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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.

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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.
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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