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Interplay’s Fallout MMO is Officially Dead

A back-and-forth lawsuit between Interplay, ZeniMax has now settled things.

Concept art from Fallout Online, which will never see the light of day.

When Bethesda Softworks picked up the rights to the Fallout brand from Interplay way back in 2004 (!!!), it had everything but MMOs under its control. In the exchange, Interplay kept the rights to create Fallout Online, and whether that MMO could ever come out became the center of a legal battle that is now finally over.

Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media announced today it reached different settlements with Interplay and Masthead Studios, who was reportedly developing the MMO.

In exchange for the complete rights transfer, ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million for undisclosed reasons. For the moment, Interplay still owns the rights to Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, but that will change on December 2013. That month will mark the moment when the merchandising rights transfer, too.

The completely separate dispute with Masthead involved Interplay’s claim that Masthead was in “full scale development” of a Fallout MMO that also did not infringe up on Bethesda’s own copyright ownership. The settlement has Masthead agreeing to not use any Bethesda material in current or future games.

“While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP,” said ZeniMax chairman, CEO Robert Altman in today’s release. “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."

The website for Fallout Online is still up and running, but don’t expect that to be true much longer.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Concept art from Fallout Online, which will never see the light of day.

When Bethesda Softworks picked up the rights to the Fallout brand from Interplay way back in 2004 (!!!), it had everything but MMOs under its control. In the exchange, Interplay kept the rights to create Fallout Online, and whether that MMO could ever come out became the center of a legal battle that is now finally over.

Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media announced today it reached different settlements with Interplay and Masthead Studios, who was reportedly developing the MMO.

In exchange for the complete rights transfer, ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million for undisclosed reasons. For the moment, Interplay still owns the rights to Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, but that will change on December 2013. That month will mark the moment when the merchandising rights transfer, too.

The completely separate dispute with Masthead involved Interplay’s claim that Masthead was in “full scale development” of a Fallout MMO that also did not infringe up on Bethesda’s own copyright ownership. The settlement has Masthead agreeing to not use any Bethesda material in current or future games.

“While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP,” said ZeniMax chairman, CEO Robert Altman in today’s release. “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."

The website for Fallout Online is still up and running, but don’t expect that to be true much longer.

Posted by OllyOxenFree

Sunrise, Sunset...

Posted by Humanity

Well it was a nice dream.

Posted by Doctorchimp

Legal copyright battles never change.

Edited by Lugixx

While I don't like what Bethesda has done with the Fallout IP, they at least did something. Interplay would've probably let the franchise fade away until it was a "hidden gem" like Arcanum. Interplay was a zombie of their former self, and I'm happy that the matters are at least settled.

Posted by Superkenon

The shock is hearing the name "Interplay"

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Hopefully this ends with the zombified corpse of interplay finally kicking the bucket.

Online
Edited by Doctorchimp

@Lugixx said:

While I don't like what Bethesda has done with the Fallout IP, they at least did something. Interplay would've probably let the franchise fade away until it was a "hidden gem" like Arcanum. Interplay was a zombie of their former self, and I'm happy that the matters are at least settled.

Well the original guys who actually worked on Fallout 2 did New Vegas anyway.

Interplay was just the old business suits and none of the talent.

Posted by Chtasm

Crap.

Posted by Trision

I think the Fallout Online site is already dead. I can't connect to it.

Posted by TehJedicake

I'm pissed.

Online
Edited by Lugixx

@Doctorchimp said:

@Lugixx said:

While I don't like what Bethesda has done with the Fallout IP, they at least did something. Interplay would've probably let the franchise fade away until it was a "hidden gem" like Arcanum. Interplay was a zombie of their former self, and I'm happy that the matters are at least settled.

Well the original guys who actually worked on Fallout 2 did New Vegas anyway.

Interplay was just the old business suits and none of the talent.

That's why I said Bethesda. I really liked New Vegas, even with all the limitations set by Bethesda.

Woops, I wrote "zombie of their former self". That's what I get for writing so late at night.

Posted by TentPole

Fuck Bethseda

Posted by Harkat

Maybe this means a Fallout MMo from Bethesda? Because, y'know, Bethesda don't have nearly enough technical problems with their sandbox RPG's, what they need is an MMO.

Joking aside, a well-done Fallout MMO is actually more possible now than it was before Interplay lost the rights. Now, it's up to people who can Get Shit Done.

Posted by nERVEcenter

@TentPole: Yeah, fuck da big corporate cronies, dey da problem wit everyting in da world, stick it to da man.

Posted by Burrobean

It's kinda sad how the intro on the Fallout Online site ends with a hand holding a folder entitled "Welcome to the Future." Ouch.

Posted by coakroach

Well now I have to wait for another nuclear wasteland MMO to come around...

Posted by JohnPaulVann

Interplay's Fallout would have been awesome. Fuck Bethesda, Fuck GB, and Fuck anybody who buys their shit.

Posted by TentPole

@nERVEcenter said:

@TentPole: Yeah, fuck da big corporate cronies, dey da problem wit everyting in da world, stick it to da man.

Nope, just ones that abuse the legal system to try and bully smaller companies.

Posted by Buckwatters

The site already looks like it has been taken over by ZeniMax, it even has the corporate information on the bottom of the screen.

Posted by jakob187

THANK. FUCKING. GOD.

The idea of a Fallout MMO was fucking HORRENDOUS! The point of Fallout is that it's a desolate post-apocalyptic world. Why the FUCK would I want my desolation to be populated like that of an MMO? It makes zero goddamn sense.

The death of this MMO is something I can celebrate greatly.

Posted by prestonhedges

Can't say I didn't expect this to happen like two years ago.

Posted by august

@JohnPaulVann said:

Interplay's Fallout would have been awesome. Fuck Bethesda, Fuck GB, and Fuck anybody who buys their shit.

You seem to be angry.

Posted by JohnPaulVann

@gladspooky: @gladspooky said:

Can't say I didn't expect this to happen like two years ago.

Then why the fuck didn't you do something about it?????? Interplay's Fallout would have revolutionized the industry. Now we're stuck with Bethsda's horsehit.

Posted by endaround

@jakob187 said:

THANK. FUCKING. GOD.

The idea of a Fallout MMO was fucking HORRENDOUS! The point of Fallout is that it's a desolate post-apocalyptic world. Why the FUCK would I want my desolation to be populated like that of an MMO? It makes zero goddamn sense.

The death of this MMO is something I can celebrate greatly.

You do realize this was all about Bethesda starting up their own Fallout MMO right?

Posted by Cronus42

As much as i would have liked to see what this turned out to be, I'm not surprised it ended up like this.

Also kinda wish it happened for the sole purpose of keeping a Descent 4 dream alive. Maybe someday. Maybe.

Edited by G24S

Now that Tim Cain has joined Obsidian I hope Bethesda are letting them develop another, less buggy, Fallout while they are working on the next Elder Scrolls after their Fallout 4.

Posted by Beomoose

*checks to see if I wore heat-resistant underwear today*

This is a good thing. Ok, I'll wait. No, go ahead. Done? Ok, Interplay is not Interplay of yore anymore, its just a name. And that name hasn't put out a game worth a long discussion In A Decade. The odds that Fallout Online would be seen all the way to release were already long before Bethesda got involved. "Van Buren," the original "Fallout 3," was aborted after costing far less money and taking far less time than a proper Fallout MMO would need.

Love Bethesda or Loathe them, they're keeping the franchise alive and thriving. Personally, in this post-Skyrim world I am a HELL of a lot more excited for Bethesda's Fallout 4 than I ever was for Fallout Online.

Posted by TardStrength770

Zenimax CEO Robert Altman is an Altmer from the Aldmeri Dominion, there, I said it.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

@JohnPaulVann:

The interplay you fondly remember hasn't existed for years and years.

Posted by ninjakiller

@JohnPaulVann said:

@gladspooky: @gladspooky said:

Can't say I didn't expect this to happen like two years ago.

Then why the fuck didn't you do something about it?????? Interplay's Fallout would have revolutionized the industry. Now we're stuck with Bethsda's horsehit.

AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA nope.

Posted by admanb

People raging against Bethesda as "the big guy" don't really have a very good memory of what Interplay was/tried to be in the 1998-2003 period. 

Posted by Deathmachine117

@JohnPaulVann: And Fuck You for being an asshole.

Posted by Funkydupe

nnnoooo... I was looking forward to a post-apoc MMO done right.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@jakob187 said:

THANK. FUCKING. GOD.

The idea of a Fallout MMO was fucking HORRENDOUS! The point of Fallout is that it's a desolate post-apocalyptic world. Why the FUCK would I want my desolation to be populated like that of an MMO? It makes zero goddamn sense.

The death of this MMO is something I can celebrate greatly.

Except all those NPCs you were interacting with, and the cities that were springing up, and the entire cultures that were created.

Yup...

It couldn't have been a traditional WoW style MMO, but they could have made a cool MMO none-the-less.

This better mean that they are going to make their own Fallout MMO, otherwise they just shut this project down for no fucking reason.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor
@Lugixx said:

While I don't like what Bethesda has done with the Fallout IP, they at least did something. Interplay would've probably let the franchise fade away until it was a "hidden gem" like Arcanum. Interplay was a zombie of their former self, and I'm happy that the matters are at least settled.

I disagree.  I think Bethesda is the best thing that ever happened
to the Fallout IP.  There is no way it could be done any better.  You 
had Obsidian do New Vegas & to my knowledge they had employed
people there who were part of the original Fallout IP.   Possibly there
were some designing for Fallout 3 as well, but I never checked on
that.

It's a crying shame that $2 million had to be wasted on Interplay's 
bullshit & Interplay never planned on producing anything, just
shitting all over the IP & confusing continuity.  That $2 million could
have been re-invested into Fallout 4.
Posted by Cronus42

@MordeaniisChaos: as cool as a Bethesda Fallout MMO might be, odds are they would take The Elder Scrolls and turn that into an MMO before Fallout i think.

Edited by Wipeout

I think Interplay could have published a cool-ass Fallout online game. I don't really care for the idea of another janky-ass Bethesda style fallout; let another developer take a stab at it. Besides, Interplay has a history of absolutely kick-ass PC CRPG's.

That being said, whatever they were working on will probably get published as an unlicensed nuclear wasteland game eventually and we'll probably all get to see whether its shit or not anyways.

Posted by Krystal_Sackful

"Hey lets make an MMO out of ....." has been the phrase uttered in front of some of the worst ideas I've ever heard. Fallout MMO is just below Elder Scrolls MMO and Planescape Torment MMO.

Posted by iAmJohn
@TentPole

@nERVEcenter said:

@TentPole: Yeah, fuck da big corporate cronies, dey da problem wit everyting in da world, stick it to da man.

Nope, just ones that abuse the legal system to try and bully smaller companies.

Oh bullshit. Interplay is run by a bunch of scammers who had it coming. The contract stated that Interplay would lose the rights of they didn't hit certain milestones at specified times and they didn't, and then they had the audacity to counter-sue to try and get back the rights of the entire Fallout property that they sold to Bethesda in the first place. And that doesn't even begin to touch on that shady "Fallout Trilogy" box set they were selling, where, lest we forget, they got in trouble for intentionally misleading customers in implying that you'd get Fallout 3 in the package.

Fuck them, they're snake oil salesmen who deserve fuck all sympathy.
Posted by overjoyedpants

i actually wanted to play this, oh well

Posted by jillsandwich

While we can most likely all agree that the game would probably be shit, sometimes I wonder what it's like to work at companies like Interplay. Pretty depressing stuff when you think about what it used to be.

Posted by SirChrisofCooke

And here I was wondering why I haven't received any newsletters from the Fallout MMO site in a long time.

Posted by Humanity

@Lind_L_Taylor said:

@Lugixx said:

While I don't like what Bethesda has done with the Fallout IP, they at least did something. Interplay would've probably let the franchise fade away until it was a "hidden gem" like Arcanum. Interplay was a zombie of their former self, and I'm happy that the matters are at least settled.

I disagree. I think Bethesda is the best thing that ever happened to the Fallout IP. There is no way it could be done any better. You had Obsidian do New Vegas & to my knowledge they had employed people there who were part of the original Fallout IP. Possibly there were some designing for Fallout 3 as well, but I never checked on that.It's a crying shame that $2 million had to be wasted on Interplay's bullshit & Interplay never planned on producing anything, just shitting all over the IP & confusing continuity. That $2 million could have been re-invested into Fallout 4.

You can hardly say something like "there is no way it could be done any better" especially when talking about Bethesda games. I'm with where I don't really like the direction they went with it - which was basically Oblivion with guns. I do respect them for making a working, coherent game in that universe. As an avid Fallout 1/2 fan though Fallout 3 didn't really hit any of those tones I remember so fondly from the originals. I'd much rather have played a Fallout 3 game in the stylings of Mass Effect than Oblivion. Those guys at Bioware know how to tell a story and craft likable, unique characters and settings. Bethesda is great on scope but poor with the details.

Edited by Catfish666

@Wipeout said:

I think Interplay could have published a cool-ass Fallout online game. I don't really care for the idea of another janky-ass Bethesda style fallout; let another developer take a stab at it. Besides, Interplay has a history of absolutely kick-ass PC CRPG's.

That being said, whatever they were working on will probably get published as an unlicensed nuclear wasteland game eventually and we'll probably all get to see whether its shit or not anyways.

I'd say this was a long waited and needed mercy shot for a barely existing corpse of an game. The fact is that whereas Interplay has a fine history of releasing classic RPGs, they ceased to be a decent publisher good while ago. Hell, they were the ones who laid off the staff of Black Isle Studios 2003, whom majority of became Obsidian and developed Fallout New Vegas.

And call Bethesda's technology what you will, at least they've actually made something of the Fallout franchise, something Interplay ceased to give a crap about a long time ago. Only reason for their Fallout MMO's alleged existance was to use it as a physical evidence in their law battle against Bethesda. We will never gonna be seeing any release of it, because they got their 2 million bucks and thus whatever build they had has served its purpose.

Posted by dyong

Thank God. Fallout's got enough problems trying to be a decent single-player game for the bugs much less ruin its gameplay with MMO style garbage.

Posted by DeF

@overjoyedpants said:

i actually wanted to play this, oh well

well, I guess my beta registration one or two years ago was for nothing :(

Posted by Viking_Funeral

You know what? I don't mind. Bethesda isn't perfect, but they're far from evil. And at least they release games.

Posted by AlexanderSheen

That's not shocking, really. Interplay was just a shell of a developer in the last few years.

Posted by HyperionXR

In my blind love for any and all things Fallout, I would have gone for it. Oh well. Give me Fallout 4 now please.

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