Bethesda's Fallout MMO appeal denied

Bethesda's bid to win preliminary injunction against Interplay fails

Bethesda has suffered another setback in its ongoing legal struggle over Interplay's Fallout MMO.

The Fallout 3 developer was initially denied a preliminary injunction against Interplay in September, but yesterday its appeal against the court's decision was also rejected.

According to documents released by the Unites States Court of Appeals, Bethesda sought to prove that the, "district court abused its discretion and misapplied the law in concluding that Bethesda failed to establish a likelihood of irreparable harm."

A point of contention for Bethesda is Interplay's financial stability, and whether the company would be able to pay any applicable damages should it prove successful in halting the MMO's production.

The source of the dispute is in the particulars of the $5.75 million deal for the Fallout license in April 2007. Bethesda agreed that the rights for an online Fallout game would remain with Interplay on the condition that "full scale development" should start with at least $30 million in funding within two years.

In April 2009, financial documents from Interplay revealed that Bethesda intended to take legal action to prove that these obligations had not been fulfilled.

The purpose of the injunction was to halt production on Interplay's MMO until the matter could be resolved in full. However, it was necessary for Bethesda to prove that the wait would prove damaging to its business - a proposition that the court roundly rejected.

Bethesda is also currently in a legal dispute with Minecraft developer Mojang over its new project, Scrolls.

Bethesda claims that the title infringes on its Elder Scrolls trademark, but Mojang won an interim injunction that will allow it to keep using the name until the case goes to court.

Related stories

Critical Consensus: Rage 2

Bethesda, id Software and Avalanche Studios team up for a potentially brilliant shooter adrift in a largely pointless open-world

By Matthew Handrahan

Westworld Mobile shutting down following lawsuit settlement

Update: Behaviour Interactive says removal from App Store and Google Play was not connected to "amicable resolution" of copyright dispute

By Rebekah Valentine

Latest comments (11)

James Boulton Owner, Retro HQ Ltd7 years ago
I'm a bit sceptical about a Fallout MMO living up to Fallout 3 & NV regardless of the developer. Maybe it's just because I'm set in the single player RPG mindset, though. Having the whole IRC chat like thing just breaks any immersion for me.

Fallout 3 is fantastic though, so I hope someone eventually does something cool with it MMO stylee but breaks the mould in the MMO world.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 7 years ago
These kind of events became so common nowadays to the point I believe there is no way to even bother posting a story about them like the one above. Better post interviews and other interesting stuff.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Wells Gaming Contributor - 7 years ago
I have to side with Bethesda on this, really- Interplay had a legal obligation to get their rear in gear and develop this MMO, and they just sat on their hands.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (11)
Christopher Cherry DRM Account Manager, Tribeka Ltd7 years ago
Completely disagree with you there James unfortunately. It's publishers like Bethesda putting pressure to finish a game when it hasn't been properly tested or finished that has led to so many off the shelf titles being simply awful.

So, in theory, Interplay release the game on Bethesda's demand, the public vote with their feet after discovering it stinks and the game flunks. Who wins then?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrzej Wroblewski Localization Generalist, Albion Localisations7 years ago
Completely disagree with your short-sighted typical marketing opinion there as well, Christopher. It's not a matter of whether a game has been properly tested or not already, but whether a professional approach has been employed in order to meet both schedule and quality requirements. And here Interplay simply failed... and should bear the consequences. I'm astonished by such court rulings...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nick Moore Audio Composition 7 years ago
Bethesda certainly seem to have developed an 'itchy trigger finger' in regards to lawsuits. LOL In this case, I see both parties are to blame to an extent; Bethesda should have been more realistic/responsible in their initial endeavor with Interplay; outlining more realistic goals and or expectations and Interplay should have simply done the same and perhaps NOT agreed to something that they could not deliver on.

I think both Christopher Cherry and Andrzej Wroblewski made valid points. Case in point, just look at the quality of Fallout New Vegas... garbage! A perfect example of Bethesda's own desire to PUSH a game out before it's ready.
If only Bethesda had "employed a more professional approach themselves" and allowed a more realistic time line to actually test Fallout New Vegas, BEFORE releasing it...they wouldn't have produced such a turd. Lol

Interplay simply needed to NOT agree to something they could fulfill.

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Scott Berfield Executive Producer, University of Washington7 years ago
Would have to read the contracts to know the details, but if there is an agreement in place and both parties signed off, then that should bind. If Interplay (which barely still exists) agreed to start development with $30M in funding within 2 years of the execution of the agreement, and did not do so, then it may suck for them, but that's the nature of contracts. Bethesda has totally re-invigorated the Fallout property and has a strong interest in not seeing a sub-par product come out that damages the value it has created. If Interplay agreed without having the wherewithal to meet its obligations then they shoud lose.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
I actually see this as good news, as I prefer my RPGs single-player experiences as well.

That and I'd hate to see a Fallout MMO fail miserably, costing a ton of money and affecting Bethsoft's being able to to do what they do best.

Oh, Interplay... it's your move now, so get cracking on making the game you fought so hard to protect. I'm actually curious to see if they can do a decent online Fallout game, even though I wouldn't play the thing...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
I really don't care what happens with the lawsuit, but I would like Journalists to acknowledge the fact that Bethesda are not the creators of Fallout.

"The Fallout 3 developer was initially denied a preliminary injunction against Interplay in September."

I really wish he would have worded this sentence more like...

"Bethesda, creators of the series third installment and current owner of the IP, was initially..."

It drives me nuts how little credit Black Isle Studios get for THEIR creation. Yes Bethesda OWNS Fallout but they DIDN'T CREATE it.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sean Warren Inspector 7 years ago
Take it easy there hunter, we all know the score.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tobias Burandt7 years ago
Nobody can sell me that Bethesda did this because they're afraid Interplay would deliver a sub-quality product. Neither Brink nor Hunted really managed to score big on the market. They were both 'average' games. We shall see if Skyrim manages to excite people who are not Elder Scrolls Fanboys.
I really think that sueing your competitors and partners isn't really a way to maintain quality. If you want to be sucessful, do it with superior products, not with tactical lawsuits.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.