Interplay staves off Fallout MMORPG shutdown

Court denies Bethesda's preliminary injunction request to prevent franchise creator from making, selling iconic postapocalyptic games.

Interplay has been a company against the ropes for more than a couple of years at this point, but the publisher has been able to remain on its feet thanks largely to the continuing popularity of the Fallout franchise. However, in September, Interplay's claim to the Fallout franchise, which it launched in 1997, came into question, after current license holder Bethesda Softworks leveled a bevy of breach-of-contract charges at the ailing publisher.

Project V13 remains a work in progress.

Over the weekend, however, Interplay won a victory of sorts in its legal wrangling with Bethesda. The US District Court of Maryland denied Bethesda's request for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Interplay from continuing development on its massively multiplayer online role-playing game installment in the Fallout franchise, code-named Project V13. The preliminary injunction would have also prevented Interplay from continuing to sell Fallout-branded products such as Fallout Trilogy, Fallout Collection, and Saga Fallout.

The Fallout MMORPG is a serious point of contention in Bethesda's lawsuit. When Bethesda purchased the Fallout license for $5.75 million in 2007, it licensed the rights to make an MMORPG based on the franchise back to Interplay. However, the license came with the stipulation that Interplay had to start full-time development within two years. In April, Bethesda opted to revoke the Fallout MMORPG rights, just as Interplay had entered into a development deal on the project with Masthead Studios, concept art for which recently surfaced.

While the court's decision to deny Bethesda's preliminary injunction can be considered a win for Interplay, the beleaguered publisher is still facing the prospect of permanently losing its rights to Fallout. As part of its original suit, Bethesda is demanding that the court formally declare that Interplay no longer has any rights to the Fallout name or trademark. It also wants the court to place a permanent injunction on Interplay to stop it from selling any Fallout-branded products. Further, it wants Interplay to submit in writing a declaration that it no longer has any rights to the Fallout brand.

Interplay responded to Bethesda's suit in October with a counterclaim of its own. The countersuit claims that Bethesda violated the terms of the trademark licensing agreement and the asset purchase agreement, which were both entered into in April 2007. Interplay has requested that the court recognize that it still has the licensing rights to make a Fallout MMORPG. In the alternative, the publisher seeks that Bethesda's purchasing agreement from 2007 be rescinded and that all Fallout rights return to Interplay.

The company has also petitioned the court to award it royalties it would be due under Bethesda's original licensing agreement from 2004, a figure it estimates at $15 million thanks to the highly successful Fallout 3.

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271 comments
RJWidowMaker
RJWidowMaker

@ Lord_Xander Actually, you are incorrect.. Unfortunately this article above is not providing all the info. "Quote" RJWidowMaker Posted Oct 27, 2010 12:35 am PT Bethesda didn't even start the lawsuit over the mmo to begin with, they first gave Interplay a few warnings, and even tried to contact them with no success. The "final straw" if you will, was when Interplay sold the sub licensing rights to be able to meet the dead line. But since they broke the rules to be able to meet the dead line, they never legally met the dead line. In summary Interplay agreed in the original that they would break none of the rules, and the agreement states that if they did that ALL (that means MMO and 1&2 as well) of the licenses would then belong to Bethesda. You say I am just repeating myself and in a form, yes, I am. But only because I have presented proof and yet you seem not to see it. I posted the links to the suit files and as well the License agreement. IT'S ALL THERE. http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Bethesda_v._Interplay http://www.scribd.com/doc/21993516/Bethesda-Softworks-LLC-v-Interplay-Entertainment-Corporation-Complaint http://yahoo.brand.edgar-online.com/displayfilinginfo.aspx?FilingID=6543575-1076-225118&type=sect&dcn=0001170918-09-000147 http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13515 "end quote"

Lord_Xander
Lord_Xander

Lets face it Bethesda agreed MMO rights before they knew how well the fallout series would do and now they've turned into a bunch of greedy bastards and decided to try to steal it back, it has nothing to do with failure on Interplay's part merely greed on Bethesda's, jeez those types sicken me, less greedy scum sucking type cases like this and maybe more serious cases might actually be heard without waiting years.

ragnos1138
ragnos1138

How about i make this simeple. Interplay can sell and profit from its games previous to Fallout 3. Bethesda sells and profits from Fallout 3 and onward. I dont see why Bethesda, Interplay, and obsidion (since alot of original Fallout team work there) cant work together and profit equally from an Epic post apocalyptic mmo of Fallout. i just think it would make sense if they found a way to use the Fallout 3 engine to work as an mmo and then interplay can write the story and stuff while obsidion handles the gameplay. In my oppinion both companys needs to STFU and work together to make an mmo fallout game worth the multi million dollars thy will earn from it.

00ooPolarisoo00
00ooPolarisoo00

heywowlookitsme, I feel the same. if TOR comes out before the Fallout MMO though, Fallout would have to be realllllly good to get me to leave TOR...

heywowlookitsme
heywowlookitsme

I am looking forward to SWTOR more than a Fallout MMO, but I guess well see what happens. Hope its going to be epic

klearlyc
klearlyc

Personally I think Bethesda should have time stamp when a finalize MMO would be released onto the market under the purchase agreement in 2007. I thank Interplay for releasing FO1 and 2 and introducing us the to the fallout universe which has remained very nostalgic for me since playing it back in 1997. In fairness Interplay, drop your stupid act. You have no games, no workforce for at least half a decade. If you wanted to bring your books back to the black you should have asked for a higher price back in 2007. Now you cry because Bethsoft has created a very marketable product (FO3) and has pocketed good money. If you were smart you would have revised the original 2004 licensed agreement and not outright sell the IP. However, you did and I thank Bethsoft for reviving and revitalizing the franchise for all the fans. Too bad Interplay, you made a bad play and now you have to suck it up. Personally I don't want a bad MMO to saturate the franchise and ruin any possibility of a FO4 in the future.

thcloco
thcloco

I tried fallout 2 when it first came out but never really got in to it. Everybody around me did, but i mostly just listened to how great it was. Anyway, when i grabbed fallout 3 i played it with very few expectations, and it is a great game. The graphics that some people praise as the only thing that made the game seem like a great game is a one of the few serious complaints i have on it, i hated the lack of color in the game. Fans of old movies or games want their remakes and sequels to be exactly like the old ones, and personally, i never take fans opinions seriously. As for the lawsuit, no matter what you think about Fallout 3, Interplay no longer has any legal rights when it comes to the fallout franchise.

hadephobiac
hadephobiac

The way in which fallout 3 is praised despite ignoring every important aspect of a game's mechanics is pushing games against the ropes, as innovation, genius and hard work is ignored in place of good graphics. And is an insult to true gamers who do not play video games as if it were an interactive movie. Fallout 3 will, and will never be praised for being a good game to anyone with half of a view, yet indisputably it is a fun and amazing experience. Not as a game, but nothing more than a shallow film using ideas ripped off from a true game which took RPG gameplay to a true innovative level.

hadephobiac
hadephobiac

Think of 5 unique things that fallout 3 did and aspects of it you enjoyed. Now realise that 99% of the time, at least 4/5 of those things will be from fallout 1/2. Evident from the dialogue, 0 story development, lack of plot, close to no story emersion. The success behind fallout 3 is not as a fallout game, but rather oblivion with guns with ideas / mechanics they had to pay $5.75million for. Even then, they still butcher, fail at the aspects they do steal. For example, the SPECIAL system in fallout 3 is close to obslete as the affect of your stats barely contribute to gameplay if they do so at all (Skills cap out at 100%) tagging skills became obslete, many of the fun interesting skills which made the first game challenging are obslete, charisma as a stat and speech are both obslete, there is no role playing involved as the only option is to magically become a do-it all master of weapons. Bethesda's failure to produce lively, entertaining games as its weak point is clearly demonstrated from the fact they paid $5.75million for an idea, as opposed to giving half that sum to talented writers. the success of oblivion as well as fallout 3 has close to nothing to do with gameplay, story or any sort of gameplay mechanics and its success is purely based on presentation, graphics enviroment etc which is apparently enough to make a game "great".

nitsju
nitsju

A win for interplay. But dont be so mad Bethesda fanboys, you still got oblivion and that game is just as good as fallout ''cough'' ''cough'' :P

bagehi
bagehi

Interplay sold their rights completely. They were supposed to be working on a MMO, but instead they were trying to make money selling old games. This is why Interplay died. All they released was re-released games and sequels without new content for over two years.

Alucard1475
Alucard1475

If Interplay is entitled to make an MMORPG, I'll give them that. But what the fock do they want now if they sold everything else to Bethesda? Is the court such retarded not to realize that?

Diarma10
Diarma10

@RageSet - Yup, that is exactly what I got from the article too.

RageSet
RageSet

Wait, how is any of this possible. Interplay sold 99% of the Fallout license/rights to Bethesda and yet Interplay wants to continue to sell Fallout-branded products without giving Bethesda any royalties. Better yet they are counter-suing Bethesda to get royalties from a property they sold to Bethesda...even trying to get the court to erase the agreements between the companies and reacquire the Fallout I.P. for free. So, let me see if I got this right. Interplay wants to keep the 5.75 million Bethesda paid them for the Fallout I.P. They also want 15 million dollars in royalties in addition to the agreements between the two companies to be dissolved. W.T.F....Who is running Interplay and what is he/she smoking? Anyone who defends Interplay's behavior must be smoking the same stuff as the person who is running Interplay. Humans can be such silly creatures.

Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

i feel like this game will never come out. sounds like it could be good... if its ever made.

AC_pilot
AC_pilot

Interplay was supposed to have started working full time on the MMO within 2 years of the agreement, which they did not do. In response, Interplay quickly whipped out a grand total of 4 concept art pictures that couldn’t have taken more than a few days to draw, and just (January 21st 2010, well after the 2 year mark) got around to finding somebody to develop it for them. Never mind actually developing it, notice the lack of details about the game? Back when they started working on the game, it was believed that in order to actually make and publish the MMO Interplay would have needed 75 million dollars. However as of 2001, when they still owned the Fallout rights, Interplay had racked up nearly 51 million dollars in debt. By 2005, after laying off its workforce and abandoning its headquarters, it still had 11 million in debt. After the sale of the intellectual property in 2007, they were still 3 million in debt. Now, it seems to me that Interplay knew ahead of time that they did not have the money to develop this game, so why would they enter the agreement? Well, call me cynical but it seems to me that Interplay knew that the sales of the earlier Fallouts would rise quite a bit after the release of Fallout 3. Apparently they thought that if they managed to dodge legislation on it, they could make up the money by selling the old games.

AC_pilot
AC_pilot

It’s obvious that Interplay did not get the windfall that they hoped for, at least not as soon as they had wanted. So now they are engaging in countersuits, it will take a while for the court system to sort it all out, in the meantime, Interplay can work on the game, well past the 2 year agreement, and when they get to court they can say "Look at all this we got done." It’s not like there is going to be a time stamp on it. So after the initial suit gets settled, and Bethesda looks like greedy jerks, Interplay could swoop in and get back their resuscitated series, 15 million in royalties to invest in their MMO, and then they can release a couple more games like Fallout Tactics, which was awful and had nothing to do with the first two Fallouts. Stop being Fanboys, Interplay nearly destroyed the Fallout series themselves with petty attempts at branding crap games with the fallout logo. Look at Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel. They were going to make second games on those spinoffs. (Check out http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Wiki) I would rather see a Fallout 4 from Bethesda than Fallout BoS 4: We don't care anymore, from Interplay

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

@Bubble_Man You got it wrong way around there. Interplay sold Bethesda the series and rights to a 3rd game and future games. Bethesda then sold the rights to make a MMORPG to interplay. They now realise how lucrative it is, they want the MMORPG rights, they want the license for the old games and they want interplay (who actually made it famous not bethesda) to give them it all and have no rights. I love fallout 3 but i know who i think is right here. I think beth are greedy and have no need to take the rights to the old games. They make enough with the new ones.

Nakor
Nakor

This strikes me as dirty and somewhat unnessicary on Bethesda's part (read: greedy).

Bubble_Man
Bubble_Man

Basically, Interplay let Bethesda make the series mainstream/popular and now they wish to steal it back and capitalize on its recent success. Hopefully, no court would be blind enough to hand them that.

CaptainFallout
CaptainFallout

Go Interplay, I give props to anyone that menaces Bethsada for completely debasing some of my favorite games.

Diomedes200
Diomedes200

Interplay is being such a brat, they know they don't have the rights anymore, i guess they're just stupid, or are hoping the judge is stupid so they can get money.

Lugia_120
Lugia_120

Fallout 1 was supreme,actually still one of the nest RPGs i ever played.The problem is that interplay messed up after FO2,with brotherhood of steel and tatics(i don't like tatics).I don't care about who wins,i just want fallout in good hands. :)

Shrimpen91
Shrimpen91

Of course defenders of old games unite. I freaking grew up with Fallout 1 and 2. >:(

brownba3
brownba3

Greasy and Vegeta - you are officially heros!..DAMSOG - are you even old enough to have played Fallout 1 or 2? So, do you think Baldur's gate was rubbish as well? - because you know, it was built on an old system... - and don't mix your metaphors - it's opinions are are like ar@eholes, everyone has one and they all stink... - but that might have been created on an older system - English 2.1... Would love for Black Isle to come back - but spit in one hand and wish in the other...Think that keeping interplay in the mix may be the better aspect - more competition should make a better gaming atmosphere - and there hasn't been any new DLC for fallout in a while - A MMOG Fallout - could incorporate something similar to Gamma World (another game -D&D created on the original gaming system, rocks and slate - I mean pen and paper) - similar to guild wars - but I think megamega777 is correct - a mil+ people in the wasteland would be a little awkward - Dragon Age and surprisingly Torchlight aren't bad (torch is rather buggy though) - Good gaming and happy holidays!

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

DAMSOG your gamer licence is officially revoked and you are here-by known as a "non-gamer/casual gamer"

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Wow defenders of the old games unite, just because you play an old game and enjoy it doesn't mean its a good game. The first and second installment of Fallout on PC were rubbish, even back in their day it was rubbish. Now it gets turned into a RPG/FPS and everyone wants to remember the good old days? Cmon people....trash is trash. Oh and as for the comment by the WOLF dude, games have progressed you know, and opinions are like ar@eholes, just some are louder than others.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

I hate Interplay now more then ever! I liked Fallout 1 & 2. And i thought Fallout 3 is a realy grate game. But i admit its not perfect, there could be other stuff in it that whould make it better. I dont want Interplay to win in any way. nd i honestly dont get this so have Interplay won or is it still a ongoing progres? But what effect will this have on Obsidians Fallout project that Todd Howard from Bethesda sed thay wher workin on? I realy hope Bethesda wins this. I dont want Interplay to win. And im now not sure if Fallout whould be a good MMORPG. I do think that a 2 player co-op whould however be good. Well thats my opinion.

sk21
sk21

I'd prefer FO3 as SP rather than an MMO. There's going to be far too many Lone Wanderer leet-speaking wannabes in the wasteland to suspend any disbelief.

megamega777
megamega777

@ Crimson_xWolfx You had good points about this topic... Either way to add one more point to it is the fact that the MMO should be set up 10 years after the broken steel DLC (life grows after it all), seeing as a MMO would normally have 1 million people online. And 1 milllion people in a supposedly "wasteland" isn't very appealing.

Crimson_xWolfx
Crimson_xWolfx

@Organic_Machine I'd like to say that's wrong, legally it's theirs, but originally it is not as it used to be Black Isle Studio's. But I understand where you're coming from, that's a lot of money just for legal rights of the franchise and if I were Bethesda I'd be wrangling Interplays throat too. Either way, if Bethesda wins and decides to continue this MMORPG, I do hope they look at previous mistakes with Fallout 3 as there were a lot of them ignored. I am very curious to see how this churns out, because I'd love a good Post-Apocalyptic themed MMORPG, since Fallen Earth is pretty bad and I've yet to hear of any others.

Crimson_xWolfx
Crimson_xWolfx

@DAMSOG Ouch, I feel like you mentally punched yourself and left severe damage to your logic. I suppose if Fallout 1 and 2 are rubbish, then any game preceding before it is also rubbish? I mean most games from before were nearly the same, not in genre just more of technology. Yeah the turn-base was pretty time consuming but the games were pretty interesting, and from your comment I assume you haven't played them at all.

abbasreza
abbasreza

Interplay are probably gonna screw V13 up since they didn't actually develop the game, as for fallout 3 it was good, but I still think the first two were better. So I don't realy care who wins, I just wish Black Isle still existed.

jtwilliams
jtwilliams

I hate to say it, but I can definately understand where Bethesda is coming from. They took what was almost but not quite a dead IP, put new life into, and released an extremely successful and fun game. Do I wish they had used more of the old style, absolutely. Particulary with the large number of endings that really show the results of what you did. However the game was fun, well made, well set, and did very well. Now if interplay comes out with an MMO that is subpar, it is going to poo on the franchise. I'm sure Behtesda is planning to capitalize on the success with future games and do not want something to mess with it. Further, who wants another Duke Nukem situation where they are in "Development" for a decade and never release anying (interplay that is). Do they have the law on their side? How would I know, but I can see where they are coming from.

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

Any developer that tries developing MMOs these days deserve to be put down and go bankrupt for their greed. Enough with MMOs! Theres already too many of them!

Kentr_Wrolfsong
Kentr_Wrolfsong

Damn. I really hope Bethesda wins this in the end, not out of any love for Fallout 3, but out of hatred for Interplay. Interplay didn't make Fallout and Fallout 2, Black Isle did. And Interplay murdered Black Isle. MURDERED, I say! Sorry, touchy subject. How I miss you, Nameless One... I know, not Fallout, but still Black Isle created.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

Enough of this Retro rubbish, the first fallouts were trash untill Bethesda turned it around and made it into the game we have today. I can understand that the consumers (us the gaming public) probably dont give a rats who makes the game but to have a franchise go from bad to good one would hardly like to see it go backwards.

Godak
Godak

Everyone, remember, the Interplay of today does not have the original development team from the first two Fallouts. V13 was pretty much destined to fail.

Elygamer
Elygamer

First of all Bethesda bought the rights. Interplay did a decent job for the first two Fallouts, but they never reached the level of that when Bethesda took part in the franchise. Fallout 3 is the part of the series that got the most attention. That being said, if interplay wins the rights back, I don't think I'll be rushing to the stores to buy it, I'll wait to see if it fails or not.

organic_machine
organic_machine

It's pretty clear Interplay has no rights to Fallout. To those rooting for Interplay, why can't you see this? Bethesda purchased the Fallout brand legally for 5.75 million dollars. If you spent that much money on a franchise legally obtaining the rights to it, you'd fight for it too. Why? Because it's YOURS.

rigas47
rigas47

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Red_lath
Red_lath

just keep on business and make a good job; We'll see, I hope this Fallout MMO have all the amazing stuff from the franchise plus something else...and definitly NOT GRINDING jejeje. @atc-fanatic - sorry m8 :S

Liam_Eibach
Liam_Eibach

This has been a mess for a long time, but it has turned into an epic battle that I hope Interplay wins. I have already experimented with MMOs and did not like the experience, yet the thought of a Fallout has made me very curious.

jtuds
jtuds

Greed? You mean business? Get real...

gamehog5
gamehog5

Greed that's all this is.

atc-fanatic
atc-fanatic

even though i wont buy this because i dont play pc games(severe carpal tunnle-arthritis)i hope interplay wins. the first 2 fallouts made by interplay were awesome.

pudgexd
pudgexd

Can't wait for this game , hope this is buy to play , not pay monthly to play.

Override3215
Override3215

i side with interplay because i've played rouge warrior don't know what i mean play it!