Interplay president Eric Caen has revealed that the publisher offered to sell Bethesda the rights to a Fallout MMO in the deal for other rights to the IP, but were turned down as the $50 million price tag was considered too expensive.
The rights are at the centre of an ongoing legal battle between the two companies, and hinges on an arrangement made when Bethesda purchased the Fallout IP in 2007.
Interplay had certain conditions to fulfil in order to be able to produce a Fallout MMO, with Bethesda arguing it has failed to meet them.
Speaking to Edge magazine in an interview, Eric Caen spoke about how his brother Hervé (then president of Interplay) had put a high price on the rights to a Fallout MMO.
"Hervé [Caen] started negotiations with Bethesda to sell Fallout to them. My brother said: 'If you want the full IP, the value of it is $50 million'" Caen told the magazine.
"They said: 'No way. Why $50 million?' We said: 'Because the MMOG strength of this universe is huge.' Bethesda said: 'We don't want that. Let's buy everything else but the MMOG. Do the MMOG.' They said that Interplay had to start development and by a certain time we had to have a full game in development."
In 2009, Bethesda sued Interplay over its reissuing of the original Fallout games in a triple pack entitled Fallout: Trilogy, claiming that it would cause confusion between that product and the Bethesda-produced Fallout 3.
That claim was subsequently denied in court with Interplay counter-suing Bethesda in return.
Speaking about the terms of the agreement, Eric Caen claimed time frame requirements had been met.
"They bought everything, but left Interplay with the licence to do the MMOG - under certain conditions, thinking that Interplay would never fulfil these conditions. But Interplay did. Spring 2009 - this is public information - Bethesda sends a termination letter to Interplay, saying: 'You did not fulfil your obligation.'
"So all the litigation is about that. I think Bethesda, off the back of Fallout 3's success, realised that Hervé was probably right about the value. They said: 'OK, how can we get that without paying?'"
Interplay is reportedly still working on a game entitled 'Project V13', which is widely believed to be the MMO in question. Legal proceedings continue.