Interplay: Bethesda refused Fallout MMO, wants it for free

Despite both working on the Fallout universe, things between Interplay and Bethesda are rather sour, mostly thanks to Bethesda suing Interplay for not producing a Fallout MMO in time. According to Interplay’s Eric Caen, Bethesda never even wanted the MMO, and is now only suing his company in order to get it for free.

“Hervé [Caen] started negotiations with Bethesda to sell Fallout to them,” he says. “My brother said: ‘If you want the full IP, the value of it is $50 million.’ 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. 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.”

Despite both working on the Fallout universe, things between Interplay and Bethesda are rather sour, mostly thanks to Bethesda suing Interplay for not producing a Fallout MMO in time. According to Interplay’s Eric Caen, Bethesda never even wanted the MMO, and is now only suing his company in order to get it for free.

“Hervé [Caen] started negotiations with Bethesda to sell Fallout to them,” he says. “My brother said: ‘If you want the full IP, the value of it is $50 million.’ 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. 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.”

{{page_break}}

Despite Caen’s claims that Interplay did what it was obliged to do, the developer of Fallout 3 has pressed ahead with a lawsuit: “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, realized that Hervé was probably right about the value. They said: ‘OK, how can we get that without paying?’”

It’s always sad when developers throw litigation at each other, because it stops them concentrating on games, which is really all a developer should be doing. I’m sad Bethesda felt the need to sue Interplay, and I’m sad the two companies couldn’t have worked together without getting into a slapfight. 

I’m saddest most of all, however, because I have a feeling that this Fallout MMO business isn’t going to end well. 

Interplay: Bethesda Turned Down Rights To Fallout MMOG [Edge]

Jim Sterling