Bethesda now in control of Fallout MMO after lengthy court drama

After many years of problems and arguments of a legal nature, last week brought news that the battle over the rights to make a Fallout MMO had finally been decided, but it was still in question which side won. Would Interplay retain the MMO rights to the series it had first or had Bethesda now received full use of the property it purchased? If you bet on the side with more money, looks then you guessed correct.

According to Bethesda’s press release on the outcome of the court battle, the settlement between Interplay and Bethesda first and foremost means Interplay has to stop development of Fallout Online immediately, as only Bethesda can legally create a Fallout MMO from now on. In fact, from the wording of the press release from Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax, it looks like Interplay lost big time in the settlement. Not only did Interplay lose all the rights to make Fallout Online, it also will lose the rights to the older Fallout games come 2014. As Bethesda put it:

“Under the terms of the settlement, the license granted to Interplay to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void, and all rights granted to Interplay to develop a Fallout MMO revert back to Bethesda, effective immediately. Interplay has no ongoing right to use the Fallout brand or any Fallout intellectual property for any game development… Interplay will be permitted to continue to sell the original Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2 PC games through December 2013, after which time all rights to market those games revert to and become the sole property of Bethesda.”

The matter dates back to 2007, Bethesda purchased the Fallout franchise from the struggling Interplay but gave Interplay the rights to make a Fallout MMO, so long as Interplay met certain demands. In Bethesda’s opinion Interplay couldn’t meet those demands, and while it wasn’t proven either way if Interplay actually had the financing to develop the MMO, this settlement makes the point moot anyway.

So what does this mean for the future? Well it means Interplay lost however much they invested in Fallout Online over the past five or so years, and that the company will probably mainly subsist on selling Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics on sites like Steam and GOG. But what happens to whatever it is Interplay created for Fallout Online while battling Bethesda in the courts?

Above: Check out the official website while it still exists

Perhaps Bethesda could purchase that from Interplay and use it in some future game, but we highly doubt that Zenimax has any real plans to make a Fallout MMO in the immediate future. The point of this lawsuit wasn’t so Bethesda could make an MMO, it was to make sure no one else could. And it looks like that until an eventual nuclear apocalypse, Bethesda owns Fallout lock, stock, and barrel.


  • dylan-knowles - December 8, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    First 2010-2011, then 2012, now bethesda like the swag-fag it is..Has put it in its grave and im sure the game will never be released at this point......
  • ThisIsMyFuckingThirdAccount - January 10, 2012 4:55 p.m.

    Website's gone.
  • Crypto140 - January 10, 2012 12:08 p.m.

    I think a Fallout MMO would be nice to have, there is always the possibility that it would have turned out good.
  • jackthemenace - January 10, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    Kind of a shame, I hate to see the underdog lose to the massive corporation :/ More of a shame, though, is that we WON'T get a Fallout MMO, even under Bethesda. I loved Bethesda's Fallout games, and a chance to play them along with friends would've been greatly appreciated.
  • oldschoolgamer - January 10, 2012 7:45 a.m.

    Interplay should just change the game slightly and release it.. sure that would mean a different interface and some other slight changes, But hardly a rework of an entire game. A post appocolyptic world, is just that.. blethesade hardly owns the licence to keep anyone from making a game in that world. I Know i for one would rather play an interplay game, as they have made so many better games. Oblivion, skyrim and the new fallout are very bland if you ever played a real sandbox. Sure they are ok games, but hardly the best ever made..
  • Travia220 - January 10, 2012 2:24 a.m.

    Bethesda just pulling a dick move and telling Interplay they can't make an MMORPG by deceiving them. Basically killing any chance of an MMORPG by some of the original creators of Fallout. A ton is lost with this.. potential for a real Fallout game. Except.. Bethesda as usual are a bunch of dicks.
  • lazer59882 - January 10, 2012 1:11 a.m.

    GOOD. just as a super mario fan i don't want to see a super mario mmo, even if i could just not play it, i don't want to see a fallout mmo, whether or not it take development time from the next numbered entry. i don't like seeing my favorite franchises whored like that, and i wouldn't play it anyway.
  • kingsmikefan - January 9, 2012 9:45 p.m.

    Why are people so happy? You don't realize that this means all those people essentially wasted their past years, and now Bethesda has pulled a dick-move-extraordinaire by deceiving Interplay. It's just cruel.
  • comaqi - January 10, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    Nobody deceived anybody. The only dicks here are Interplay.
  • BaneSilvermoon - January 11, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    Care to give your reasoning behind the second sentence?
  • kingsmikefan - January 13, 2012 11:25 p.m.

    They must have screwed with Interplay somehow. There's no way Interplay would have accepted that contract if they knew they couldn't actually use Fallout things.
  • chazxz - January 9, 2012 7:10 p.m.

    I don't want to pay monthly to get my hands on the next fallout game, so this is good news to me.
  • Ultimadrago - January 9, 2012 6:41 p.m.

    Hell yeah, Bethesda!
  • ncurry2 - January 9, 2012 5:28 p.m.

    Am I the only one who DOES NOT want Bethesda to even try touching multiplayer, let alone an MMO? They do have some stellar games but they are already riddle with ridiculous amounts of bugs and game breaking glitches. Now imagine them trying to make a game that has several hundred people trying to interact all on a single server? If they can't get it right for one person on one console, this will be a gigantic failure.
  • BackwaterRifle - January 9, 2012 4:25 p.m.

  • JayQ - January 9, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    Forget about a Fallout MMO, just give us Fallout 4 on the Skyrim engine with drop-in/drop-out co-op.
  • Dman3981 - January 9, 2012 3:54 p.m.

    The court system just seemss abused now a days.
  • Dman3981 - January 9, 2012 3:54 p.m.

    seems so*
  • ThundaGawd - January 9, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    I'm a bit saddened by this, I love Bethesda, but recently, alot of big gaming companies seem to be going down the drain: The EA Origin issue, which denied me the opportunity to buy Battlefield 3 seeing as I refused to install another distribution engine, especially one that was buggy as all hell. Activision, who cancelled Guitar Hero to reinforce Call of Duty, a franchise that is slowly dying off (in my opinion). I mean c'mon, I love Bethesda, but I can't support a company that acts like a bunch of dicks. Hopefully, Bethesda won't dig a deeper grave for themselves, there was absolutely no point in denying a company the rights to make a game if Bethesda was never planning on making it themselves =/
  • madman725 - January 9, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    But the point is that Bethesda bought all of the rights regarding Fallout. It was a privilege to give Interplay even limited rights. Interplay couldn't meet the demands for quality (I'm assuming those were the demands), Bethesda took their privilege away. I think it was a good move, while people may not like them shunning a smaller company, it maintains their brand to be a quality company, which is a better long-term situation.

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