It all started in 2014 when Gearbox Software decided to sue 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction; a property owned by the Gearbox in 2010.
Though the case was settled a year later and Gearbox established the full ownership but last year Bobby Prince filed a lawsuit against the Gearbox, Randy Pitchford, and Valve over the music which he composed for Duke Nukem 3D. He claimed that his music was used without his permission in the game Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour published by the Gearbox.
In turn, Gearbox took to the court and filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms with allegations of breach of the contract pertaining to the sale of a game; Duke Nukem ID, a decade ago. To put it in simple words, Gearbox argues that 3D Realms at the time of the contract failed to mention that they didn’t own the music when it sold the Duke Nukem rights. Whereas, they mentioned that they had all the rights and owned free and clear the Duke IP. Furthermore, 3D Realms also told in the contract that Gearbox won’t need to pay any third party for anything related to Duke IP. Never a dull moment in the gaming industry.
On the other hand, Bobby Prince is of the view that he only licensed some of the music of Duke Nukem not all of it to 3D Realms. If that is the case then 3D Realms has failed to deliver free and clear ownership to Gearbox; a breach of the contract. Moreover, 3D Realms has declined to compensate Prince’s claims.
Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox, is positive about the case and regards it as a legitimate claim but it is up to the court to decide. The objective behind involving court is primarily to protect the interests of the company from any costs arising from Prince’s lawsuit. Another point to note is that “if it turns out that 3D Realms didn’t own the music property at the time of the contract, it will also incur actual damages equal to the difference in the value of what 3D Realms agreed to transfer to Gearbox and what Gearbox actually deserved.”