In its ongoing lawsuit over the rights to Duke Nukem, 3D Realms has responded to Gearbox Software's trademark violation lawsuit by claiming that it still owns the license to the franchise. The studio is currently preparing to release Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a top-down action game starring the familiar gaming hero.
Last month Gearbox announced it would sue 3D Realms and Mass Destruction developer Interceptor Entertainment for allegedly using the IP it claims it owns without permission.
3D Realms' official response? When it sold Duke Nukem Forever to Gearbox, it did not sell the rights to the entire Duke Nukem IP. The firm said that, as part of the asset purchase agreement that saw Gearbox acquiring Duke Nukem Forever in 2010, 3D Realms was entitled to complete and release a game called Duke Nukem Survivor, now called Mass Destruction, apparently. 3D Realms also argues in its response that Gearbox doesn't own the Duke Nukem trademark, claiming it was never part of the asset purchase agreement.
"The Duke Nukem trademark rights remain the sole property of 3DR," the company said in its response.
3D Realms sued Gearbox in June 2013, claiming that Gearbox owed it $2 million in royalties as part of its Duke Nukem Forever rights acquisition deal. The suit was quickly dropped and executives from the company publicly apologized.
Interceptor began development of Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded – a remake of Duke Nukem 3D, but the game was put on an indefinite hold to deal with legal issues. Interceptor Entertainment acquired 3D Realms earlier this month.