Archive

Bethesda Reclaims Rights to the Fallout MMOG

Posted Mon, Jan 09, 2012 by Martuk

Last week it was reported that Bethesda and Interplay had finally settled their long engagement over the rights to Fallout Online. According to a new press release on the Bethesda blog, Interplay’s rights to develop the Fallout MMOG have been declared “null and void” and rights have reverted back to Bethesda. As part of the settlement, Bethesda parent company ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million as part of the settlement.

The press release also details a settlement a for another litigation against Earthrise developer Masthead Studios for alleged involvement of developing Fallout Online without permission from Bethesda for Interplay.

As for now, the Fallout Online MMOG appears to be dead in the water unless Bethesda has something up their sleeve for the future.


FALLOUT® MMO RIGHTS RESTORED TO
BETHESDA SOFTWORKS® IN INTERPLAY LITIGATION

All Fallout® Intellectual Property Rights Belong Exclusively to Bethesda

January 9, 2012 (Rockville, MD) –ZeniMax® Media Inc. today announced that a settlement had been reached in the lawsuit filed by its subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks®, against Interplay Entertainment Corporation in 2009, Bethesda Softworks LLC v Interplay Entertainment Corp., seeking cancellation of the license granted to Interplay to develop a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) based on the Fallout brand. Bethesda maintained in its complaint that Interplay had failed to meet the conditions for the license and the license was therefore of no continuing validity.

Under the terms of the settlement, the license granted to Interplay to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void, and all rights granted to Interplay to develop a Fallout MMO revert back to Bethesda, effective immediately. Interplay has no ongoing right to use the Fallout brand or any Fallout intellectual property for any game development. ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million as consideration in the settlement, each party will bear its own costs of the litigation, and Bethesda will continue to own all Fallout intellectual property rights. Interplay will be permitted to continue to sell the original Fallout ®Tactics, Fallout® and Fallout® 2 PC games through December 2013, after which time all rights to market those games revert to and become the sole property of Bethesda. Under the original agreement pursuant to which Bethesda had acquired the Fallout property, Interplay was granted certain merchandising rights to sell those original Fallout games, but those merchandising rights will now expire on December 31, 2013.  

The lawsuit against Interplay arose after Bethesda Softworks acquired all Fallout intellectual property rights from Interplay in April 2007, and conditionally licensed back to Interplay certain trademark rights to make a Fallout MMO, provided Interplay secured $30 million in financing for the MMO and commenced full scale development of the game by April 2009. Bethesda alleged in its complaint that Interplay failed to meet either condition of the license back agreement but refused to relinquish its license and insisted it would develop a Fallout MMO.  Bethesda filed suit to declare the license void.

In a separate but related matter, Bethesda commenced a second action against a purported developer of the Fallout MMO, Masthead Studios, Bethesda Softworks LLC v Masthead Studios Ltd. In the course of the original lawsuit against Interplay, Interplay had claimed that it had engaged Masthead Studios to develop the Fallout MMO under its license, and contended that Masthead was engaged in full scale development of that game. Bethesda filed its separate lawsuit against Masthead to assert copyright infringement and other violations of Bethesda’s intellectual property rights. Under the MMO license granted to Interplay, Interplay was not permitted to sublicense any rights granted without the prior approval of Bethesda, approval which had never been requested or granted.  In responding to Bethesda’s lawsuit, Masthead denied that it had been using any of Bethesda’s intellectual property in developing an MMO. Masthead and Bethesda settled that second lawsuit on December 29, 2011.  In the settlement, Masthead acknowledges it has no legal right to use any Fallout intellectual property, and agrees it will not use any such intellectual property of Bethesda in the future.  No payments were made by either party as part of this settlement. The two settlements resolve all pending litigation over the Fallout intellectual property owned by Bethesda.

Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, expressed satisfaction on behalf of the Company with the resolution of the two lawsuits saying, “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.”

Following the purchase of the property, Bethesda Game Studios, the 2011 ‘Studio of the Year’ and the development team behind the 2011 ‘Game of the Year’, The Elder Scrolls® V: Skyrim™, developed Fallout® 3. ZeniMax Media’s publishing subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks, published Fallout® 3,a highly acclaimed sequel which won ‘Game of the Year’ honors in 2008, for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows. Bethesda also published the popular title, Fallout: New Vegas®, in 2010 for the same platforms. Fallout: New Vegas® Ultimate Edition, which will include the original game and the award-winning downloadable content in one special package, is planned for release by Bethesda in early 2012.

Fools! Could have been great :(

GOOD! Bethesda's Fallouts are about 1000xs better than Interplay's. The only good series Interplay ever made was Loaded.

Fallout 1 and 2 are much better games then Fallout 3 and New Vegas, sorry to be the one to tell you that. :(

So, you speak Bizarro. Good to know...

Good to know your a 13 year old with ADD and wouldn't know a good game if it screwed you in the ass mugu.

There would be no fallout without Interplay, fallout 1 and 2, were amazing and so are fallout 3 and new vegas. It all depends on the style of fallout you like. No need to hate on Interplay, they deserve the rights as much as bethesda does.

Interplay had 2 years and produced nothing. They then had another 2 years and produced nothing. That is the real reason Bethesda went after them

Wow, first Minecraft then this? Bethesda needs to get some new lawyers cause their current ones are a bit butthurt.

you're an idiot for not knowing how lawyers work....
and two, it's a win win situation for Bethesda, the're getting the property of scrolls, and the Fallout series- thus meaning their lawyers are high-fiving each other and getting more money

oh, and technically it's Zenimax that are getting the rights to this stuff as they own Bethesda studios.

Fallout-Stand-By.jpg

The long and messy legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay over the Fallout IP has finally been settled.

News
Tue, Jan 03, 2012
Martuk
Bethesda_vs_Interplay.jpg

The Bethesda vs Interplay saga heads to court this month and reaches a new level of ridiculousness.

News
Fri, Dec 02, 2011
Martuk
Lawsuit.jpg

Bethesda loses another round to Interplay in the courtroom following a rejected injunction appeal that allows Interplay’s work on Fallout Online to continue.

News
Thu, Oct 27, 2011
Martuk
Fallout-Postcard.jpg

Bethesda suffers another setback in their Fallout IP legal battle with Interplay after a judge dismisses their move for a restraining order against co-developer Masthead Studios.

News
Fri, Sep 23, 2011
Martuk

News from around the 'Net