Fallout MMO Rights Now Belong to Bethesda
January 10, 2012
Interplay, the original creators of the Fallout IP, has surrended all remaining rights to the property to Bethesda, the publisher and developer of Fallout 3 and publisher of Fallout: New Vegas. Bethesda had to fork over just $2 million in order to finally be finished with the long-running legal battle the two publishers had been embroiled in. The sum is paltry considering that Fallout 3 netted Bethesda $300 million worth of sales in its first week on store shelves alone.
The original creator will hang onto the rights to Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2 for the time being. Its temporary ownership will come to a close at the conclusion of 2013, at which time Bethesda will become the steward of all things Fallout.
The two sides reached an agreement at some point last month while they were on recess from their court proceedings during a trial in North Carolina. In a related matter, Bethesda was able to get the developer of the MMO, Masthead Studios, to agree to cease and desist work on it and give up its claim to be able to work on Fallout or any other Bethesda properties in the future. Interplay was supposed to seek Bethesda’s approval, which Bethesda says it never did, before allowing a third party like Masthead to work on development. No money changed hands in this particular settlement.
Interplay is believed to have agreed to the settlement because it hasn’t exactly been raking it in the way Bethesda has lately and the small publisher is badly in need of the cash in order to continue operating. It has not released a game in some time, owing to the fact that the focus has been on the development of the now defunct Fallout MMO. Develop reports that Interplay’s cash-on-hand had dipped precipitously to a shockingly light $3,000 as of last May and that they had been working with a deficit in the neighborhood of $3 million.
Bethesda first acquired the rights to Interplay’s popular RPG series back in 2007. The latter was to procure $30 million in funding for the MMO and get started on “full scale development” by April of 2009 for it to maintain its legal ability to move forward with development on the project. Bethesda asserts that neither condition was met.
All legal matters concerning the property are now believed by Bethesda to be settled. Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of Zenimax, parent company of Bethesda, said that they are “pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of Zenimax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others’ legal claims.”