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Bethesda reclaims Fallout MMO rights

Litigation ends in settlement between Bethesda and Interplay over massively multiplayer game; Interplay loses rights, but gets $2 million as "consideration."


The legal battle that began in 2009 between Bethesda and Interplay has finally ended. Bethesda parent company ZeniMax today announced that a settlement between the two companies has been reached, with Bethesda getting back rights to develop a massively multiplayer online game set in the Fallout universe.

Bethesda and Interplay had a falling out over Fallout.
Bethesda and Interplay had a falling out over Fallout.

The legal battle began in April 2009 when Bethesda opted to revoke the Fallout MMORPG rights just as Interplay had entered into a development deal on the project. The two publishers then sued each other, setting off a protracted legal battle.

According to a press release describing the settlement, the "license granted to Interplay to develop a Fallout MMO is null and void." Further, all rights first granted to Interplay are now reverted back to Bethesda, effective today.

Additionally, under the terms of the settlement, Interplay has no right to use the Fallout brand or any related intellectual property for future development. Further, Zenimax said it will pay Interplay $2 million as "consideration" in the settlement.

Lastly, the terms of the settlement note that Interplay is permitted to continue selling Fallout Tactics, Fallout, and Fallout 2 through December 2013. After that time, all rights to market those titles fall back to Bethesda.

Speaking about the end of the litigation, ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman said he is satisfied with the resolution.

"While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of ZeniMax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others' legal claims."

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