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Bethesda Sues Interplay Over Fallout License, MMO Plans

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the stop-slacking dept.

The Courts 43

Bethesda Softworks has filed a complaint with the District Court of Maryland to forbid Interplay from selling older Fallout titles. The complaint alleges that Interplay failed to hold up its end of an agreement that required it to submit marketing and packaging details to Bethesda for approval. In addition to that, Interplay was supposed to initiate full-scale development of a Fallout MMO by April, 2009, gathering at least $30 million in funding to work on the game. "If Bethesda prevails, Interplay would lose the rights to develop the Fallout MMO. There is little to show for the progress of the Fallout MMO in public venues, although many speculate that a mysterious title called Project V13 is in fact the Fallout MMO."

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This is some truly shocking news... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29396917)

Interplay still exist?!

Sure it does! (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397049)

And it is crunch time! [penny-arcade.com]

It's just not *right* (1, Insightful)

ThoughtMonster (1602047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29396943)

I know Interplay is nothing like it used to be when it came out with Fallout or Planescape:Torment, but suing the maker of these original games just because you have the rights to continue their legacy doesn't quice feel right.

Now, I'm sure the lawyers don't see it that way. Interplay should be careful what they sign. :)

Re:It's just not *right* (4, Insightful)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397023)

If you had sold me your "legacy" for $5.75 millions I would feel quite right suing you if you didn't follow the terms of the contract. I know IP is a touchy subject here but Fallout isn't exactly "creative commons" material :)

Re:It's just not *right* (5, Insightful)

project-nova (930308) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397059)

According to wikipedia, Bethesda bought all and every Fallout IP when Interplay was unable to continue development on their version of Fallout 3 and had to lay off their main (PC) team in 2003.
TFS says they still retained their right to sell the games they do not own any rights to anymore, as long as they get marketing and packaging approved bei Bethesda. So they can still make money with their old games as long as it doesn't interfere with Bethesda's new titles and gets their approval - that is a pretty good deal for a game studio that probably would have closed down if it weren't for Bethesda, don't you think?

Re:It's just not *right* (2, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29398067)

Interplay had little or nothing to do with the "legacy". Black Isle designed and wrote the both of the games you mentioned, Interplay just published them. Yes, Interplay owned the IP rights, but it doesn't mean they had some special attachment to them that no one could replace.

Re:It's just not *right* (2, Informative)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#29398751)

Black Isle was owned by Interplay. I think you're confusing them with Bioware.

Re:It's just not *right* (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29401937)

Black Isle was Interplay's internal RPG developer division. They were never a third party.

Re:It's just not *right* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29398953)

Well, if it makes you feel better, the original creators of the Fallout franchise are long gone from Interplay. The company is completely different than when it was at its heydey.

Re:It's just not *right* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29400515)

The only similiarity between current Interplay and old Interplay is name and the transferrence of some properties. Interplay has been nothing but a sham operation bilking investors for the past 7 years.

I have the ad copy ready! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29397061)

Fallout MMO - From the People who Brought You Descent to Undermountain [mobygames.com]

Dude! Come on! Give it SOME credit. (3, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397087)

DtU featured "legendary Flame Sword of Lolth".
Also, "With the power of this sword, an infinite army will be at your command".

It foreshadowed the coming of the Anonymous!
How is that not worth all those bugs, and more?

Gog.com (4, Interesting)

Carra (1220410) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397071)

I've bought the original Fallout games from gog.com a few months ago. And thanks to the lack of DRM you can't deactivate those anymore!

Re:Gog.com (1)

cf18 (943501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397311)

Well it would be interesting to see if anything happens to those sold in Steam.

Re:Gog.com (3, Interesting)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29397903)

As Bethesda is one of the company that tries to do the least DRM they can get away with (Elder Scrolls: Oblivion IV only requires a disc in the right volume label) and fallout3 only uses the most basic disc inserted check securom is able to do. I do not think they'll go as far as to deactivate the legacy games. Also, not that interplay were under the terms of the contract still legally able to sale the legacy games, they just were suppose to allow Bethesda to check marketing material and were suppose to have started dev of the MMO version. The first is actually quite important in the RPG world, as with the rights transfer so did who said what is and isn't officially Fallout lore, and all RPGs take lore seriously as it's a fundamental point of RPGs.

Re:Gog.com (2, Informative)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 5 years ago | (#29398521)

With Fallout 3 if you run the launcher it performs the disk check before running the game. If you directly run fallout3.exe it will directly start the game without the launch which would require you to select that yes you do actually want to run the game, and you won't have a disk check either.

Re:Gog.com (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29398561)

I happen to know that too, but even the disc check isn't that major, same with oblivion, only the launcher does the check.

Re:Gog.com (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#29403503)

Leaving aside that I already have both on discs anyway there's the Fallout Trilogy (includes Tactics, not 3) in stores and I doubt it has remote DRM either.

Shame on Bethesda (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29397139)

At least they aren't going after the Russians who created the most hardcore online PVP game (mod), Fallout Online. Unfortunately, the English server sucks unless you like building stuff constantly and resource gathering. :( http://fonline2238.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:Shame on Bethesda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29398127)

Shame on Bethesda? Huh? You mean for holding Interplay to the agreement they signed?

Re:Shame on Bethesda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29398623)

Huh? What? So many crazy people commenting the past couple weeks. Really: Russians? Most Hardcore? Interplay wasn't Russian, nor did they make a single Fallout game [slashdot.org] .

Re:Shame on Bethesda (1)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 5 years ago | (#29401331)

GP didn't mention Interplay at all in his post, and the Russians he refers to made a mod. He was expressing gratitude that Bethesda isn't going after the (Russian) creators of said mod.

Re:Shame on Bethesda (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29402097)

The "MIB88 Megamod" for Fallout 2 vastly expands the game. It's like playing the game all over in. A lot of fun. The MIB88 team is Russian.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29397647)

No-one involved in the creation of Fallout has anything to do with Interpay anymore, if I recall correctly, and Interplay certainly isn't owned by the same bunch it was in the mid to late 90s so this is just a case of two companies squabbling over IP rights they've bought up over the years. Colour me uncaring.

Dear God (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29398471)

It's not bad enough that Bethesda defecated on the memory of the greatest CRPGs of all time with an awful awful sequel and various money-grubbing xpacks...

Now they want to enjoin the continued sale of said greatest CRPGs of all time unless they can control the marketing materials?

What are they going to do, design and awful new box with cheesy 3D computer graphics and call Fallout 2 "the predecessor to our crapfest of a game!"

Honestly, this is frustrating on both sides... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29398965)

That Bethesda would ask Interplay to sign such a stupid agreement (re: packaging and marketing for the older games) and that Interplay would sign it.

First of all, what marketing and packaging? The marketing basically produces itself: Many people who played Fallout 3 are naturally curious about the first two games in the series, especially when they find out that Fallout 2 came out about a decade prior to Fallout 3. You don't need to "market" it - those who are interested in playing a 10 year old game are going to, and those that aren't interested aren't going to be convinced by a marketing campaign.

Packaging falls into the same boat. Does Bethesda really intend to produce new CDs of the first two Fallout games, put them into new packaging, and ship them to stores? I'd bet not -it wouldn't really be that profitable unless you charge a fair amount of money for the games, and convincing people to buy 10 year old games for more than 10 dollars is going to be a hard sale. In fact, most of the sales of the first two Fallout games that I have seen since F3 came out are from digital download services - which, of course, require no packaging, and most the time sell the games for 10 dollars or lesss.

Interplay is stupid for not trying to retain the rights to the first two games - Bethesda is a big gaming studio and has had some pretty sucessful games, so (back when the deal was going on) I would have been willing to hedge my bets on Fallout 3 being sucessful and boosting sales of the older games.

The MMO is a different story - Zenimax created an online division almost specifically to create the Fallout MMO, and it's pretty obvious that Project V13 isn't going anywhere.

Re:Honestly, this is frustrating on both sides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444255)

Packaging falls into the same boat. Does Bethesda really intend to produce new CDs of the first two Fallout games, put them into new packaging, and ship them to stores? I'd bet not -it wouldn't really be that profitable unless you charge a fair amount of money for the games, and convincing people to buy 10 year old games for more than 10 dollars is going to be a hard sale. In fact, most of the sales of the first two Fallout games that I have seen since F3 came out are from digital download services - which, of course, require no packaging, and most the time sell the games for 10 dollars or lesss.

Here's the problem, Interplay is selling packages with three games (Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout:Tactics), in a single package and calling it "The Fallout Trilogy". I know this because I bought this compliation earlier this year, I knew full well that it didn't include Fallout 3 but the use of "Trilogy" in the name of Interplay's product was never approved of by Bethesda. Technically Interplay is violating the licensing agreement and Bethesda has the right to call them on it, based on the mutually agreed upon licensing agreement. It might seem to be "much to do about nothing: to by-standers like us, but this is a ethically and legally justified lawsuit.

If you are clueless on the subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29399367)

Don't comment.

The best 3rd party Fallout mod team is a group of russians.

Re:If you are clueless on the subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29401215)

Reply button. Use it.

Re:If you are clueless on the subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29404021)

No! >:(

Descent Community screwed again... (2)

d3jake (1335521) | more than 5 years ago | (#29399517)

Great.... The Descent community has to wait another ten years before a glimmer of a chance that a Descent 4 will be produced... Anybody know how I can get my hands on the Descent rights, or who actually owns them..?

Re:Descent Community screwed again... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29402793)

Interplay holds all rights.

Re:Descent Community screwed again... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#29403517)

Volition (one of the two branches Parallax split into IIRC) is still healthy so they could make a game like Descent even if they don't have the name or story rights. Of course they could also make an awesome 3d space combat game like Freespace which noone's doing at the time* but instead they're busy making open world games on the consoles (Saints Row 2 and Red Faction Guerrilla were their last games, not saying they're bad because they're awesome but they're no Freespace).

*=All people seem to make these days is 3D space trading games in the Elite vein, no plain mission and campaign based combat games like Wing Commander, Freespace or Starlancer.

Re:Descent Community screwed again... (1)

d3jake (1335521) | more than 5 years ago | (#29406857)

It's a more certain thing for a company to produce another generic FPS ground-pounder than to create a 6DoF whose last commercial foray was a decade ago... Perhaps after long enough a company with big bux will decide to create another one, but I don't want to wait until I'm thirty years old to enjoy a new 6DoF game...

Re:Descent Community screwed again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29411037)

*=All people seem to make these days is 3D space trading games in the Elite vein, no plain mission and campaign based combat games like Wing Commander, Freespace or Starlancer.

get your (hard core) fix here: http://ifh.babylonfive.ru/

HTH HAND

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29401753)

I applaud anything Bethesda does that makes those nma-fallout.com neckbeards whimper, piss, and bitch.

on the plus side (1)

ivesceneenough (1407533) | more than 5 years ago | (#29401859)

I probably should consider this a good thing see as how a good FO based MMO would ruin my life.

There is a Fallout MMO (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29403815)

There already is a Fallout MMO game. It's still in beta, but it's fun to see how far fans can go when they really want something that the creators of a game won't give them.

FOnline [blogspot.com] - Come join the grief fest.

Re:There is a Fallout MMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29409567)

FOnline also sucks more dick than a Taiwanese ladyboy on a Friday night after the ships come into port.

Re:There is a Fallout MMO (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#29419461)


holy! I'm a huge fan of the series (the first 2 even more so). Definitely going to check this out.

"Trilogy" (3, Insightful)

Devistater (593822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29407447)

I think bethesda was pretty much ignoring them until fallout 1/2/tactics started being sold with labeling of "trilogy"
That implies it includes FO3, which it doesn't. The reason beth put that part into the contract was they didn't want interplay screwing up beth's marketing for FO3, and it looks like interplay just ignored that part of the contract and tried to screw them anyway.

Re:"Trilogy" (1)

Lordnerdzrool (884216) | more than 5 years ago | (#29442265)

Yeah, this confused me too when I saw that they were selling a Fallout trilogy. I thought it would include FO3 as well, and for a considerably low price. Read the description, and realized it didn't. I ended up buying it a few months later anyhow, as the original series runs great on my netbook.

No hatred of Bethesda here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29409911)

Look, Bethesda forked over a pile of cash to rescue the franchise, and part of the deal is they _own_ it. If they didn't, then Interplay would have no problem suing Bethesda now over infringement now, would they? If there's nothing specifically exempting the Fallout MMO, then Bethesda has every right to demand Interplay keep up its end.

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