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Interplay submit new filing in Fallout case

By David Jenkins

Wed 29 Jun 2011 7:47am GMT / 3:47am EDT / 12:47am PDT

Bethesda knew Fallout Online included more than just name "for at least four years"

Bethesda Softworks

The Bethesda Softworks division, founded in 1986, has a long history of success as a developer and publisher...

Fallout Online publisher Interplay has insisted that Bethesda always intended to license to it elements beyond just the Fallout name, contrary to previous claims.

The long-running legal dispute between the two companies centres on the rights to make a massively multiplayer online game set in the Fallout universe, rights which Bethesda sold back to Interplay - the original publisher of the series.

At the end of last year Bethesda insisted that it had sold only the name Fallout and that locations, storylines, characters and iconography of the previous games, such as the iconic 'PIPboy', can be used only by Bethesda.

A new court filing submitted by Interplay, and obtained by Gamasutra, claims that as early as 2007 an agreement had been reached to license more than just the name.

As well as detailing discussions to this effect between the two companies Interplay also alleges that Bethesda is purposefully delaying the legal battle, filing the injunction over the use of the name less than six months before the trial date dealing with the wider issues of the rights.

"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," reads Interplay's new filing.

The filing also dispute Bethesda's claim that Fallout Online would confuse players because of plot conflicts with the offline games, pointing out that Bethesda's own legal argument now rests on Interplay creating a game with an entirely separate set of characters and locations.

Interplay also claim that Bethesda refused invitations to coordinate plot elements between the two companies, insisting that the publisher is simply "repackaging" existing arguments with no new facts.

Given Interplay's mounting debts the implication is that Bethesda is merely trying to wait out Interplay's financial collapse.

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