Gearbox claims 3D Realms is in breach of contract.
Duke Nukem

Gearbox is headed back to the courtroom, though they may have never actually left. This time, they're the ones doing the suing. The development studio is suing Apogee Software, the parent company of 3D Realms, over a breach of contract in its acquisition of the Duke Nukem franchise and IP.

DigitalTrends spotted the complaint, which was filed just this past week. The complain says that 3D Realms reportedly violated a portion of its 2010 acquisition agreement with Gearbox. Apparently, the rights to the Duke Nukem IP were to be transferred to Gearbox "free and clear." This essentially meant that 3D Realms was transferring literally everything related to the Duke Nukem IP to Gearbox.

The problem is that in September 2019, composer Bobby Prince had sued Gearbox. Prince claims he was owed unpaid royalties from the sale of 2016's Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour. He says that his work was licensed only for the original Duke Nukem 3D and, as such, could not be used in new properties without proper licensing.

Apogee was added as a third-party to the legal battle between Prince and Gearbox. Also added to the legal dispute are Scott Miller and George Broussard. Gearbox says that they alerted 3D Realms of this little legal issue in November 2019 but the company has not yet compensated Gearbox.

As points out, this is not the first legal rodeo between the two studios. In 2013, 3D Realms had filed a lawsuit against Gearbox. That lawsuit says that Gearbox had been withholding profits from the sale of Duke Nukem Forever. In 2015, there was a settlement between Gearbox, 3D Realms, and Interceptor. This was when 3D Realms licensed Duke Nukem Mass Destruction to Interceptor after the IP had already been sold to Gearbox.

Gearbox's Randy Pitchford had some thoughts he wanted to share about this ongoing legal battle.

Pitchford says that all came about just as Gearbox was in the process of finalizing a deal with a publisher for a new, big-budget Duke Nukem game of its own.

“We had a great concept and a great design and a publisher with a huge budget,” he says. “We were at that state where you’re moving back and forth. At that moment, a story pops up about a Dutch company doing a new Duke Nukem game. Scott had sold them a license to do the game. He sold these guys the Brooklyn bridge.”(...)

“Bobby (Robert Prince) has showed us his contract with 3D Realms, and we know that if that contract is real, 3D Realms never showed it to us,” says Pitchford. “If that’s the case, it’s not unreasonable that there are other deals 3DR didn’t pass along to us.”

Gearbox, beyond protecting itself from Prince’s claim, wants to know about those. That’s part of the incentive for asking for interest payments (though they’re also likely a negotiating tool for a possible settlement).

“If 3D Realms is wrong here, they’re kind of shitheads,” says Pitchford. “Part of what the court is supposed to do is disincentivize shitheads.”
I hope you can appreciate the irony of that last line as much as I do.