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Interplay surrenders  Fallout  MMO rights back to Bethesda
Interplay surrenders Fallout MMO rights back to Bethesda
January 9, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

As part of an out-of-court settlement, Fallout series creator Interplay has given up all rights to an MMO spin-off it claimed to be developing to current series owner Bethesda.

The decision marks the final step in Bethesda's complete takeover of all new products in the Fallout franchise, and provides the troubled Interplay some much-needed capital.

According to statements released by Bethesda on Monday, Interplay surrendered those rights in exchange for $2 million received from Bethesda parent ZeniMax. Both parties will pick up the tab for their respective legal fees, which were undisclosed.

At this point, Interplay's only involvement with the post-apocalyptic RPG series it created is its continued sale of the first three games in the franchise: Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout: Tactics. It will retain the rights to continue selling the games through December 31, 2013, at which point they too will be surrendered to Bethesda.

The dispute stems from the original Fallout acquisition agreement between the two companies in 2007, which saw new owner Bethesda agreeing to allow Interplay to develop an MMO in the series under certain criteria, namely that Interplay secure $30 million in financing and show that the game was under full scale development by April 2009.

While Interplay continuously claimed that the game was under full development by contractor Masthead Studios, Bethesda claimed otherwise. Because the suit was resolved out-of-court, no formal judgement was made as to whether Interplay held up its end of the deal.

Bethesda also settled a separate dispute with Masthead itself, where it claimed that the game it was allegedly developing represented copyright infringement and a violation of its IP rights. Masthead now acknowledges that it has no legal right to use any Fallout IP. No settlement money was awarded to either party.

"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," said ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman.

"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."

Bethesda has published both 2008's Fallout 3 and 2010's Fallout: New Vegas. No future titles in the franchise have been formally announced.

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Ron Dippold
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This is probably the only way Interplay could ever make money off a Fallout MMO. I can't imagine them delivering anything competitive in this crowded market.

Anonymous Designer
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A Paltry 2 million... hopefully their team was under 20 ppl

Gregory Kinneman
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I believe the team was down to 11 a couple of months ago, with more layoffs pending, according to
inancial_Situation.php Since at the time their deficit was over $2.8 million, and they just went through this lawsuit, my guess is they still have no money.

john stark
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So was this Interplays plan from the very beginning ? Just pressin out some money of Bethesda ? Seems there was some room in the the contracts, that enabled them to stir some trouble, create some screenshots drop news snippets and trust their lawyers...

David Holmin
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Yeah. Bethesda is such a victim here.

john stark
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I did not moralize anything, but this thing stank for me from the very beginning.

Honestly, I didnt like the direction Fallout took with its latest incarnations and still stick to the original games.

But what notable things did interplay deliver in recent times ? Oh yeah, NONE !

I doubt they could have been able to gather the neccecary reccources to produce an decent MMO based on Falllout.

David Holmin
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I don't know enough about Interplay in its current state or their new owners to comment on their motives, but it could very well be as you say. To me, Interplay died a while back. They're obviously all but buried.

Matthew Mouras
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I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during those settlement discussions. I have very fond memories of Interplay. Their CRPGs are what got me interested in video games as a thought-provoking medium. This seems a sad footnote.

I know nothing of their current state. Since I didn't care for what Bethesda did to the world, it was fun to imagine an MMO with Interplay's earlier sensibilities. Ah well.

David Holmin
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Old Interplay rocked, but there's probably not a single person working there now that did back in the days. They indeed gave us many great RPGs as well as interesting and differentiated games of other genres.

Jonathan Osment
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This makes me sick.

$2 million? Really? Interplay, if that's all your franchise was worth to you then perhaps you shouldnt have the rights back, not that it was smart to sell it to Bethesda in the first place.