The lengthy legal battle over the Fallout MMO seems to have finally come to a conclusion. ZeniMax Media announced that Bethesda’s lawsuit filed against Interplay has reached a settlement, and Bethesda will continue to own all Fallout intellectual property rights.
ZeniMax, Bethesda’s parent company, stated that under the terms of the settlement, “the license granted to Interplay to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void.” No more Fallout brand or Fallout intellectual property for Interplay, though it will be able to continue selling the Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2 PC games, as well as related merchandising, up until December 2013. After 2013 every piece of Fallout becomes Bethesda’s sole property.
Interplay developed Fallout in the late 90s, but sold the IP to Bethesda Softworks in 2007. Interplay was then granted a license by Bethesda in April 2007 in order to create a Fallout MMO. However, Bethesda had two requirements or Interplay’s rights would be forfeit: Secure $30 million in financing and begin developing the game in two years. Eventually, Bethesda filed a lawsuit after the conditions weren’t met in order to null Interplay’s rights; Bethesda also sued over the “Fallout Trilogy.” Interplay countersued, and the struggle began.
On a slightly positive note, Interplay gets to walk away with $2 million from ZeniMax; of course both parties will be responsible for their own legal fees. In a related matter, Bethesda’s suit against Masthead Studios has also reached a settlement. Masthead had been subcontracted by Interplay to develop part of the Fallout MMO, though the original agreement with Bethesda said no subcontractors. Masthead agreed not to use any of the Fallout intellectual property.
There you have it: Bethesda gets its ball back, and we’ll never see an Interplay logo on any future Fallout games. Hopefully Bethesda will continue development of the Fallout MMO.