Bethesda puts Fallout IP in vault

Three years after landing the rights to the futuristic RPG series, Oblivion developer now owns the property itself; Interplay to continue with Fallout-branded MMOG.

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It's been long known that Bethesda Softworks is working on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi role-playing game Fallout 3--which is rumoured to be coming to the Xbox 360--some might have forgotten that Interplay is also planning a Fallout massively multiplayer online game, due in 2010.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission ruling this week uncovered by fan site No Mutants Allowed, Bethesda has bought the exclusive rights to the Fallout brand, for a sum of $5.75 million. Previously, the company had only licensed the rights to make a game, while Interplay retained ownership of the Fallout IP.

Under the terms of the agreement, Interplay will still be allowed to go ahead with its MMOG game, although "all the rights, titles, and interest" to Fallout are now the sole property of Bethesda. So, in essence, now Interplay is licensing the Fallout MMOG rights from Bethesda.

Under the terms of the deal, the Fallout MMOG will be not playable in a single-player mode or offline in any way--it will require some kind of monthly subscription, and a minimum of 10,000 subscribers. On top of that, the license specifically states that the game must only be for non-console platforms like the PC or Mac, and not use any console online services such as Xbox Live.

The Fallout MMOG might not be out until around 2013, however. The contract states that the project must be commercially launched within four years of the development commencement date, which could start any time within the next two years.

The original game, Fallout, was released in 1997 for the PC as an unofficial sequel to the 1987 game Wasteland. It was set after a series of nuclear explosions had devastated the world and people survived by living in huge underground vaults. A sequel, Fallout 2, followed in 1998, along with various spin-offs, including Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 in 2004.

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