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Bethesda: "We own the rights to the Fallout MMO"

Trademark dispute continues as Interplay claims it can seize back rights to Fallout 6 and beyond

The ongoing dispute between Bethesda and Interplay over rights to the Fallout franchise has thrown up more complications.

Bethesda's VP of PR Pete Hines has claimed to VG247 that "We own the rights to the MMO. We own the rights to everything Fallout. The licence is ours. Fallout belongs to us."

This came in response to comments made by Interplay co-founder Eric Caen last year, claiming that Bethesda had declined to purchase MMO rights when acquiring the rest of the IP in 2007.

Following Hines' claims, Caen stated to Eurogamer that it could potentially block Bethesda's ongoing use of the IP were it prevented from releasing the MMO.

"We sold the Fallout IP to Bethesda in exchange for a certain amount of cash and the right to do the Fallout MMO," he said.

"If they refuse to let us do the game, then the sale of the IP is terminated, and they will be allowed to do only one more Fallout, 5.

"The original licensing deal was for three games and their DLC. So they already did Fallout 3, then Fallout: New Vegas, and they can only do one more Fallout, 5, if the sale of the IP is cancelled by the court."

Interplay's retention of rights to a Fallout MMO version when selling the general IP to Bethesda was made on the understanding that it must commence development and secure adequate funding by April 2009.

Following news that Interplay was working on the MMO, codenamed 'Project V13', with Masthead Studios, Bethesda sued the troubled firm for trademark infringement and breach of agreement in September 2009.

Despite his claims to own all Fallout rights, Hines did admit that "It's a legal matter. A specific MMO or project or any of that stuff, the lawyers are all going to sort it out."

Interplay's MMO is scheduled for a 2012 release.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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