Bethesda drops Interplay lawsuit? (Answer: no)

[UPDATE] Erroneous reports circulate of a settlement in long-running legal dispute over massively multiplayer online installment of Fallout.

Source: A post on Duck and Cover that cited an Interplay investor, parroted endlessly throughout the gaming news sphere.

What we heard: Ever since September, Interplay and Bethesda Softworks have been tangled in a legal dispute over the rights to make a massively multiplayer online game using the Fallout brand. When Bethesda acquired the rights to the series from Interplay in April of 2007, one of the conditions was that Interplay be allowed to continue working on its own Fallout MMOG, provided it begin full-scale development within two years.

Interplay has released little info on its Fallout MMOG aside from concept art like this.

The day before that two-year window was up, Interplay announced a deal with Bulgarian developer Masthead Studios to develop the game. Unmoved, Bethesda terminated Interplay's license to make the project that same month. The pair brought their dispute into court when Bethesda filed suit against its partner last September, and Interplay responded in kind the following month.

That fight has been simmering for a year, but today's news from Duck and Cover suggested it had finally come to an end, with the two parties reaching a settlement that would clear the way for Interplay to make the Fallout MMOG. An examination of the court filings confirmed that the only movement on the case this week was a dismissal that both parties agreed to.

However, it wasn't a dismissal of each other's claims; it was a dismissal of a Bethesda appeal on the judge's refusal to issue a preliminary injunction against Interplay. The injunction, originally denied by the judge in December, only sought to stop Interplay from trading on the Fallout brand, specifically through the continued sale of the original Fallout, its sequel, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel.

So Bethesda and Interplay have come to an agreement on that one aspect of the case, or possibly Bethesda just didn't want to continue fighting for an injunction. But nothing has been filed in the case to suggest that the larger dispute over the Fallout MMOG has been settled.

The official story: Lawyers and representatives with Interplay and Bethesda had not returned GameSpot's request for comment as of press time. However, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made yesterday by Interplay acknowledged the dismissal of the appeal. It also clearly states, "Interplay will continue to defend its rights and to pursue its Counter-Claims against Bethesda, for among other things, Breach of Contract and Declaratory Judgment and an award of damages, attorney fees, and other relief."

[UPDATE] "Bethesda Softworks voluntarily dismissed its appeal as that related only to a preliminary injunction, not a complete resolution. All claims in Bethesda's complaint against Interplay remain pending in their entirety and will be pursued actively." -- Bethesda rep.

Bogus or not bogus?: It's not over yet. Bogus.

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114 comments
RJWidowMaker
RJWidowMaker

Bethesda stated in the license agreement that Interplay did not have the right to sell sub licensing rights. Interplay did so anyways (along with alot of other broken terms) and in doing so it says in the contract that all rights to anything fallout automaticaly forfeit to Bethesda. Interplay is in the wrong on a legal level, without breaking the rules, they would not have reached the 2 year deadline.

Leir_Bag
Leir_Bag

@nathan83 xp Sorry, i missunderstood. Well, that makes Bethesda even righter.

nathan83_xp
nathan83_xp

@Leir_Bag Bethesda did not take anything, Interplay just ran out of time

Leir_Bag
Leir_Bag

I don't know why every Fallout 1 and 2 fanboy hates Bethesda and Fallout 3. Really, they pumped Fallout to the top, made a greate plot, so immersive as the classics Fallouts and with a game engine that has plenty of new stuff while keeping the good taste of Fallout. @01-cannon-mpc: Agreed. Rules are rules, the rights are with Bethesda and there is nothing to discuss. Bethesda did something bad though, taking of that two year time from Interplay, but nothing unacceptable, it is something that a lot of industries would have done to keep thgeir business alive. @SirMordredX & Chickenesta: I'm sorry, but SirMordredX is right in everything he said. Interplay and BIS could be divisions of a same corporation, but that doesn't work like it's the same peaple. Black isle studio was independent, though. And yes, Bethesda has all capacity to make a great Fallout MMOG, as it has proven to be capable with a lot of games. Anyway, i am hoping that Bethesda wins (and that this MMOG comes out soon).

mull20641
mull20641

Thanks a lot Bethesda, if they keep this up then we'll never see v13

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

Well reguardles of true or not im chearing for Betesda and think Interplay is being imature, childish and stupid. I hope Bethesda wins the battle.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

@chikenesta Ok, let's get this straight. Brian Fargo founded Interplay, while Feargus Urquhart founded Black Isle [he and most of the other Black Isle employees founded Obsidian, who is making New Vegas]; they are very related; but they are seperate in terms of what they do. Interplay is a "Publisher", which means they put up the production costs for, market and distribute the game to retailers. Black Isle, develop games, which means they create the product itself; the story, the art, the characters, the history. ETC. When a publisher funds something, that does not mean it creates it; it pays someone else to. It doesn't come up with the ideas even...the dev does. Now judging from what you just said, I now realize why you are being so unreasonable; you obviously hate consoles; PC supremacy. The game is for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 - not one is different. If that's not enough for you, then have a listen to what LEVEL have to say in their PC review: "Great story, flawless combat system, and the option to choose your own way makes it a hot candidate for game of the year." Also, you don't "Die" at the end and that's final; you can "CHOOSE" to sacrafice yourself, or you can send another in to sacrafice themself, OR you can insert Eden's FEV into the water system and come out alive...

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

@SirMordredX BIS WAS INTERPLAY, it was founded and funded by the same coffers and I'm fairly certain was based at the same offices, they are the same thing lol, how are you continuing to argue with fact? The story was crap and lacked substence, they admitted that dying at the end was bad story telling and people were up in arms about it. I'm not overly concerned with what a console magazine has to say about a PC title :D This will be my last reply on the matter as comments aren't a place for private arguements to take place, however I'd more than welcome the chance to carry this on in private.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

@Chickenesta Man, you're pretty ignorant; and you let your opinion get the best of yourself. Okay, I KNOW what a corporate divison is - but that doesn't change anything, it's just as I said - Interplay PUBLISHED it, they NEVER developed it; it's on the record; sure they had power and influence over the project, but they never had the overall say over exactly how the game was made. Secondly, another point that shows your ignorance about the industry; Visceral games was not "bought out" by EA - it WAS EA, until it made Dead Space, and subsequently renamed itself [nothing more or less] "Visceral Games", it was never a separate entity; it was originally known as "Redwood Shores". Finally, you say that no reviews praised the story? Just head over to Metacritic and prepare to have your deluded view crushed. Example: Xbox 360 World: 100/100: "Games this captivating do not come along often. Between its engrossing story, ginormous world, well-crafted RPG side, and white-knuckle FPS combat, Fallout 3 completely, utterly gives you your $60 worth."

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

@SirMordredX No they were part of the same company hence Interplays ability to shut the studio down when things went wrong financially... Crikey talk about grasping at straws for arguements sake. For your education I'll post the defition of what a corporate division is, "A division of a business entity is a portion of that business that operates under a different name. It is the equivalent of a corporation or limited liability company obtaining a fictitious name or "doing business as" certificate and operating a business under that fictitious name" and please note Interplay FOUNDED BIS, they didn't aquire them in a buy out like EA did with all their studios. Oh and for the record, I don't think ANY reviews praised FO3's story line, how can you claim moral victory here when they failed so miserably to create a decent Fallout story line, you even had to pay money to play on beyond where they kill off your character, that's great story telling that is.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

@Chickenesta Maybe, but they were still seperate; just like EA games is not Visceral, but they are still the benefactor. Even more, everyone who was involved with the Fallout franchise have left Interplay little by little over the years; there may be a couple of artists still there...but none of the prime devs. Kind of like what happened with Infinity Ward. The flesh is still there, but the heart is gone. Oh, and according to most all reviewers and millions of users alike, F3 was a brilliant game, so Bethsoft did technically succeed.

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

@SirMordredX ""there's no knowledge to prove that they will make a quality game in the Fallout universe" Bethesda made FO3, but theres still nothing to prove they can make a quality game in the Fallout universe, oh they're brilliant at rehashing old engines and other peoples ideas but a QUALITY Fallout game...? I haven't seen them do that yet. And for the record Black Isle Studios who made the originals were a division of Interplay, they weren't a seperate developer based at a different location, so yeah Interplay did fund AND develop Fallout 1 & 2.

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

@Chickenesta My god you're sinical, it's the obvious answer to why they started this lawsuit, but in my opinion and experience not all publishers/devs who do well only care about money and not about the franchise itself; maybe in the movie industry, but come on; interplay never developed a Fallout game before, only published them - there's no knowledge to prove that they will make a quality game in the Fallout universe, if I was Bethesda I'd probably do the same.

Chickenesta
Chickenesta

@Brook_tno You do know Bethesda will cash in on the MMO if Interplay don't...Bethesda aren't stopping Interplays attempts at developing an MMO because "it'd ruin a good single player game", they want to make it themselves or licence it to someone else who'll give them a bigger slice of the profits!

firedemon1
firedemon1

I don't care who makes it, I just think a online fallout world would be fun.

itameq
itameq

Fallout 3 was only fun the first time though, then its just the same thing again and again, like oblivion :)

Brook_tno
Brook_tno

I really hope Bethesda stops Interplay. Nothing kills a great single player game like MMORPG. Just think of Warcraft. An AWSOME RTS with great story. When was the last time we had new single player content from that? It all came to a halt as soon as WOW came out. The last thing that's needed is another story branching Fallout in a different direction. All of a sudden New Vegas come out, and then a MMORPG that says all the story is different, and the things from Fallout 3 and NV didn't happen because Interplay dosn't have the rights to use it, and now an awsome game, an awsome world to create storys from is twisted and unclear. Interplay solf Fallout, they want to make a post-nuke wasteland MMO, call it something else.

Crono21
Crono21

Because Bethesda sucks. Interplay didn't sell their rights for a Fallout MMO and Bethesda is trying to bully them out of it. Hopefully Interplay wins and gets the Fallout franchise back.

Armyboy5
Armyboy5

But everyone wants Oblivion V!!!!! Or Oblivion V13 :P

comachrissie
comachrissie

I'm just excited about whatever Bethesda releases next, which I guess is Fallout New Vegas. After Oblivion and Fallout 3 I'll happily pay to try anything they produce.

Qiynah
Qiynah

@discobird I'd sooner say that Oblivion and Fallout 3 were 'Morrowind clones' heavily exploiting the 2002 Elder Scrolls engine and that by now they do have a foothold in the MMO market. The promise of an Elder Scrolls MMO has been apparent since the success of Morrowind, but that was eight years ago. They haven't been asleep since November 2004 -- surely they're ready to take on the MMO market.

Discobird
Discobird

Does Bethesda really want to get into the risky MMOG market? I think they'd be better off exploiting their existing engine to stamp out "Oblivion clones" until they could get a foothold in the market. The success of WoW is inspiring, but most MMOGs fail before they get that far.

Khatjal
Khatjal

@ Keiner I agree completely. Don't go the MMO route, concetrate on amazing open world single player games, or even SPG's with a co-op option. The MMO thing has been done ad nauseum with other IP's and just aren't worth it as a gamer, in my opinion.

Keiner
Keiner

I say nay to the MMO idea but I would support a co-op, 4 players if possible. That would be sweet a fallout game as a multiplayer game. I think the whole fallout experience will crumble, if 40+ people were running about jumping and shooting things and acting stupid about it. I don't really support MMO Fallout

pudgexd
pudgexd

Well as long as there isn't a subscription monthly fee , Im probably getting this if the reviews are high.

p0p0d0m
p0p0d0m

i agree with everyone

dragonwolf76
dragonwolf76

I think they should let them make the game,Fallout BOS wasn't that bad. Let the make it.F#$^*%&^ it.

Backlash24
Backlash24

I have to agree with sleepychicken on this one ... it's a long way away ... As for the actual news post ... well, we'll have to see what happens ...

darkfall_225
darkfall_225

Elder Scrolls V as a MMO? When I heard they might be going in that direction for the next installment, my excitement diminished. Being a single player rpg was a strong feature, so why take that away?

Immortal_Zarok
Immortal_Zarok

I don't really care about MMO games. They're all seem pretty much the same.

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Guys, I wouldn't hold my breath for a new Elderscrolls any time soon. It's likely going to be a next-gen system game. Probably a system launch day game this time. I doubt we'll ever see two ES games on one generation of consoles.

K-Grogg
K-Grogg

I just want Elderscrolls V already...what's the point of another Fallout game if it uses the same engine? Mods have already made FO3 lightyears better than anything they could add in another sequel. =(

xGlenn11x
xGlenn11x

@ ated505 That is the million dollar question. I don't expect that to happen unfortunately until after Fallout: New Vegas releases this fall. That is unfortunately the only chance I think it has as much as I hate saying that. I just hope Bethesda continues making the games. I love the Fallout 3 engine, as well as the Elder Scrolls IV engine. I just hope through this long dispute, they don't bring those properties in. I could care less about MMOs being made.

memrie
memrie

@robram9 Why so sensitive? You are the one explaining to people what an IP is. Which is great, you are trying to help educate people who may not quite "get it". But when you get called out... See the hypocrisy? If I wanted to be an a** I could argue against your opinion on Interplay, but I kind of agree with you, so I only corrected your facts. Not a big deal.

robram9
robram9

@memrie Ok you are right, are you happy now?? Because apparently it means a lot to you to prove somebody wrong on an internet forum, congratulations on your achievement...

memrie
memrie

@Zalker74 - YUP! It takes about 10 minutes to read the whole agreement. Then look up what is being disputed and you can see where things aren't so black and white.

Zalker74
Zalker74

As you say Memrie, its even stated in the article! Are people commenting without even reading the article? ''one of the conditions was that Interplay be allowed to continue working on its own Fallout MMOG, provided it begin full-scale development within two years'' Gogo Interplay! Wonder how a MMOG of Fallout would look like ^_^

memrie
memrie

@robram9 - You and so many other on this board CLEARLY have not read the agreement between Bethesda and Interplay. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1057232/000117091807000324/0001170918-07-000324.txt You said, "To everyone defending Interplay, do you even know what IP means? in case you don't, it means Intellectual Property, the key word here is property, which Interplay sold to Bethesda, so you tell me who is in the wrong here when Interplay is trying to develop and profit from something that doesn't belongs to them anymore..." Yet notice in item 1.01, "Under the License Back the Company obtained an exclusive license, under certain conditions, to use the IP for the purpose of developing an Interplay branded Fallout Massively Multiplayer Online Game ("MMOG")." The "license Back" is a trademark license agreement allowing Interplay to make this game. This agreement was a condition of the purchase for the Fallout Intellectual Property by Bethesda. Interplay didn't just steal this IP and begin making a Fallout game. This was known by both parties and planned from the moment the deal was signed. Do your research and stop mimicking posters who aren't posting facts!!! Print off the SEC filing and have a look at it all, its 15 pages and will give insight to everyone here the intricacies of this legal battle.

Shaun373
Shaun373

Announcing on day 729 of your 730 day limit that you have negotiated with another developing studio does not full scale development make. Strikes me as a stall tactic by Interplay to keep from having to give up the license on the MMO. But that's for a judge or jury to decide. To the courts!!!!

Guannoboy
Guannoboy

Hmm...don't know who to think is right here. It does say "full scale development", and it's hard to consider a one day progress as full scale. No doubt, Bethesda will more likely make the better MMO. It is somewhat odd that a day before the two year window, Interplay makes an announcement. It makes it seem more like they are trying to hold on to the rights as long as possible. MMO take a lot of money to make, at least a good one. Interplay would have had a stronger case had they declared an MMO earlier.

solidbond1
solidbond1

I think that Bethesda should make mmo of elder scrolls and release it the same day Interplay release their Fallout mmo. We all know Interplay hasn't made a good game in how long, heck half the games they made back in the day were crap they got lucky with Fallout, as it is they screwed up most of the early star trek games. Besides we all know Bethesda would win they make better games.

Opedreee
Opedreee

In my opinion Interplay is "right to make the MMOG", it was settled, but I guess Bethesda could make it better! Why in place of bitting each other they don't make the game together?

Trogeton
Trogeton

@ dkpunk lol thanks for the correction

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

@diabloakaSAHA Look what happened to Warcraft? What, made one of the most popular franchises ever even MORE popular? THE AUDACITY OF THOSE PEOPLE

dkpunk
dkpunk

@Trogeton It would be Elder Scrolls V ;)

Tornesol
Tornesol

Bethesda need to make the mmo.. They just have to. I dont mean that the old FO is bad and I dont have anything against Interplay. But Bethesda made FO3 to good.. And making a FO3;ish mmo would be.. umm I dont know? F*%"¤ EPIC!!

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

just look what happenend to warcraft since world of warcraft. Perhaps interplay is planning on driving the franchise to the ground rather than handing over their baby to someone who has potential to a better job than them . :)

MaccyMan
MaccyMan

Interplay need's to just give up, I can't believe that they are making very much money right now.