back to article Take-Two sues over death of Duke Nukem Forever

The abrupt meltdown of PC gaming's most infamous vapourware, Duke Nukem Forever, isn't going to pass without some legal fallout. DNF's intended publisher, Take-Two Interactive, is accusing the defunct dev house 3D Realms of contract breach for failing to deliver the long-long-awaited game. 3D Realms was supposedly designing …


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  1. Karl H

    did 3d realms say

    "come gets some"

    and that's what Take Two are doing ?

  2. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    Let the lawsuits roll

    TBH I really have a feeling that 3DRealms and/or Appogee is, to put it bluntly, going to take it like PH does. Cannot see anyway they can win short of suddenly saying it was all a big joke and heres the finished game.

    Look forward to reading more about this.

    /PH because its the closest thing to what is about to happen

  3. Andy


    I was looking forward to that game :(

  4. John Tserkezis

    Oh dear.

    Does this mean that Duke Nukem Forever isn't going to be released after all?

    Shock, horror, and more shock. I really didn't see this one coming.

  5. John Tserkezis

    What were they hoping for?

    I think Take Two Interactive needs to take some stick here.

    They waited 10+ years and 3D Realm to go bust before suing?

    That's a long time. The only thing they can hope for here is a 10+ year old idea, 10+ year old engine, and a customer base that's 10+ years older.

  6. Sean Kennedy

    It's better

    They even gave more fundage in 2007 for the title.

    Me thinks the people at Take Two need to take a long hard second look at their management practices.

  7. Iain Griffiths

    Re What were they hoping for

    >That's a long time. The only thing they can hope for here is a 10+ year old idea, 10+ year old >engine, and a customer base that's 10+ years older.

    Wasn't the problem was they'd restart every couple of years with a different engine (Quake , Unreal, whatever the latest one is). So they took too long to do the game that it became out of date before being finished . Should have just got it out on an older engine and then worked on the next one.

  8. Allan Rutland

    Wouldn't surprise me....

    If they decide to come up with a deal on the entire Duke Nukem rights, and hand them all over to Take Two to get them off there backs, maybe with some cash along with it.

    Was sad to see 3D Realms go down, but then the whole DNF saga has been nothing but pathetic. The seemingly finished version from 2002 ish looked great, ok maybe then graphically a touch behind but still looked good enough. But no, more rewrites later and nothing :(

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The story alone

    would be worth the wait.

    What happened? There were quite a few trailers, is this a case of software developers going screw the system, I will just take the cash, make some 3D trailers and you can find me on the beach.

    Did they work like dwarves in a mine, and constant inter departmental squabbling killed the project.

    Or did someone just not get the memo that a game should be created.

    Inquiring minds wish to know, this is a case study the world should know about, I am hoping for the first scenario.

  10. Gareth
    Thumb Down

    Who cares...

    As John T said, the game would have been a flop no matter what.

    In '96, Duke Nukem 3D was a spectacular, groundbreaking game. In 2009, things have moved on - the adult theme bar has been pushed back by games like GTA and today's new generation of gamers has no memory of the original.

    Shame as I was eagerly anticipating this game throughout the latter part of my teens. Now I couldn't care less.

  11. Caff

    could mean they want it to actually come out

    Court case could mean that if they win they'll find a developer who might actually finish the game?

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ John

    YEs i think your right, you would have thought they would have applied preasure to them over the years to get something out the door!

    But i think here lies the problem, the evolution of the game engine. I suspect after the release of Quake 2 and 3 they suddenly new they had issues and needed to play catch you, then Half-life 2 engine and Doom 3/qQuake4 engine were on the table and once again they found themselves trying to make a game based on old expectations, this they couldnt live with because of the time its taken so far customers expectations would be another leap ahead of even those engines. and with every engine change you would have some degree of model changes and many of the textures would need to be updated and they would have got in to the mind set of "hay this new engine can do this amazing effect so lets redo this completed section and add it as well!

    Its a victim of time its self, whilst trying to play catch up constantly it never had time to take the lead, that and they probably only had 4 developers working on it 5 hours a week!

  14. MacRat

    This game was real?

    I always thought it was just a manufactured joke on Slashdot. I didn't think it was actually in development.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge


    Seems that DNF just won't die. Could somebody finally put this zombie to rest with a well-placed bullet to the head ? Preferably elephant shot, just to be sure.

  16. jon


    That's more than enough budget to make a game like this. You have to wonder what dodgy stuff was going on in the background.

  17. Barney Carroll

    Die as they lived - farcically

    I have no great sympathy for 3D Realms. Duke Nukem, up to and including Duke Nukem 3D, were incredibly good fun. Over the last 15 years though, they have produced nothing. I'm not saying they should be bent on technical innovation like everyone else, but apart from its connection to the DN brand, DN Forever had nothing going for it. The fact that a team of over 10 people, using existing tried-and-tested technology, haven't been able to make a game that would've written itself (if you look at development shots of DN Forever it was basically DN 3D remade on the Doom 3 engine), I don't really think they deserve to be paid indefinitely for nothing. When you look at the total conversion mods people make in their spare time over the course of six months, it's a complete and utter joke.

    What is slightly depressing is that somebody could've easily just snuck into the office for a couple of weekends and made the fucking game. It would easily have been worth it.

    Take 2 - it's crass and horrible but I can't blame them. They've just been taken for a ride. Should've stopped it earlier with hindsight, but if it had come out it would've netted them bucks. Oh well.

  18. Stu Wilson

    No ones asking the right question...

    as in what is going to be this years number 1 in the vaporware awards.

    mines the one made out of Strogg hide.

  19. Adrian Esdaile

    Irony, they has it

    Take Two - I guess you could call Duke Nukem Forever (Did Not Finish?) 'Take Two'.

    Take One would have been... Battlecruiser 3000AD then?

    Great management at Take Two - close involvement with two of the internets most notorious pieces of vapour. At least Battlecruiser 300AD made Alpha (which they released as 1.00)

    Somwhere in my garage I have an orginal, store-bought BC3K. I hoping it will one day be worth big money, but I fear that may bee in 3000AD, like it says on the box.

  20. Neoc

    Oh, come *on*

    Surely *some* of you watch motorsports. Should you not have realised by now that the TLA for "Duke Nukem Forever" is the same as for "Did Not Finish"?

  21. Inachu
    Thumb Down

    An article from the 1990's

    Not sure where I remember this but a article was making fun of some software game companies for holding off on certain game titles because of leading cutting edge technologies are right around the corner that they want to use so they keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

    Why keep a game locked up for years and years and years? I bet it may have been the lead programmer who could have booby trapped the code or soem dummy programmer who refuses to keep his pc clean from trojans and viruses infected the game code?

    Either way no matter how they roll the idea out no matter what I want to hear why the game was delayed for so long. It is a diservice to the fans of this game for all these delays and i bet it had to do with ego and vanity.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Funny... DNF is, once again, splashed across the tech-rags and being chattered about across the web-o-tron-o-sphere by the geekerati

    In the end this is either the final end to the tortured half-life of a gaming classic, a calculated attempt to re-energise consumer awareness and engagement with a dormant - but viable - gaming franchise, or the latest stage of the greatest ongoing prank ever pulled on the demand-side of the gaming industry.

    In any case, its all good.

  23. Simon Painter


    Come on guys, get with the program. If take two get their way with the lawsuit they probably won't get much cash but they might stand a pretty good chance of getting their hands on the IP including the brand and any work done on the story line so far. They can then hand that to a *good* game developer who might turn out something half good.

    I doubt we have seen the last of DNF because nobody knows how to cut their losses nowadays.

  24. Angus

    Hehe DNF

    Did Not Finish! :P

  25. Ash

    @Michael (Fool and money

    I thought of this last week. Duke Nukem Forever = DNF = Do Not Fund.


  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So after moaning that they didn't finish it...

    ... they file a motion to stop them from changing it while the lawsuits goes on :P

  27. Paul Murphy

    If they wanted DNF out of the door then they could have done it.

    After all lots of other companies produce game and follow-ups, so it's not impossible.


    As Barney says, even individuals can produce highly innovative games in their spare time, so what was going on?

    Has anyone followed the monen on this one yet? I suspect that there are some execs with expensives houses and fast cars etc. waiting to be found.


    JA because expecting DNF to be released has been an on-going joke for years.

  28. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    I just like the irony in the name

    Duke Nukem Forever = DNF

    DNF = Did Not Finish

  29. Andy

    Best Quote

    My favourite quote about this game:

    Zero Punctuation critic Ben Croshaw: "I just hope that 3D Realms understands that if this game doesn't turn out to be history's greatest contribution to human culture and the cure for at least one type of cancer, I and every other reviewer on earth are going to saw its bollocks off."

    Would be nice if it was released at some point even it was a leaked dev version to see what the fuss was about.

  30. dreadful scathe

    attack of the pig aliens

    i did like the demand that "3D Realms not alter or leak the game's assets"

    yeah right, like there IS any :)

    Its funny that the youngsters think this is a myth :)

  31. Neil

    I was looking forward to this....

    ... in 1997, when I was 19 and had the time and inclination to play computer games. Now I'm 30 with wife and kids, I really couldn't give a flying damn. And therein lies the problem - those who remember the original game now won't give a shit (a few saddos non-withstanding), and those who are of gaming age won't have even heard of the original.

    So the fact it's died should be no suprise and nobody should care either.

    Now a new Llamasoft game on the other hand....

  32. Lionel Baden

    @John Tserkezis

    with the engine 10+ years and the ideas 10+

    it might actually be a good game instead of just preety graphics

  33. Yorkshirepudding

    shake it baby

    dont have time to play with myself

    /add other duke quotes after

  34. Paul Hayes

    trying too hard?

    to me it seems daft that they held up the game for so long seemingly based on always wanting to make sure they're using the latest graphics engine. When the original DN3D came out in 1996 the graphics then were hardly groundbreaking, I was 16 at the time and remember playing the game well, I've since lost pretty much all interest in game playing years ago though, as Neil said the market for games these days has probably never seen the original 3D game. The first Quake came out around the same time and in terms of graphics it was light years ahead using a proper 3D wire mesh engine while DN3D was still the old 2d engine with sprites similar to the first Doom game. It was good because it was so unique. At the time there was nothing like it, you could go into a strip bar, throw some money at a dancer and tell her to "shake it baby" and the kick her in the breasts till she exploded into a pool of blood. Back then that was pretty controversial! These days it seems pretty lame in comparison to what goes on in games like GTA3 onwards.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "yeah right, like there IS any :)

    Its funny that the youngsters think this is a myth :)"

    Actually theres been a few gameplay videos of it out recent, there is actually a lot of stuff that is done.

    They wouldn't be wanting to block leaks overwise!

  36. Dale


    Come on! How stupid do you have to be to carry on believing for 10 years that the game will ever be delivered? It's a commercial enterprise, not a government project. If they can't get *something* out the door in 12 months, they aren't ever going to get it out. They should have given up and moved on 8 years ago.

  37. Matt Semper

    Someone just get it done

    Duke is a great character, and he makes a game just being in it. Especially in the current climate of ultra serious WW2 recreations etc. Duke would be a breath of fresh air. and it really doesn't matter if it's not on the latest engine, the HL2 engine was already outdated when portal and then TF2 were released and both were amazing. Portal has been considered pretty much the greatest game ever.

    What's insane is that after starting the DNF project a different dev team started, finished and released Duke Nukem Manhatten Project, and that was years ago!

    I'm getting older now but still I'd like to play DNF if it's ever finished. The best strategy at this point I think, would be to build the engine as quickly as possible (if it's not done) and then get a couple of levels done and start releasing it episodically on XBL.

    If anyone is interested there is a High Res mod pack for the original Duke 3D, which updates the graphics to something close to modern, you can find it here

    And of course I also have to link to the de-rez video on the subject.

  38. Dex
    Thumb Up

    10+ years.....

    ....Isn't too long tbh, I mean look at Valve and Team Fortress 2, numerous times they said it was coming, people waited, some wrote it off as Vaporware but look at what we have! Ok granted 10 years WAS taking the jarate piss eversoslightly BUT it came out so just because it's taken this long doesn't mean it won't ever happen.....obviously when they find another publisher and such

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duke Nukem Whatever

    Just give the DN rights to Valve and let them show 3DR how to finish the job properly!

    DN3D was a great game but I never finished that either - always crashed my PC when i got to the space station... :-(

  40. Janko Hrasko
    Thumb Up

    show must go on

    Sue them, get the rights and sell them or have someone else to develop the game (less likely).

    I think this lawsuit is spot on, there is tons of money in this franchise and the show must go on.


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