John McCarroll
Bethesda Regains Fallout MMORPG Rights
Zenimax settles with Interplay. Expect Zenimax Online to make this title?
01.09.12 - 5:09 PM

Zenimax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced today that they have reached a settlement with Interplay in regards to the Fallout license. In 2009, Bethesda filed a suit against Interplay seeking to rescind the rights to a Fallout MMORPG, stating that Interplay had failed to meet the conditions to keep the license.

With this settlement, Bethesda will immediately regain rights to produce an MMORPG with the Fallout license and Interplay will hold zero rights to the franchise for game development. Interplay does retain the rights to sell their original titles, Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics until December 31, 2013, upon which dates, the rights revert to Bethesda. This was a part of the original purchase agreement of the Fallout license.

How did the two companies get there? Bethesda has agreed to pay Interplay a sum of $2,000,000 USD and both companies will pay for their own lawyer's fees.

In a second, related settlement, Bethesda's complaint against Masthead Studios, whom Interplay claimed they had hired to work on a Fallout MMORPG has been completed. Bethesda stated that Interplay could not sublet the licensing for the title. This settlement ended with a statement from Masthead that they acknowledged no legal right to the Fallout franchise and that they would not use any Bethesda intellectual property in game development. No monetary compensation changed hands.

Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, had to say on the topic, "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. 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 tl;dr version? Bethesda now has all rights to Fallout, so expect them to be used.