. Apogee rejected the proposal, even though they were contractually obligated to complete and deliver Duke Nukem Forever to the PC.
However, on 3D Realms side of the story, Take-Two, after months of negotiations, "materially changed the parameters of the proposed funding agreement" into something 3D Realms could not "financially afford," with 3D Realms then rejecting the "unacceptable" proposal Take-Two made for the franchise and development team.
Outside of the game not being completed, Take-Two's biggest gripe now it seems, comes from what they claim as Apogee's refusal to hand over the source code and other materials relevant to the game, which has halted development they planned to do independently.
On top of that, with recent renders, photos and footage of the unfinished title being released online, Take-Two is fearful that some critical information of the game may be released by former DNF development workers who "in an effort to obtain recognition for years of prior work on the DNF project" may "improperly sell the information to a third party and/or to retaliate against Apogee" which could potentially harm Take-Two's exclusive rights to "publish, exploit and control the DNF brand."
The most shocking claim however, seems to accuse 3D Realms of pocketing money given to them on the promise of a completed game:
"Notwithstanding Apogee's consistent assurances that it would soon complete development of DNF, on May 6, 2009, Apogee closed its studios, terminated development of DNF and laid off all employees who had been involved in the DNF project. Upon information and belief, Apogee has title to a substantial amount of funds deposited in an off-shore account, which Take-Two believes Apogee can use to fund its outstanding obligations."
On ShackNews, 3D Realms/Apogge Ltd. founder Scott Miller has responded to these allegations however, stating that:
"Do readers here realize that filed lawsuits are entirely one-sided statements, based on knee-deep BS and with more spin that a top?
3DR has been in nearly a dozen lawsuits (including against Warner and Fox). We're always innocent, and we always win. This one is no exception. Give it a year, then the truth will come out."
As it is, Take-Two believes they are entitled to the incomplete source code of the game, which would help, "in the development of the Console Versions of DNF"--along with "damages equal to...lost profits caused by Apogee's failure to timely develop and deliver" DNF PC and "an award of damages equal to the DNF Advances with accrued interest."
So to that end, if Take-Two succeeds in their lawsuit perhaps the Duke won't remain dead "forever", but it'll probably be a long time before we see him in action on some next generation consoles and PC's.
Check out the original article and link to the full page court document here at ShackNews.