[Update] Interceptor Entertainment buys Apogee (3D Realms) in the midst of Duke Nukem lawsuit
[Update 2] After what's been a fairly confusing 24-hours, Interceptor CEO Frederik Schreiber, SND Invest founder/newly appointed 3D Realms CEO Mike Nielsen, and 3D Realms co-founder Scott Miller have issued statements to clear up any remaining misconceptions about the buyout.
First off, Interceptor isn't technically the owner of 3D Realms, as the struggling studio was actually picked up by Interceptor's part-owner/primary investor SDN Invest. On top of Schreiber initial comments, this confusion may also have been caused in part to Nielsen serving as Interceptor's Chairman of the Board.
And secondly, it seems there's more to SDN's decision than to protect Interceptor's stake in the 3D Realms brand name and the Duke Nukem franchise. As you'll read in the three executive statements, the plan for this new 3D Realms is for it to serve as a publishing branch of Interceptor, which will provide other developers will guidance and financial aid.
SND Invest founder, Interceptor Entertainment Chairman of the Board, and 3D Realms CEO, Mike Nielson:
Interceptor Entertainment CEO, Frederik Schreiber:
3D Realms co-founder, Scott Miller:
If Interceptor can handle the extra of weight that comes with being a publisher, this new and improved 3D Realms could become a major player in the indie scene. But given the major headache that's in store due to the Gearbox lawsuit, we'll just have to wait and see how things play out.
Source: Press Release
[Update] It turns out there's been a bit of misunderstanding, as Interceptor did not buy Apogee in its entirety but rather one of two halves.
Apogee co-founder and CCO Terry Nagy cleared things up in a statement addressed to Polygon, explaining that there's Apogee Software, LLC (which he operates), and Apogee Software, Ltd., which currently operates under the 3D Realms brand name. Interceptor bought the 3D Realms half, not the Apogee Software, LLC half which owns the IP rights to Rise of the Triad and every other AS property that isn't Duke Nukem.
So, since it hasn't acquired Apogee's treasure trove, it seems Interceptor bought the struggling Ltd. half, simply to protect its own interest in the Duke Nukem franchise (IE the legacy titles). That certainly makes sense from a business perspective, but we won't know if that's the full extent of it all until Schreiber decides to speak out about what's going on.
One week removed from the news of Gearbox's lawsuit against developer Interceptor Entertainment and publisher Apogee Software (formerly 3D Realms) becoming public knowledge, we can confirm Interceptor has bought Apogee.
Schreiber said in both the Børsen piece and on Twitter that "yes, we (Interceptor) have indeed acquired Apogee/3D Realms." However, he's currently refusing to say anything more about the deal, that is at least until he issues a full statement tomorrow.
This isn't to say the paper was unable to get a little further insight on the deal, as its reporters discovered (through LinkedIn) that Inceptor has appointed its long-time partner Mike Nielsen as Apogee's new CEO. They then reached out to Nielsen for confirmation of his new job title, who not only confirmed such, but also said this acquisition has been made to "protect" Apogee's legacy.
The partnership between Interceptor and Apogee began in 2012, when the then publisher discovered the then small Danish studio's impressive work on its homage/remake of Duke Nukem 3D. Apogee was so impressed in fact, that it backed the project as its publisher and then commissioned Interceptor to work on several modern ports of classic games starring the Duke. But the partnership really hit its stride last year, with the release of Interceptor's critically acclaimed and commercially successful remake of Rise of the Triad.
Now with the roles reversed (sort of), the two partners have to deal with Gearbox, which is suing them for developing a new Duke Nukem game (Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction) without its permission. Of course you need to remember that after picking up Duke Nukem Forever, Gearbox has the exclusive IP rights to any new game in the franchise.
The two companies have worked well together in the past and this merger should certainly continue that success but they'll likely have to tread on with the Nukem license. Which is a shame cause Mass Destruction could be something great but it does leave room for a few interesting possibilities to arise. Maybe Rise of the Triad will get a sequel or perhaps we'll see a return of Commander Keen or Shadow Warrior. Lets see where this goes.