Atari, Interplay Settle D&D Licensing Dispute

| 7 Aug 2008 16:54

Interplay and Atari have apparently settled a long-running dispute over the ownership of licensing rights for games based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise.

Like a pair of washed-up heavyweights pawing at each other in the closing rounds of a third-rate undercard, the two faded giants announced the settlement of a quarrel that most people didn't even know existed. While Atari, which was recently purchased outright by Infogrames for the paltry sum of $11 million, is generally regarded as better off than Interplay, which has been living almost exclusively off the income it earned from the sale of the Fallout franchise to Bethesda Softworks, both companies have struggled with serious financial difficulties in recent years, and have been reduced from major industry players to little more than shell corporations.

In any event, the two companies were apparently embroiled in a disagreement over D&D licensing rights, but have now settled matters to everyone's satisfaction. According to a Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Interplay on July 24, Atari will purchase all of Interplay's rights to D&D-licensed games, while an earlier agreement by Atari to pay just over $1 million to Interplay will be canceled. "Pursuant to the Agreement, Atari Interactive exercised an existing option to purchase, and purchased, from the Company [Interplay] intellectual property rights developed by the Company in connection with the Dungeons & Dragons games and the balance of all amounts due from the Company to Atari Interactive under the Note of approximately $1,050,000.00 was canceled and terminated," the form says.

Dungeons & Dragons has played a major role in the development of both companies: Interplay published the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment games, widely viewed as among the most influential computer RPGs of all time, while Atari has more recently handled the Neverwinter Nights franchise as well as the MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. What plans Atari has for Interplay's D&D rights, if any, are unknown.

Dry and dull though it is, Interplay's entire Form 8-K filing regarding the sale of its D&D rights to Atari can be read here.

Source: Big Download

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