Gearbox says fan-made Duke Nukem Reloaded project still cleared for non-commercial release
Frederick “fresch” Schreiber was granted a non-commercial license to recreate Duke Nukem 3D using modern tools and graphics. We can all agree on that part of the story. The Penny Arcade Report recently spoke to Schreiber, who claimed that Gearbox changed their minds about the game's release, and that's why he shut down the project to avoid wasting more of the team’s time and energy on a project that no one would be able to play.
“We closed down the project ourselves based on what Gearbox told us, that there was no chance, little chance, that we would ever see it out, that they would allow it to ever see release,” Schreiber explained. “They saw it as a project we could create for our own sake, and that’s not what we were interested in, we wanted to share this with the world. So that was kind of how Duke Reloaded ended.”
It looks like the truth may be something a bit more complicated. Steve Gibson is the Vice President of Gearbox, and he claimed that the game can be released to the public at any point.
Cleared for launch
“We remain impressed by the passion and talent that the Duke Nukem fans at Interceptor Entertainment showed when developing their fan project, and were disappointed when the team announced their decision to discontinue work on it,” Gibson told the Report. “The non-commercial license we granted them remains intact and we hope to see them release Duke Nukem 3D Reloaded whenever they are ready to do so.”
Schreiber and Interceptor Entertainment released a modern take on Rise of the Triad today, so it’s likely the team has been pretty busy since the cancellation of their Duke Nukem project, but there are two very different statements being given here. I don’t have a copy of the contract, but if the rules for release are vague, as Schreiber claimed, the developer now has what amounts to a verbal agreement that he can release the game when it’s ready.
“We felt like why were we being punished, and why were the fans being punished, because we had created something that was too good?” Schreiber told the Report during our earlier conversation. “That was how the whole thing ended. We split apart, Gearbox and Interceptor, and went to do our own things.”
According to Gearbox, there was no punishment. Interceptor's take on Duke Nukem 3D is cleared for non-commercial release, no matter how good the game may be.
Listen, I’m going to break this down: I don’t give a crap who is right, or wrong. I’d love for the project to go back into production and be released, as I’m personally a giant fan of Duke Nukem 3D. We’ll be contacting Interceptor to see if this changes things, but for now we can at least be comforted by the idea that Gearbox is keeping the door open for a non-commercial release of the project.