Apogee Software is suing Gearbox Software for unpaid royalties and fees related to 2011's widely-loathed Duke Nukem Forever.

As reported by Polygon, Apogee claims it is owed US$2 million (NZ$2.5 million) in unpaid royalties in addition to an unspecified sum from when Gearbox purchased the franchise. It also claims that Gearbox has refused to allow it to independently verify how much money the game made.

In response, Gearbox said that it had fulfilled all its commitments to Apogee/3D Realms (3DR), and that in doing so, Gearbox “enriched 3DR, saved 3DR from its debts, and rescued 3DR from its litigation surrounding its failed dozen-plus year attempt to ship Duke Nukem Forever”.

"Ironically, Scott Miller [founder of Apogee] himself provided the best response when he wrote: '…filed lawsuits are entirely one-sided statements, based on knee-deep BS and with more spin than a top,'" said Gearbox.

"Everyone wished that 3DR's game was better received by the market for the benefit of gamers and profit to its creators. While 3DR might not wish the reality that the results make clear, 3DR turned out to be the only beneficiary of the deal. Gearbox Software, meanwhile, experienced damage to its credibility and loss of its money.

"It's unfortunate that 3DR did not abide by the objective audit rules outlined in the agreement and even more unfortunate that it chose to blame its failures on Gearbox. Since 3DR seems unable to accept reality and has chosen to become hostile, Gearbox is forced to bring its actual claims of breach of contract against 3DR and is confident Gearbox will prevail.

"Perhaps the lesson learned here is to never enter a gaming business deal with a person who has had more lawsuits than shipped games."

Despite a critical drubbing and slower-than-predicted sales, publisher Take-Two confirmed in an earnings call on August 2011 that Duke Nukem Forever looked likely to turn a profit.