The argument over who rightfully owns the storied Duke Nukem franchise has been settled, bringing an end to a three-way legal dispute involving Gearbox Software, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment.

As you may recall, Gearbox Software announced at the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo that it had acquired the intellectual property for Duke Nukem from 3D Realms (Apogee Software). The studio made good on its promise to finish and release Duke Nukem Forever, a title that had been in limbo since first being announced in 1997.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a very good game.

Last year, 3D Realms and partner Interceptor Entertainment launched a teaser website for a new game in the franchise called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. Naturally, this got the attention of Gearbox Software who filed a lawsuit seeking damages for copyright and trademark infringement.

Gearbox Software today revealed that it has voluntarily ended its litigation against 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment. Terms of the settlement are being kept confidential although each party now agrees that Gearbox is the full and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise.

Mass Destruction, the top-down action role-playing Duke Nukem game that 3D Realms was working on, has since been renamed Bombshell and is expected to launch this summer.

Gearbox hasn't revealed when or if it plans to make another Duke Nukem game. Considering the poor reception that Duke Nukem Forever received, it wouldn't be surprising if they didn't.