Fallout Online, the MMO being developed by the back-from-the-dead Interplay (the series' creator), started accepting open beta applications last month. The game was announced under the working title, Project V13, and all that's been released thus far is a smattering of early concept art, a brief FAQ, and the minisite where you can sign up for beta eligibility. Note that signing up does not guarantee beta inclusion, though it does add you to the game's newsletter list.
The site is very official-looking, but we're still unclear on the game's legal status. Bethesda purchased the rights to the Fallout franchise from Interplay in 2007, and made a deal allowing Interplay to develop the MMO. After the deal, however, Bethesda claimed that Interplay breached contract, and the two companies entered a legal dispute. Does the creation of the official website imply that a settlement has been reached?
We contacted Bethesda for a comment, but are still awaiting a response. Interplay has not made a statement either - Lead Systems Designer Chris Taylor commented in their forums last month, "We cannot discuss the lawsuit. Thank you for your understanding."
Chris Taylor is one of Fallout's original designers (not to be confused with the other Chris Taylor, who's known for Dungeon Siege). Also working on the project is Jason Anderson, a lead artist on the original. Interplay has also expressed an interest in getting Fallout's original composer, Mark Morgan, back for the game. We honored Morgan last week in a Fallout 2 edition of Game Music of the Day.
We'll update when we have more information on the game, its legal status, and the beta test. Until then, take a look at Interplay's FAQ for a rundown of the team's design philosophy.
Jul 6, 2010