Bethesda terminating Fallout MMORPG deal - Interplay

SEC filing reveals that the Fallout 3 maker and IP holder is ending fallen publisher's massively multiplayer licensing agreement due to "failure to commence full-scale development."

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After years of silence, the Fallout massively multiplayer role-playing game has suddenly become major headline fodder. Two weeks after the once-mighty publisher announced that it had entered into a partnership with Earthrise publisher Masthead Studios to codevelop Project V13, the game's code name, its once-nearly-bankrupt publisher Interplay announced that the project is in jeopardy.

We'd like that MMORPG IP back, please.

In an April 15 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Interplay reports that Bethesda Softworks has announced its intent to cancel the deal that gave Interplay rights to make a Fallout massively multiplayer game. The deal was struck in 2007, when Bethesda--after having licensed the right to make Fallout 3 from Interplay in 2004-- bought the Fallout intellectual property (IP) outright. The Maryland-based company then licensed the Fallout MMORPG rights back to Interplay, provided that the latter company began developing such a project within two years.

Now, according to the 10-K, Bethesda and Interplay's deal is unraveling. "Interplay recently received notice that Bethesda Softworks, LLC ('Bethesda') intends to terminate the trademark license agreement between Bethesda and Interplay which was entered into April 4, 2007 for the development of a Fallout MMOG," states the filing. "Despite the fact that no formal action is currently pending, Bethesda claims that Interplay is in breach of the trademark license agreement for failure to commence full-scale development of same by April 4, 2009 and to secure certain funding for the MMOG."

"Although the potential damages are currently unknown, if Bethesda ultimately prevails and cancels the trademark license agreement, Interplay would lose its license back of the 'Fallout' MMOG and any damages resulting therefrom are unknown at this time."

When asked for comment, Bethesda vice president of marketing Pete Hines declined to elaborate. "As it's a legal matter, none of that is stuff we can comment on," he told GameSpot.

Hines also declined to comment on what would happen if the Fallout MMORPG license were to revert to Bethesda and its parent company, ZeniMax Media. However, it's unlikely that such a prized property would lie fallow for long. In August 2007, ZeniMax announced that it was opening its own MMOG studio, rumored to be working on a massively multiplayer spin-off of Bethesda's popular fantasy RPG series, The Elder Scrolls. In October of that year, the division scored $300 million in funding, although little has been heard about its project--or projects--since.

Discussion

273 comments
SRDET
SRDET

Reply to hollow56771 Any MMO that is going to have any real quality to it is going to require montly fees. There is server upkeep and constant new flow of content that comes out with MMO's. And the average rate would likely be the same as WoW, 15 a month. Which is hardly a stretch. It's one of the cheapest forms of electronic entertainment as it is.

hollow56771
hollow56771

I would've played it even if Fallout 3 didnt come out, as long as i dont have to pay every month like WOW

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

Who can blame them for not wanting it to turn into another Duke Nukem Forever?

scyldschefing
scyldschefing

I find it interesting that the old Fallout games are still available at GOG.com and off of Steam. I might have thought that they would have been taken down as a part of this pending lawsuit...

GETAGIRLFRIEND
GETAGIRLFRIEND

darn smokestackers. i was just thinking and yearning for an mmorg to have one to waste my life on and i immitialy only wanted someithing with fall out. darn it!

wiirkokonuts
wiirkokonuts

To:Lord Havoc Few years back, Interplay went bankrupt. To get themselves out of it, one of the things they did was sell the rights for Fallout to Bethesda for 5 or 6 million dollars. But, in that agreement were several little different agreements. One was that they had until, April 4, 2009, to start an MMOG for Fallout, if they so choosed, and start the project full scale, and they had 4 years from there to finish, and then give 12% of profits to Bethesda. They did, but since it has passed the deadline, it happens to be void for Interplay, having no rights left to Fallout at all. It would of been nice to see Interplay produce FOOL, but obviously that won't happen. But I wonder if ZeniMax can pull it off for, what they're saying, is an MMO for The Elder Scrolls. I guess we wait and see.

Vault_Ausir
Vault_Ausir

@ Lord_Havoc_ You're wrong, Interplay is not the owner of the Fallout franchise anymore, Bethesda is. While they initially only licensed out the rights to make Fallout 3 in 2004, they later sold the rights to the entire franchise to Bethesda in 2007, then licensing the rights to make Falout Online from Bethesda.

moc5
moc5

To: LORD HAVOC All very well friend but on further thought, I would ask myself, 'How do you know this?' Are you an international 'gamer spy' who infiltrated Interplay and Beth Soft headquarters or a world reknown 'Super Hacker?' If you want people to believe what you write you might start with some credentials or referances from where you read this (hopefully somewhere reputable). You see, my friend, we do think, and therefore know that we cant believe everything that we read.

Lord_Havoc_
Lord_Havoc_

Interplay is the owner of the Fallout Title, they sold licence for Fallout 3 to Beth-soft only because that way they would procure money for their Fallout MMO, Beth-Soft screwed them and now Interplay is left with nothing, and being blamed as well, truth be told, Beth-soft still haven't paid the revenues to interplay for the licence, how were they supposed to make the game with no funds ? Beth-soft wasted a lot of time with the games release so generally it's their fault for Interplay not even starting much of the game, but still there is already concept art, and they did start works on games engine, the game will be TPS (Third Person Shooter) like WoW, but the enviroment, weapons, armor, mobs, everything will be more close to the classic Fallout enviroment, for instance, Mutants will not run, altough they will move fast enough to get close to you if they run out of ammo, mobs wil llook for cover unline in F3 when mobs came out of cover to shoot you, AI will be more defensive than offensive, groups of mobs uppon "detecting" player wil lround up and try to ambush players, Perception Stat will do it's works, only if you have high enough perception you will be able to recognise a trap earlier, and it all depends on random roll for perception stat by the party (players), you can't say they didn't start the work, it's just Beth-soft screwed them on money. Seriously, you ppl should think before writing something.

jgdecimus
jgdecimus

Err, didn't realize they were going to make a MMO version of fallout. If its anything like Fallout 3 thats pretty sweet. Too bad though, hopefully they will pass it on to a more able dev.

Egamer30
Egamer30

I dont know much about this kind of thing, but if it were at all possible i would love to see them switch to another company to coproduce this game, because simply I've been let down far too much. I always hear about cool new games that are going to come out in the future and a lot of the time it ends up not even making it to the beta stage. I think if they just found some other company that can keep there word and knows how to get a game done without compromising the quality of the game my gaming life would be perfect, for the next couple years or so at least.

Labouskie
Labouskie

At least we have New Vegas to look forward too, that will help ease the dissapointment of no mmorpg of Fallout. And I dont blame Bethesda one bit for what they are doing. In other words I agree with Phant0m13

Phant0m13
Phant0m13

It's sad to see something like this happen, but unfortunately it's not just about making video games. These companies have reputations to keep so they can provide you with decent material. They must keep these reputations to procure money to fund their development, and sadly when another company doesn't make good on a deal they must back out to find one who will. I wouldn't continue to do business with a company that hasn't started production as planned. On a more personal note, anyone who complains about how there are only eight voice actors for a 1,000 NPC game, then lets see you produce a game. You try and acquire the funding to develope, market, publish and ship a game, and see if you have enough money and time left to pay for 1,000 voice actors or at least more than eight. The fact is that Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout are amazing games, I'm sure their sales will support my statement, and they are large and beautiful games that Bethesda has put a lot of work and money into, to say that they left something out is just saying they fell short of perfect, and everyone knows there is no such thing as perfect. Bethesda has my support and I hope they continue to make the best "nearly perfect games"!

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

I think it would be cool if Bethesda made the MMORPG, simply because I love what they did the Fallout 3. I'm really into MMORPGs, but if Bethesda made it, it would probably be the only one I would play.

moc5
moc5

Uh Shiftfallout? How do you know this? Do you work for Interplay? I mean that was a harsh acusation from a well respected game maker. If you said that about EA (Electronic Arts), I would definatly agree, Bethesda I have enough respect for to question your credibility.

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

I predicted this. Bethesda is a snake, after the company take over by Zenimax, it became more of a corrupt and immoral type of company. Bethesda did some underhand dealings to get the Fallout franchise, in order to keep interplay quiet they gave them unreasonable conditions to making the fallout mmorpg, which interyplay was trying to do before the franchise got taken. Bethesda didnt think Interplay would make any progress on that front, and when they did, they showed their true colors and are trying to void the contract. They never expected interplay to make a game with "their precious money making franchise", and they will do everything within their power to prevent that from happening, regardless of the contract. They never intended to honor the deal.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

The fact that Fallout: New Vegas is going to use the Fallout (or Oblivion really) Engine, I now have a few more doubts about it.Oblivion was a by-product of 'consolization', you only have to look at the 'making of' video on You Tube to see what it was going to be before they decided to go to console simultaneously. Because of console, the radiant AI was only half of what they were planning. Because of console they used 8 voice actors an one hour's music for a game that had 1,000 NPC's and 100 hours gameplay! In the YT video's most of the NPC voices aren't in the finished game, and they said Lynda Carter was to do the Nord voices only and she ended up doing the Orcs and others! Bethesda then went on to use the same voice actors from a fantasy game and used them in a Sci-Fi game. The Oblivion engine stands for 'consolization' as much as Morrowind and prior Elder Scrolls shout 'PC First!'. So Obsidian using the Oblivion/Fallout engine worries me. Worries me that despite their best efforts we will get another dumber Fallout than we would otherwise get.

Newps15
Newps15

COME ON does everything good have to be an MMO they tried to do it to Halo. they are doing it with kotor(knights of the old republic Star Wars) Now Fallout Come on stop it already Wow will be the only one that does it right stop trying to be like them

JohnnyDrama8
JohnnyDrama8

I want a Fallout MMORPG playable on XBOX or PS3 please.

dbpvivi
dbpvivi

So the original developers are being closed down by the people that remade the game. LOL! This world has gone made. I hated Bethesda for the beginning, this just puts the icing on the cake. Fallout 3 sucked. The story was weak, the gameplay stank of oblivion, the ending was rushed, the DLC's are expensive not to mention a waste of time. I say make the MMO anyway, if Bethesda where to have a successful game closed down the pirates will just run them to the ground and we wouldn't have to go through another elder scrolls game; good riddance.

kannoff_316
kannoff_316

I do believe this game never did get the plug pulled. Obsidian Entertainment is an offshoot of Black Isle Studios (this is for you BlackBaldwin) therefore this game is being put in very able hands, of those who had been in charge of the previous Fallout games. Now (BlackBaldwin) Interplay did publish the first two Fallout games, so in your assertion that Interplay is a "poser" company I'll simply state that they were partially responsible for the intellectual property's take-off in the first place.

CyberMegaWolf
CyberMegaWolf

I agree with BlackBaldwin, Fallout 3 had a decent story but the gameplay just reminded me of Elder Scrolls. @jknight5422: I agree that fallout 3 would make a terrible MMO, its way to small and the gameplay is first-person(third person is a joke). If you haven't, play fallout 2(for nostalgic value) then play fallout tactics(for the gameplay). I rarely see anyone play online anymore with tactics, but when people did, they played on maps that basically puts the players in a town and let their characters Role Play. The community called them "RP maps"(go figure) and while the most we could have in one game was 16, the maps were still very fun and enjoyable. My point is the fallout universe is perfect for an MMOG. The creators just need to keep the fallout gameplay. P.S I will never consider Fallout 3 as an addition to the fallout universe. Fallout 3 is a toddler's game compared the others.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

I HAD A POST THAT HAS DISAPPEARED! I re:quote: "even though we don't know anything about this game, we have posters saying 'it'll be great' and others saying 'it'll be crap'. All I want to say is the game is based in the Fallout world and it is being developed by designers/programmers that worked on the Fallout's. Based on those two facts alone I hope the best for this game!"

desolation00
desolation00

For those expecting a super massive world to get little populations for a Fallout MMO, World of Warcraft doesn't have 11 million players in one game world. World of Warcraft uses hundreds of servers, dividing the populations into far more managable chunks, and still rarely without lag due to overpopulation. Add more servers, get smaller populations on any one server. The real trick is how do you manage to get the human interactivity that MMO's rely on, while maintaining the desolate atmosphere of a true Fallout game. Even World of Warcraft sometimes runs into this issue of underpopulation for parts of it's game. Even if there are a ton of people on your server, enough to cause major lag and queues to log on, it can still be hell to find a good guild that matches your playstyle and the time you're able to raid or do other playing.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

I think the news is a good thing really. I really don't like Bethesha nor do I like interplay either. Black isle should have been the ones to do something with the franchise not these two poser companies. Fallout 3 very successful yes, but... Not really a fallout game... To me the game was like a morrow wind game redesigned to impersonate fallout as a first person or lame third person shooter game. Lets just hope the Elder Scroll online teaches Bethesda not to over reach its abilities...

jknight5422
jknight5422

There is a post-apocalypse MMO already out. It's called Fallen Earth. I downloaded the beta but haven't really played with it much. So anyone that needs a post-nuke MMO is covered already. Personally, I don't think MMOs work for a post-nuke environment, it's better as a single-player novel-like story. For instance, I've been playing Fallout 3 since last November, that would have been $15 a month for the past 6 months if it had started as an MMO, so I've saved a lot of cash with buying the game in November & being able to enjoy a very lengthy single-player story mode. Let's face it, some kinds of games just don't lend themselves to becoming an MMO.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

well it sucks but it wouldn't have been a great idea anyway. The Barren wasteland filled with thousands of noobs wouldn't feel right. One way they could've done it would be by making an entire Fallout Earth, and when you sign up you were placed in your home town or your home country, with every capital city for every state everywhere running a server and every state or country had a different set of quests to do and stuff. But something that epic and huge would take like 50-100 years and cost trillions of dollars. That would be the only way to do it and stop it from being crowded, but that'll never happen. a TES MMO would work, considering the format and type of world its set in.

CaptainMuse
CaptainMuse

I would much rather they have a elder scrolls MMORPG

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

thank you thank YOU i swear to god the LAST thing we need is another mmo that won't really try what WoW has already done (which im not a big fan of) but really.. WoW has literally made it a living world... 11 million ppl!? holy hell ... good luck trying to get just half of that with any other MMO, guild wars for a free service is doing great tho =P

parricc
parricc

If you are outraged by Bethesda doing this, sign this petition. Technically, we cannot do anything about it, but hopefully if enough people sign this, it would at least get them to reconsider. Anyway, it only takes about 5 seconds to submit. :P [url]http://www.petitiononline.com/vault13/petition.html[/url]

DFalcon999
DFalcon999

Ha! I knew it! Good for you Bethesda, don't let Herve Caen and his cronies hurt Fallout anymore.

blowtrees
blowtrees

Anybody who's followed the Fallout franchise saw this one coming. The shame is that Interplay didn't even put in enough work to have teaser screens like Proj. Van Buren did, this thing died before it left the paper. When will Interplay realize they are not a viable publisher anymore? Cut your losses and go home. Bethesda is well within it's legal rights to squash the MMO and obtain full rights to all things Fallout. I'd have preferred a Black Isle endevour, but at least now it's all the more likely a project will get done. Bethesda doesn't make MMO games, so we're in unfamiliar waters now. Here's hoping they learn a great deal from any Elder Scrolls Online, before they rush a Fallout project together.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

The sad state of affairs is that games now called roleplaying games are what I, 10 years ago called Action Adventures. From Mass Effect to Jade Empire to Bioshock to STALKER, we get shooters now called RPG's, we get fighting games that are called RPG's and we get a game that is 50% linear third person shooter called an RPG. The problem is getting RPG's that ARE RPG's in any sense at all, never mind what sort of RPG's we want to be made! :(

cecpunkrock
cecpunkrock

Under the right circumstances a Fallout MMO could have been really cool, I am just not convinced that technology today could make the game what it should be. I personally think the world in it would have to be much larger than other MMO worlds.

mine20000
mine20000

It isn't Bethesda that is doing this to Interplay, they were given a deal when they sold the IP to Bethesda, you have 2 years to come up with at least the funding for Project: V13 and now that time is up, it is a legal matter, and one of which us, fallout fans can reap the benefits of when ZeniMax's new MMO studio releases an incredible game

Hazzerz
Hazzerz

Don't sweat it Bethesda. The Fallout MMO was gonna suck big time. It was a horrible idea to begin with. Best to distance yourself from it now.

StealthUS1
StealthUS1

I see everyones point about how it would look if the "barren wastelands" were full of hundreds of noobs running around. I guess they are just going to have to make the world so expansive to negate that.

wrednajasobaka
wrednajasobaka

dentedhalo: I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about this. Interplay's seeds of undoings were sown long before they closed BIS in 2004. Right after Fallout 2 release in 1998 Interplay couldn't come to agreement with key developers behind Fallout so they left. But you are right about me oversimplifying things. After all, if Fallout designers didn't leave BIS we would never have Troika (Bloodlines) and then Obsidian Ent. (KOTOR1&2, NW1&2 ). So maybe it worked out well after all. As for as my dislike for Interplay... As you pointed out, Troika didn't sell enough games, couldn't get funding so they went bankrupt. BIS and number of other developers got closed down. Yet Interplay continues operating and getting second chances despite not being able to develop/publish any game recently. The only reason why Interplay is still afloat is the 5.75 million (I was wrong before with 1 mil figure) they got for Fallout license. I hope you can see the bitter irony of it all and why I have no love for Interplay.

dentedhalo
dentedhalo

@wrednajasobaka Again, vastly over simplifying reality...... Van Buren wasnt almost complete and was at least a year away from shelves (likely much more). Interplay have been/were in the business for long enough to recognise that they couldnt pin their hopes on Fallout 3 being ready before they were closed..... moreover, they would have realised that they couldnt afford to actually publish and ship the game. My understanding if things is that it all happened pretty quickly and they had to shutter Black Isle...... i agree this was misguided as fallout would have been the best bet for their furture but I imagine they knew that as well..... it just isnt fair to say they closed black isle cos they just wanted to save their own back ends As for troika thats another matter entierly.... apart from the fact there was no confirmation that this was van buren they went bust because their games were badly recieved and they couldnt get funding..... its streaching things a little to say van buren had 2 chances on that basis alone...... Bethesda owns van buren now and they could easily finish it and release it... it might have taken black isle a while to complete it back in the early part of the decade but i cant imagine Bethesda would be pushed too hard to finish it now. I just dont understand your dislike of Interplay.... the loss of van buren and black isle were very unfortunate but your talking like interplay planned to kill them both off and, apart from that being illogical, theres nothing to support that view

jordan1
jordan1

fallout + mmorpg = a bad idea... the idea of a wasteland thats supposed to be deserted filled with online people doesn't sound pleasing.. how about making fallout 4 please?...

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

You can sort of tell the console gamers from the PC gamers and you can tell the 'new' gamers from the 'old gamers'. It's one thing to look back at what Interplay 'seemed' to be like, and another being an avid gamer 'while' Interplay were alive and thriving! This isn't just about Interplay and Bethesda, this is also about the sad fact that you now have to say, that to get another deep, isometric Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment or Fallout RPG you will probably have to look to the indie publishers, not the AAA publishers, that, let's face it, don't seem to care about PC gaming as a whole any more, let alone caring the way they are being asked to below!

King_Wii
King_Wii

I think it comes down to one major thing... regardless of who makes it all I want to do is see a good Fallout MMO one day.

B-SNiZ
B-SNiZ

all I got out of that confusing article is that one company helped the other and the other didn't do enough.

wrednajasobaka
wrednajasobaka

dentedhalo: They didn't sell BIS earlier because they hoped they would develop the Fallout 3 and make more money on it. Don't forget that when BIS was shuttered down they were pretty far into development of project Van Buren, which was to become Fallout 3. What's interesting is that Troika games, which was established by members of original Fallout team, was also working on its version of Fallout 3 when it went bankrupt. Clearly, isometric Fallout 3 had two chances and simply was not meant to be.

Skull-Fire
Skull-Fire

The first time I hear about a Fallout MMO is its cancelation... awessome o.o

toadman682000
toadman682000

I really hope Interplay makes it, they are the only ones that have the ability to make Descent IV or Freespace 3 :(

wahyudil
wahyudil

hmmm .... MMORPG is the best and the most stable game business today .... I believe Bethesda won't miss that chance even its mean to force take it from Interplay ...

dentedhalo
dentedhalo

@ wrednajasobaka in fairness, if selling BIS would have gotten them more money then they would likely have sold it..... it just doesnt make sense that they held BIS till the end and then sold Fallout later just because.... its really not that simple...... if it had been then i imagine they would have sold it and saved the company.... lets remember they went totally under for a period and their entire reputation was almost totally destroyed... if they could have just sold BIS there and then i cant think why they wouldnt!