3D Realms closes down

Written by Joe Martin

May 7, 2009 // 9:41 a.m.

Tags: #3d-realms #3d-realms-closes-down #dnf #duke-nukem #duke-nukem-forever #take-two

3D Realms has, in an overnight rumour-turned-shock-announcement, officially closed after more than 22 years. The studio, which published and developed some of the best and most recognisable games ever, had only recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D.

The rumour first spread among major gaming sites such as Shacknews and RockPaperShotgun before Duke Nukem Forever publisher Take-Two and 3D Realms webmaster Joe Siegler confirmed the closure.

While 3D Realms had worked on and published some of the most impressive and memorable games we've seen, such as Max Payne and Prey, the series the studio is most well known for is probably Duke Nukem. Originally a side-scrolling platform game, the titular Duke Nukem shot into pop culture with the release of the boisterous and brash Duke Nukem 3D.

The latest game in the Duke Nukem series, Duke Nukem Forever became something of a running joke among gamers however as the development of the game stretched on and on...and on. 3D Realms' decision to change engines multiple times and to re-design the game from scratch on at least two occasions meant that the game was still not ready for release despite being having been in production for 13 years.

While Take-Two and 3D Realms have both confirmed the closure, neither have offered any substantial comment at this point and the fate of current 3D Realms projects is unclear. All that is known is that Deep Silver's re-release of the original Duke Nukem Trilogy on the PSP and DS is unaffected by the closure and that the recently revived spin-off publisher Apogee will continue to operate in some form. For the main 3D Realms studio however, it's the end of the road.

Take-Two may have been instrumental in the closure of the studio it seems, having finally decided to halt spiralling development costs for Duke Nukem Forever. Take-Two will also retain the rights to publish Duke Nukem Forever somehow, meaning that the company may yet elect to swoop in, salvage what it can, patch it up and release the unrealised opus. That's pure speculation however, as Take-Two hasn't yet voiced any intent to do so.

"It is the Company's policy to not comment on its contractual relationships, nor do we comment on rumors and speculation," said Take-Two's Alan Lewis. "That said, we can confirm that our relationship with 3D Realms for Duke Nukem Forever was a publishing arrangement, which did not include ongoing funds for development of the title. In addition, Take-Two continues to retain the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever."

A sad day indeed and we'll be sure to raise a glass to the Duke later tonight, but you can let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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