Bethesda Settles With Interplay, Retains Rights to Fallout MMO

After a long, hard-fought battle between Bethesda Softworks and Interplay, the rights to create a Fallout-based massively multiplayer online game have reverted to Bethesda.

The Fallout 3 creator issued a press release stating that the two developers had reached a settlement in their on-going legal battle over who has the rights to create the Fallout MMO. Interplay originally created the Fallout franchise and the original game and licensed the IP for Fallout 2 and Fallout: Tactics. It then sold Bethesda the rights to the IP, with the caveat that after two games, the rights to make a Fallout MMO would revert to Interplay.

But the point of contention has been the contract and whether Interplay violated it, as Bethesda claimed, and therefore voided its rights to the MMO license. The contract said that Interplay needed to raise $30 million in capital to work on the game and start full-scale development by April 2009, but Bethesda claimed that didn’t happen — and thus, Interplay lost the rights to the MMO.

Interplay had teamed with developer Masthead to make the game and started marketing for it, but Bethesda stepped in and the whole thing started bouncing around in court. There were injunctions and other motions, and a copyright suit between Bethesda and Masthead besides, but not a lot of forward progress until now.

Bethesda parent ZeniMax says that it now fully owns the Fallout IP and is paying Interplay $2 million as a settlement. In return, Interplay no longer has rights to make anything Fallout. Sorry, Interplay fans, you’re not going to see a resurgence from the developer in the form of a Fallout MMO, or Fallout anything, for that matter.

The press release also notes that the on-going copyright infringement case with Masthead over the Fallout MMO has been settled, and that all litigation between the three companies has been squared off.

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