Interplay and Bethesda settle Fallout legal dispute

The future of Fallout Online has been decided. This week, court documents revealed that a settlement has been reached between Bethesda and Interplay over a four year feud concerning Interplay's right to turn the post-apocalyptic franchise into an MMO.

According to sources at Duck and Cover, both Bethesda and Interplay had initially declined setting a date for their next case following their latest court meeting because they were hammering out a deal. The next day, it was announced that a settlement had been reached, but the details would not be released until later this month.

The undisclosed deal follows years of court conflicts between Bethesda and Interplay over Interplay's right to develop a Fallout MMO using assets it had sold to Bethesda back in 2007. Interplay's claim was that made the sale under the understanding it could still develop one more Fallout property, however Bethesda contested Interplay only had the right to use the Fallout name, and that Interplay's MMO would negatively affect the canon of Bethesda's own Fallout series, therefore putting it in breach with their original agreement. Both sides also alleged that contractual obligations were not met, and that each were incorrectly interpretting the agreement; grievances which delayed any and all resolutions until now.

The full details of the settlement will be out soon, after which we'll finally get a better sense at where the Fallout MMO stands, or if it even has a hope of coming out this century. If Interplay comes out ahead—which it looked like it was going to back in October--hopefully it will do so with enough bottle caps in its inventory and a lot of motivation to carry out its project. Reversely, if it turns out Bethesda has convinced Interplay to give up the fight, it could be a long time before any such online venture emerges from the--ahem--vault.

We'll keep you posted on where the chips fall.

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.