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Court Denies Bethesda's Motion To Block Interplay  Fallout  Activity
Court Denies Bethesda's Motion To Block Interplay Fallout Activity
December 11, 2009 | By Kris Graft

December 11, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

A U.S. District Court judge denied Bethesda's motion for a preliminary injunction against publisher Interplay this week over a dispute involving licensing for the popular Fallout RPG franchise.

The ruling means that for the time being, Interplay will be able to continue selling Fallout Trilogy, a bundle that includes 1997's Fallout, 1998's Fallout 2, and 2001's Fallout Tactics, as well as the individual games themselves.

It also means that Interplay can continue to work on the Fallout MMO, a work-in-progress dubbed Project V13 that can exist because of a licensing deal that Bethesda struck with Interplay. Bethesda bought the Fallout property from Interplay in 2007 for $5.75 million.

A court order from U.S. District judge Deborah K. Chasanow, originally found by Fallout fan website Duck and Cover and confirmed by Gamasutra, did not list reasons behind the ruling.

Bethesda filed suit against Interplay over Fallout earlier this year. Bethesda requested the court enjoin distribution of Interplay's Fallout Trilogy pack, claiming that the bundle's packaging was not approved by Bethesda, and could confuse consumers into thinking the package included 2008's Bethesda-developed Fallout 3.

Interplay originally created the original Fallout, which still maintains a cult following, and the older games in the Fallout series did see a sales benefit from the high visibility of Bethesda's Fallout 3.

Bethesda's original complaint against Interplay also accused the company of breach of contract in regards to the Fallout MMO. While Bethesda purchased the rights of the Fallout franchise from Interplay in 2007 for $5.75 million, Bethesda in turn licensed the rights to make a Fallout MMO back to Interplay.

But Bethesda claimed that Interplay fell short of its contractual obligations by allegedly not beginning full-scale production of the MMO on time, or raising sufficient funds within an agreed upon time frame. Bethesda is now trying to win back the rights of the Fallout MMO.

A rep for Bethesda did not have a comment ready as of press time, and Bethesda lawyers did not immediately return a phone call, although we will update this story with any new information. Attempts to contact Interplay were unsuccessful.

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Tim Hesse
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Sounds like someone now thinks doing a Fallout MMO makes sense...

Jonathan Osment
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@ Tim, Last I heard Interplay was looking for investors for the fallout mmo prior to Bethesda purchasing the rights to the IP.

I am still trying to figure out why Interplay would sell their most desired IP to Bethesda for such a low sum, besides the obvious bankruptcy status.

Geraldo Nascimento
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Sorry, but this bit is incorrect:

"The defunct Black Isle Studios created the original Fallout, which still maintains a cult following, and Interplay published the series."

This is a common mistake to make! Interplay actually both created and published the original Fallout. Black Isle Studios, which was a division of Interplay, worked on the sequel.


Interplay's tale is a sad and sorry one. During 98 and 99 they were the RPG kings, with the Fallout series and the Baldur's Gate series under their belt. Then things went south fast. Since Hervé Caen purchased Interplay, things haven't been the same.

David R
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This likely changes nothing. The standard for a preliminary injunction is very high (Bethesda would have to have proved that Interplay was causing Bethesda "irreparable harm" to succeed). Next Bethesda's lawyers will continue with their litigation, seeking a regular injunction.

I'm curious to see if Bethesda really wants to make a Fallout MMO, assuming their litigation succeeds.

John Tessin
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Perhaps you should look at the other companies Herve Caen has been in charge of. Titus comes to mind.

Ben Marcus
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It sounds to me that Bethesda has lost their right to the 12 percent sales and subscription fees, which is why I feel they are not fighting for the rights to make the game themselves but the right to hold IP over Fallout if Interplay does get permission finish the MMO.