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Bethesda and Interplay reach settlement regarding Fallout MMO

Interplay won't be talking about its upcoming Fallout MMO anymore, following a court settlement that was reached between Interplay and Bethesda Softworks, the owner of the Fallout license since 2007. The license agreement is toast. If the apocalyptic MMO that was reportedly under development by Masthead Studios ever does see release, it will have no relationship to the Fallout IP.

Under the terms of the settlement, Interplay will still be able to sell the original Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2 PC games through December 31, 2013. Otherwise, Bethesda retains all rights to the Fallout IP. Additionally, ZeniMax Media (Bethesda's parent company) will pay Interplay $2 million as consideration. Both companies will take care of their own legal fees, which are likely to be substantial given the duration of the legal wrangling that ultimately led to the settlement.

The issues that prompted today's announcement began in 2007, when Bethesda granted Interplay (the original IP holder) a license to internally develop the Fallout MMO. Under the terms of that license, Interplay was required to secure $30 million in financing and commence fullscale development of the game by April of 2009, a two-year period.

Interplay worked with Masthead Studios to commence development, which was not acceptable under the existing agreement. While Bethesda refused to recognize the development and use of its IP, Interplay insisted that development and an eventual game release would follow. Thus began the legal action.

Bethesda also reached a separate settlement with Masthead Studios, the supposed developer of the Fallout MMO. Masthead Studios denied that it was using any intellectual property related to the franchise and agreed that it will not use Fallout intellectual property in the future, either. No payments were involved in the settlement, which was finalized on December 29, 2011.

As a result of the two settlements, Bethesda has now resolved all pending litigation relating to the Fallout intellectual property. That leaves the company in a better position to look toward its future and the future of the popular Fallout IP.

"While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits," said Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, "we 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."

There was no announcement of any new Fallout titles, but the vigorously fought court battles suggest that Bethesda has more plans for franchise. Those plans include Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition, scheduled for release in early 2012.

Reported by Jason Venter


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