New filings with the SEC show that Oblivion and current Fallout 3 developer Bethesda Softworks has officially purchased the Fallout series IP from current holders Interplay for $5.75 million, with Interplay now acting as licensee for its own planned Fallout MMO.
According to the filing, first spotted by Fallout fansite No Mutants Allowed, the purchase of the Fallout license and accompanying IP was settled on April 9th, with final payment installments expected to be delivered by the third quarter of this year.
Prior to the purchase, Bethesda was licensing the Fallout IP from Interplay as it has continued to develop Fallout 3, its own sequel to the cult-classic post-apocalyptic RPG series first developed by Black Isle Studios in 1997. In a recent interview, Bethesda's Pete Hines told Gamasutra that the team was “a fairly good ways into the process”, and noted that “Fallout is not a quick two year process, and we are already several years into the project”.
In an interesting twist, as part of the agreement Interplay now acts as a licensee of the IP as it continues to ramp up production on its own Fallout-themed massively multiplayer game, first announced in 2004 alongside Bethesda's sequel, and shown via internal documents as recently as December to have a projected $75 million dollar budget and launch date of 2010.
In a special clause of the purchase agreement, Interplay agrees that "full-scale development of its FALLOUT MMOG will commence within 24 months of the Effective Date of this Agreement" and that "Interplay will have secured financing for the FALLOUT MMOG in an amount no less than $30 million" within that time frame or forfeit its license rights for the MMO.
Similarly, "Interplay must, in addition, Commercially Launch... the FALLOUT MMOG within four years of the MMOG Development Commencement Date, or again, "Interplay will immediately lose and permanently forfeit its license rights under this Agreement." If and when the Fallout MMO launches, Interplay has agreed to pay Bethesda 12 percent of the game's sales and subscription fees for the use of the Fallout IP.