Bethesda V Interplay is Finally over as Fallout MMO is Canned

by on January 10, 2012

Bethesda V Interplay is Finally over as Fallout MMO is CannedAfter a long, two year battle in the courts, Zenimax have announced that the Fallout MMO that Interplay were involved in, is gone bye-bye. A bit of context for the reader that mightn’t be up to speed on all this…Bethesda Softworks (a subsidiary of Zenimax Media) filed a lawsuit against Interplay Entertainment in 2009, looking to stop Interplay using the Fallout name for an MMO. Bethesda claimed that Interplay didn’t meet the conditions that were set out for Interplay to use the Fallout IP and wanted to stop the development of the massively multiplayer online game.

Interplay originally owned the IP and sold it to Bethesda in April 2007, who in turn, licensed back “certain trademark rights” to Interplay, who were going to make a Fallout MMO. This was all on the condition that Interplay raised $30 million to finance the project and started development in April of 2009. Then Bethesda were all like, “OMG, why are you not developing our game like?” and Interplay was all like, “Forget you Bethesda” and then Bethesda were all like, “WTF Interplay? Now we’re going to sue you, y’know”…I think that’s how the conversation went.

Below are the full details of the settlement.

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® andFallout® 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.      

This comes off the back of another lawsuit that Bethesda were involved in; Bethesda V Masthead Studios – “this time, it’s personal”.  Apparently Interplay that they had contacted Masthead to develop the MMO and claimed they were in “full scale development” of it. Under the license that was granted to Interplay, any sublicense that Interplay approved needed to be overseen by Bethesda first. But, this wasn’t. So Bethesda sued Masthead for using the Fallout IP too! Masthead denied all this…yada, yada, yada. Basically, it was all settled on 29th December and Masthead acknowledge that they can’t use any of Bethesda’s IPs to create an MMO.

The Chairman and CEO at Zenimax, Robert Altman, was pretty happy with the two results. “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.”

Kids, don’t pick fights with the big dogs.