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Interplay: Bethesda Knew Fallout MMO Was More Than A Name

By - Source: Gamasutra | B 30 comments

The legal drama surrounding the Fallout Online MMOG is almost as insane as the whole Duke Nukem Forever timeline.

Gamasutra has obtained a new court filing dated June 23 that responds to a motion for preliminary injunction filed by Bethesda to prevent Interplay from using elements of Fallout's story, setting and characters in the upcoming Fallout Online MMOG. Bethesda claims that it only licensed the Fallout name to the resurrected-yet-financially-troubled developer. Interplay disagrees.

According to the filing, the original Fallout developer Interplay cites certain conversations it had with Bethesda as far back as 2007, showing that both parties were fully aware of Interplay's intentions to use Fallout elements in the upcoming MMOG. Interplay also claims that Bethesda took its time in filing for its latest injunction just six months shy of the MMOG going into testing. Coincidence?

"For at least four years, Bethesda has known that Interplay interpreted its right to create the Fallout-branded MMOG to include copyrighted content from the Fallout universe in order to make the MMOG a recognizable Fallout game," the filing reads. "Bethesda never objected and did not seek an injunction because it knew Interplay was doing exactly what the parties intended under their agreements."

Interplay's retaliation also addresses Bethesda's argument that a Fallout MMO would "confuse and confound" Fallout 3 players because of alleged plot conflicts between the games. "This is ironic because Bethesda contends Interplay should have created an entire game of incompatible story, characters, and art and labeled it Fallout only in name," Interplay argues.

Gamasutra also reports that Interplay's filing accuses Bethesda of refusing invitations to coordinate story details during the MMOG's design stage. Interplay argues that any plot conflicts are only a minor part of over 20,000 pages of design documents.

Back in September 2009, Bethesda filed a lawsuit against Interplay claiming that the studio violated their agreement because the project had not yet taken off in April as agreed. Interplay countersued, stating that interrupting was against the original contract of the sale of the Fallout IP, thus making the sale obsolete. Bethesda originally purchased the Fallout franchise from Interplay in April 2007 for $5.75 million USD, but clauses in the purchase agreement allows Interplay to license the rights to the development of the MMOG specifically.

But in January, Fallout 3 developer Bethesda told the court that the licensing deal it made with Interplay only allowed the developer to use the Fallout name for the MMOG, nothing else. The notion was ludicrous to say the least – that's like saying DC Comics will only license out the Superman name, forcing movie studios to create a documentary about ants dragging a pebble across the road rather than the son of Krypton. Gamers playing a Fallout MMOG will expect to see a Fallout setting. Seriously Bethesda?

So far Bethesda has yet to offer a statement in regards to the June 23 filing.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    jmvanderleeuw , June 30, 2011 5:36 AM
    "MMO? Don't care, never will play it."

    ...and yet, you take the time to read an article about it, AND then comment on it. The astounding level of cognitive dissonance people like you display continues to confound and befuddle me.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , June 29, 2011 11:41 PM
    MMO? Don't care, never will play it.
  • 1 Hide
    turelpld , June 29, 2011 11:42 PM
    Quote:
    ...the original Fallout developer Interplay...


    Interplay was the publisher, not the developer(Black Isle Studios, now Obsidian).
  • Display all 30 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , June 29, 2011 11:46 PM
    Say what!!!?!!!!
  • 5 Hide
    RazberyBandit , June 29, 2011 11:53 PM
    turelpldInterplay was the publisher, not the developer(Black Isle Studios, now Obsidian).

    Interplay was once a developer, then eventually began to simultaneously develop and publish their own games, before finally turning their focus toward publishing only. That said, they've returned to actual in-house development for the Fallout MMO, so the term developer fits.
  • 4 Hide
    cburke82 , June 29, 2011 11:56 PM
    sounds like a cool concept I did not even know someone was working on a Fallout MMO if is was like Fallout 3 but a larger more open world that would be great.
  • 4 Hide
    xenorm , June 30, 2011 12:46 AM
    How much law can a lawsuit sue if a lawsuit can sue law? I hope the MMO gets made, it sounds interesting at the very least.
  • -7 Hide
    jryan388 , June 30, 2011 12:51 AM
    When did bethesda take over fallout development/publishing?
  • 3 Hide
    TheDuke , June 30, 2011 1:09 AM
    Bethesda fears story conflicts would confuse people
    I don't particularly remember very much of the plot in Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls ones aren't all that compelling
    Plot doesn't seem to actually be something Bethesda really works hard on
    Also jerk move filing a lawsuit right before they hit the testing phases for their game rather than the years before that they knew the game was in development
  • 4 Hide
    mrmike_49 , June 30, 2011 5:14 AM
    I posted a link to this article on Bethesda's Fallout forum, and they axed it in less than a half hour - talk about efficient censorship!!
  • 14 Hide
    jmvanderleeuw , June 30, 2011 5:36 AM
    "MMO? Don't care, never will play it."

    ...and yet, you take the time to read an article about it, AND then comment on it. The astounding level of cognitive dissonance people like you display continues to confound and befuddle me.
  • 2 Hide
    NuclearShadow , June 30, 2011 6:10 AM
    Interplay's MMO has a few members of the original Blackisle team that worked on previous Fallouts. Bethesda had... none when making Fallout 3 and made many errors to the already built canon storyline. (so much so that some refuse to accept Fallout 3 as canon)

    So this argument from Bethesda makes no sense as they are already guilty of doing exactly what they supposedly fear this MMO doing. Also there is actually a chance that the MMO's differences are in line with the canon where Fallout 3 made errors. If anything the problem Bethesda may have could be the reverse Interplay could simply be not following the errors that Bethesda made.
  • -4 Hide
    demonhorde665 , June 30, 2011 8:18 AM
    NuclearShadowInterplay's MMO has a few members of the original Blackisle team that worked on previous Fallouts. Bethesda had... none when making Fallout 3 and made many errors to the already built canon storyline. (so much so that some refuse to accept Fallout 3 as canon) So this argument from Bethesda makes no sense as they are already guilty of doing exactly what they supposedly fear this MMO doing. Also there is actually a chance that the MMO's differences are in line with the canon where Fallout 3 made errors. If anything the problem Bethesda may have could be the reverse Interplay could simply be not following the errors that Bethesda made.



    this is why iprefer Fallout new vegas to fall out 3 , NV was deved by Obsidian and a large number of thier memployees also worked on the original fallout games. i hope when fallout 4 comes around, bethesda just publishes and lets obsidian develop it.
    RazberyBanditInterplay was once a developer, then eventually began to simultaneously develop and publish their own games, before finally turning their focus toward publishing only. That said, they've returned to actual in-house development for the Fallout MMO, so the term developer fits.



    true , but in all technicality , the original dev team that was interplay when fallout 1 and 2 were made , has long since been split up amoung bioware , obsidian , and the the now ressurected Interplay 9and probablya few otehr companies ) but the vast majority of the team taht built the original FO games is split amoung those three companies. the truth be told if interplay got the IP back they may be jsut as likely to screw it up at least as much as beth did in FO 3 , if not worse, since many of the oriignal team are now in bioware and Obsidian.

    i honestly didnt think that bethesda did to bad of a job on FO3 , however as i stated above i do prefer FoNV to Fo3.

  • 3 Hide
    macewrox , June 30, 2011 2:34 PM
    Lost a ton of respect for Bethesda :L
  • 1 Hide
    shredder777 , June 30, 2011 3:38 PM
    MMO doesn't bother me. However for the next actual fallout they should make it better than Fallout 3. New vegas was a step backwards, it was not bad but Fallout 3 was better.
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 30, 2011 5:05 PM
    What value is the Fallout name without the related content? Maybe Bethesda just wants them to make the game in a different city with different characters. I actually agree with that, it should take place in the same world, but not the same plot line. That is true with all MMOs based on single player RPGs.

    If Bethesda wants them to create an entire new world not based on the world from Fallout 1-3 then I call BS.
  • 1 Hide
    cburke82 , June 30, 2011 6:23 PM
    Quote:
    this is why iprefer Fallout new vegas to fall out 3 , NV was deved by Obsidian and a large number of thier memployees also worked on the original fallout games. i hope when fallout 4 comes around, bethesda just publishes and lets obsidian develop it.

    Coming from a gamer who never played FO 1 or 2 I found Fallout 3 to have much more replay value than NV. I dont know if its because they are both similar games and so that made NV feel less exciting to me or what. But I only got through one play through of NV and was board... Dont know why but played through Fallout 3 like 10 times and had a blast.

    Side note here:
    Is there a big difference in NV on the PC than the xbox? I started PC gaming after I played FO3 and NV on the xbox.
  • 0 Hide
    drevas , June 30, 2011 6:25 PM
    Seems that Bethesda should have kept their focus on their original complaint having to do with the deadline by which Interplay had to have a product. Everything else seems like smoke and mirrors.
  • 0 Hide
    Marthian , July 1, 2011 4:15 AM
    I don't think we are going to get a Fallout MMO ~,~
  • 2 Hide
    cburke82 , July 1, 2011 5:57 PM
    Quote:
    I don't think we are going to get a Fallout MMO ~,~

    Or maybe Betherda is trying to bankrupt them so they can make the mmo and all the cash lol
  • 0 Hide
    Enkal , July 5, 2011 3:48 PM
    I'm still sad that Bethesda butchered the Fallout franchise. Bethesda sells poo wrapped in golden paper and I'm dieing every time I see their games getting raving reviews for their graphics when the gameplay cant even live up to Pong. I guess people prefer shiny bling bling to fun. :( 
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