Bethesda is facing a class-action lawsuit over the way it handled the release of DLC for Fallout 4.
The lawsuit revolves around Fallout 4's Season Pass, which was announced in September 2015 with a $30 price tag (later increased to $50) and promising access to all the DLC ever done for the game, GamesBeat reported.
However, in 2017, Bethesda announced Creation Club, which is described as "a collection of all-new content for both Fallout 4 and Skyrim." That content was created both by external partners and Bethesda Games Studios itself, and isn't available to people who have bought the Season Pass.
The attorneys of the class-action lawsuit, Filippo Marchino and Thomas Gray from The X-Law Group, argue that this content constitutes DLC and that players who purchased the Season Pass should therefore have access to it.
The lawsuit, which was filed in July 2019, encompasses charges including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and deceit or fraud. Bethesda's counsel, Margaret Esquenet, denied the accusations.
The lawsuit could delay Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax, with Marchino telling GamesBeat: "What we're going to try and do is go in and ask a judge to stop the sale between Microsoft and Bethesda to preserve the assets. And it's known as a motion for preliminary injunction."
A trial could happen by 2022, GamesBeat said, and damages could be as high as $1.1 billion, more if you include punitive damages.
"Simply put, Bethesda sold a Season Pass with the understanding that it was going to give the holders of the Season Pass any and all DLC content there was going to be created for the game Fallout 4 on a go-forward basis," Marchino said.
"They released a limited amount of DLC. Then they released a second wave of DLC, but decided to call it the Creation Club content and artificially removed it from the definition of DLC. Meaning that they promised people at the onset, we will give you everything we made. And then they reneged on that promise, and they did so to their benefit or the detriment of the plaintiffs. So that's where they did something wrong. They lied. They took money from gamers, and then they made more money."
GamesIndustry.biz reached out to Bethesda for comment.