Interplay’s latest court filing contends that despite its claims to the contrary, Bethesda has known for years about its intention to use existing elements of the Fallout universe in its Fallout MMO.
In December 2009, the long-running slapfest between Bethesda and Interplay over the Fallout MMO took an interesting turn when Bethesda claimed that the licensing deal between the two companies allowed Interplay to use the Fallout name, and only the Fallout name, in its MMO. In other words, while the game could be called Fallout Online, it could not legally contain any recognizable Fallout content from any of the previous games, which I think it’s reasonable to say would make it kind of a crappy Fallout game.
Interplay quickly dismissed the suggestion as ludicrous and on June 23 filed court documents citing conversations between the two companies going as far back as 2007 that it claims demonstrates that Bethesda knew exactly what Interplay had in mind for the game.
“For at least four years, Bethesda has known that Interplay interpreted its right to create the Fallout-branded MMOG to include copyrighted content from the Fallout universe in order to make the MMOG a recognizable Fallout game,” the document says. “Bethesda never objected and did not seek an injunction because it knew Interplay was doing exactly what the parties intended under their agreements.”
The filing also dismisses Bethesda’s claim that a Fallout MMO would lead to confusion among Fallout 3 fans because of potential conflicts between the two games, calling it “ironic” that Bethesda would be so worried about confusion while at the same time expecting Interplay to make a Fallout MMO using only “incompatible story, characters and art.” Bethesda refused opportunities to coordinate plot details during the game’s design phase, it adds, although it notes that because of the sheer size of the Fallout design docs – more than 20,000 pages – any conflicts would be minor.