The Great Fallout Legal Battle Ends Without A Fallout MMO

The Great Fallout Legal Battle Ends Without A Fallout MMO

As reported last week, the legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay over the final fate of a massively multiplayer online Fallout game has ended in a settlement, one that leaves full control of Fallout intellectual properties in the hands of Bethesda.

For those of you just joining the ongoing legal battle, when The Elder Scrolls developers Bethesda Softworks originally acquired the licence to the post-apocalyptic Fallout series in 2007, original owner Interplay was granted the rights to create a massively multiplayer online game based on the property with a pair of conditions: Interplay had to secure $US30 million in financing for the project, and development had to be in full swing by April of 2009.

Interplay met neither goal, so Bethesda parent company Zenimax took steps to take the permission back, and now they finally have it.

Under the terms of the settlement, Interplay no longer has a licence to develop the Fallout MMO. They are still able to sell copies of Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2, but its permission to do so ends on December 31, 2013. Both sides are responsible for paying their own legal fees.

A separate but related lawsuit between Bethesda and developer Masthead Studios was settled in late December. Masthead has been tapped by Interplay to develop portions of the Fallout MMO, despite that the original Bethesda agreement forbade the company to subcontract. Masthead agreed that it had no rights to develop games using the Fallout licence.

In an official statement issued today, ZeniMax CEO and chairman Robert Altman expressed satisfaction with the settlements. “While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of ZeniMax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others’ legal claims.”

I guess this leaves it up to Bethesda to make their own Fallout MMO. Good thing they’ve got a studio established for such things.


    • they definately were working on it. the picture in this article is from the website bethesda had for “fallout online” which was unfortunately taken down because of legal issues.

  • All this talk about Fallout, but still no announcement of Fallout 4. WTF Bethesda! It’s been like almost 2 months since Skyrim came out! I need my fix dammit!

    • still a little bit of juice left in skyrim buddy. i would be happy for fallout 4 to come out say 2013-14. i wouldn’t mind if they diverged from the continental USA

        • I would love to see a story arc about how the Chinese have rebuilt after the Great War and they are planning to invade America for a 2nd time. It would be an excellent way to introduce a new array of weapons and the rich history should help the writers produce some creative and captivating questlines.

      • If they announce Fallout 4 now it would be at least 2013 until it’s released. At least that’s the timeframe I’ve got in my head. Don’t worry I’ve worked it all out.

  • What I would have though that Bethesda would have let Interplay keep Fallout:Brotherhood of Steel to, but I guess they just wanted it so badly that they had to have the sales rights immediately.

  • I don’t know why they’re so scared of the Fallout MMO. Unless it was free to play, it would have tanked. Also Bethesda gave Obsidian a chance to make Fallout: New Vegas and that was a nightmare at launch and for several months down the line. There’s also no way they will ever release a Fallout MMO now. Only reason BioWare was able to do it was because it was Star Wars license. Oh well, no Halo/Fallout MMO.

    • Oh well lol. I don’t care, MMOs butcher the believability of the universe, KoTOR was well written and subtle, now you have fat jedi running around looking like clowns and acting like tools, not to mention there’s a zillion of them. I’m quite glad that there’s no Fallout MMO as this would have been doubly bad for Fallout considering its universe.

      • Yeah, It would be a little weird if the so-called “wasteland” ended up being flooded with so many adventurers that people had to line up in order to wait for quest monster respawns. Over-population would have completed destroyed any sense of being post-apocalyptic. Still, good luck to them if they want to try. I won’t be playing it anyway as I only play Single-player stuff.

    • They were afraid because A) It was technically their IP and B) Interplay was counter-suing them to try and regain control of the liscence.

  • I think the IDEA of a Fallout MMO is about one billion times better than any *actual* Fallout MMO would be.

    MMOs pretty much lose their magical ‘awesome idea’ status once you include grinding and over a million assholes all jumping around and spewing alphanumeric bile into their chat boxes :-P… in my opinion, of course.

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