Daily Recap: May 6, 2009

Goodnight, sweet prince? Duke Nukem developer 3D Realms is going bust, and the company just might take Duke Nukem Forever with it.

Goodnight, sweet prince? Duke Nukem developer 3D Realms is going bust, and the company just might take Duke Nukem Forever with it.

Say it ain’t so! In development years, 13 must be an unlucky number for the long-stagnant Duke Nukem Forever(DNF), as Shacknews reports today that developer 3D Realms is closing shop. It seems as if the company has finally run out of money, with the news coming ironically close to the supposed summer release of DNF–which is more than a decade after the title was first announced.

Of course, taking into consideration that DNF is a game that just won’t die, another developer might buy the development rights (as Take Two Interactive confirmed they hold the publishing rights) and finish the title. Regardless of what happens with DNF, the Duke Nukem Trilogy handheld games in development for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP are still on, unaffected by 3D Realms’ closure.

With the announcement of beta opt-in sign-ups for Starcraft II today, productivity dropped in South Korea by 23%. True story.

With the announcement of beta opt-in sign-ups for Starcraft II today, productivity dropped in South Korea by 23%. True story.

Shifting gears from a long-awaited game that might never come out to one that is now closer than ever, Blizzard has opened up beta sign-ups for Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. Anyone with a Battle.net account can jump through a few hoops (i.e., providing system specifications for their PC or Mac via a simple Blizzard application) to then wait and hope for an entry key. The good news here is if Blizzard is already revving up for the beta, gamers could see the first of three StarCraft II titles in stores sooner rather than later. Maybe.

The way EA Sports handles college students' likenesses in video games has been brought to court by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller.

The way EA Sports handles college students' likenesses in video games has been brought to court by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller.

Former Arizona State University and University of Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller filed a complaint against the NCAA and Electronic Arts saying that EA Sports‘ NCAA Football video games circumvented NCAA rules. Under the organization’s rules, active student-athletes are not allowed to use their image rights in commercial products–that includes video games.

Unlike most professional sports games which license the likeness rights from players’ associations (such as EA Sports’ Madden NFL series), the NCAA Football and basketball games do not use accurate names or faces for players; they even use players out of college for their box art.

Keller, who finished his college career for Nebraska, appeared in the games as QB #9, referring to his playing number. Keller and his lawyers contend in the suit that even unnamed, the players’ images are still intact and used to help sell the title. If the lawsuit progresses, it could mean biting into a chunk of profits from one of EA Sports’ best-selling franchises.

In further legal news, Richard Garriott–creator of the Ultima Online series and the now-defunct Tabula Rasahas filed suit against former employer NCSoft, claiming the South Korean-based company dubiously fibbed about his parting from the company in November 2008.

The lawsuit centers on the true terms of Garriott’s dismissal: the man also known as Lord British claims he was fired by the company, and shortly thereafter NCSoft staged a farewell letter to the community implying he left voluntarily. Once classified as a “voluntary” departure, Garriott’s stock options, otherwise good until 2011, would become void under his contract terms and he’d then have to liquidate his stock within 90 days of his departure.

It seems NCSoft is trying to save a few dollars in this poor economy, no?