‘Duke Nukem’ studio founders clash over what killed the company

Former 3D Realms heads have exchanged words

The co-founders of 3D Realms (the studio behind Duke Nukem and Prey) have clashed over the downfall of the studio.

The studio was first founded in 1987 (then called Apogee Software Productions) and was responsible for developing Duke Nukem. A sequel to 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D was announced in 1997 but in 2009, the studio were sued by publishers Take-Two for failing to deliver the game.

The IP was acquired by GearBox Software in 2010 and Duke Nukem Forever was finally released in 2011. 3D Realms was sold to Interceptor Entertainment in 2014.


Now, following a leak of the original 2001 Duke Nukem Forever build earlier this week, founder Scott Miller has shared a blog that blames that game for the downfall of the studio.

As well as saying the 2001 E3 trailer “over-represented what was actually playable in the game”, Miller said Duke Nukem Forever is the game “that destroyed 3D Realms and ended up getting the company sold to an investor in Denmark (where it’s still based). While our games like Max Payne and Prey were keeping the company afloat, Duke Nukem Forever was a constant money pit for the company and eventually killed the original 3D Realms/Apogee.”

He goes on to say he wasn’t involved in development but blames understaffing, the lack of a clear roadmap and constant switches to the newest 3D tech on the 14-year development.

“I recognised that DNF was in deep trouble back in 2004 and tried to get the entire game developed by a more experienced studio, Digital Extremes (now famous for Warframe). The owner there was eager to take over DNF from us, and we even had the blessing of our publisher at the time (Take-Two), but this idea was shot down internally. It turned out to be a fatal suicide shot.”

3D Realms co-founder and Duke Nukem Forever’s original director George Broussard hit back at those claims though.


“Scott’s a clueless narcissist whose actions are what led to the Gearbox suits/friction that led to us losing 3D Realms & the Duke Nukem IP. Mind blowing the nonsense he spews. Not surprising due to his depth of manipulation and narcissism. Least I’ve had the class to keep thoughts private,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I have *so* much more to say on this having known him since high school in the 70s. You can just see how he uses opportunity to try to make himself look better tossing an ex friend (of 40+ years) and biz partner under a bus. Def a guy you wanna do business with,” he added.

Miller is yet to reply but did share his hopes for the future of the Duke Nukem franchise. “I do hope that Gearbox can resurrect Duke Nukem at some point. It seems like the obvious move would be to recreate Duke Nukem 3D using Unreal 5. And if it does well, then start making more Duke adventures while also expanding the universe with new characters.”

In other news, Nintendo has announced that a new Indie World stream will be taking place today (May 11). Find out how to watch it here.

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