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Hines: Bethesda “own the rights” to Fallout MMO, not Interplay

Friday, 21 January 2011 18:18 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Bethesda VP of PR Pete Hines has told VG247 in unequivocal terms that Bethesda, not Interplay, owns the rights to develop any Fallout MMO.

Interplay’s Eric Caen said last year that Bethesda had turned down the option to develop a Fallout MMO when it bought the rights to the IP in 2007.

But Hines, speaking in a phone interview yesterday, insisted the claim is not true in the slightest.

“We own the rights to the MMO,” he said when asked if Caen’s comments were true.

He continued: “We own the rights to everything Fallout. The licence is ours. Fallout belongs to us. That’s what I’ll clarify.

“Beyond that, I’m not commenting on anybody else’s comments. It’s a legal matter. A specific MMO or project or any of that stuff, the lawyers are all going to sort it out.”

Since last night’s interview, Caen has responded to Hines’s quotes.

“I can’t agree on this,” Caen told VG247 in an email this evening.

“When we sold the IP, it was clear that the MMO could be developed by Interplay. Then we received a unilateral termination letter.

“Since that, we are only asking either to continue the development, either to get this contract cancelled as the consideration would not have been received in full.”

You can hear Hines’s full quote from this morning’s Morning News Bulletin here

Bethesda “allowed” to do one more Fallout if MMO release is blocked

Caen told Eurogamer that Interplay could develop Fallout 6 following a fifth title from Bethesda if Fallout Online’s release is blocked.

“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.”

Caen continued: “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 has been developing Fallout Online since 2008, but was sued in 2009 for trademark infringement and breach of agreement over the title, previously codenamed Project V13.

The MMO is aiming for a 2012 release, with a beta due in the same year.

The comments from the two men are merely the latest in an increasingly bitter legal wrangle between the two parties, with Interplay claiming earlier this month that Bethesda’s take on the matter is “absurd”.

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25 Comments

  1. GwynbleiddiuM

    For the love of god leave Interplay alone, I for one have had enough of the taste of Bethesda’s Fallout. If you have any talent put it to create a descent RPG game we don’t expect a Triple AAA MMO title from you…

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Wow, so if the IP goes back to Interplay we can look forward to Fallout 6 never coming out as well!

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    @2, The reason why Interplay never released Fallout MMO or something “Fallout”.

    It’s because of MONEY. In the past they released everything in the schedule.

    For me it’s better if Fallout never comes out, then Bethesda’s piece of dog shit like Oblivion with guns. But at least Obsidian made a sequel to Fallout 2 that lives up to the hype.

    @GwynbleiddiuM, New Vegas = Original fallout member team.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Blerk

    I really can’t see how you can hate on Fallout 3 and love New Vegas, Erth. They’re 95% the same game.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Old MacDonald

    4: Those 5% matter quite a lot, actually. New Vegas is a vastly superior game.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Blerk

    I’m playing it at the minute and can’t say I’ve noticed anything that’s significantly better. It’s more like another piece of DLC than a new game.

    That’s not a complaint, btw – I loved FO3 and I’m loving NV too. I just can’t understand how you could like one and not the other, especially considering that Erth’s complaint is that Fallout 3 is “Oblivion with guns”, because that’s exactly the same in NV, surely?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    @6 engine similarities and bethesda’s stupid shooting mechanics, VATS system ends here.

    Can you finish campaign and all quests without killing monster or NPC in New Vegas? – yes you can. In F3 you can’t.
    Quests are much better, non linear in most cases, while in Fallout 3 you just only shoot shit.
    Main quest is much better, it feels less predictable and you have a lot of choices. Story is better. Characters are interesting.
    Atmosphere is better. Music from Fallout 2 is there also (Nostalgia).
    More balanced.
    If you never played old Fallout games, of course you won’t notice anything. New Vegas is a real present to hardcore Fallout fans and everyone says that. You can read opinions on this on Kotaku or Bethsda forum.

    and it’s a sequel, even exploring in New Vegas feels much better then in Fallout 3.

    fallout 3 is a shitty console RPG game for console fans AT Best.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    Well, I can happily accept all of those reasons why you think New Vegas is better. I just can’t accept that it’s a big enough jump to turn a game from “shitty” to “living up to the hype”.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. TheWulf

    I’m hoping that Interplay will actually be able to go ahead with Fallout Online, I really do.

    Bethesda is a fine company, but their games are as dull as dishwater and have been since Oblivion. This is generally due to a lack of clever writers. Obsidian made a really good stab at things with New Vegas, and that was an amazing game, but the incredibly serious nature of it made its intellectual side feel like a college student that was trying too hard to impress his or her peers.

    If New Vegas had been more open-minded and funnier, a la Fallout 2, then it would’ve been perhaps the greatest RPG of our time, and definitely the best Fallout game. So it being somewhat dry was a shame. Still the best RPG out there as far as choices and consequences are concerned, though, if you ask me.

    I will admit that the Church of Harold pamphlet released by the Fallout Online developers made me smile more than any Fallout game has managed since Tactics.

    The problem is is that Bethesda forgot that Fallout is intelligent, and Obsidian forgot that the intelligence of Fallout should be conveyed with humour. So they’re both doing it wrong, to a degree. Interplay looks like they rather remember how Fallout is supposed to work – black humour and silliness all the way, underpinned with disguised, serious issues, choices, and consequences. That’s the Fallout I remember.

    But then, I’m an old fart. I remember Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics more fondly than any other Fallout games.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. TheWulf

    @2: You might need to brush up on your gaming history before saying something as obviously ignorant as that. >_>;

    Sorry, I’m just calling that for what it is, since the Interplay of yore were pretty good with release schedules. And being a prick and citing one instance where they had financial difficulties doesn’t actually prove the case, rather it’s the exception to the rule that doesn’t disprove it.

    @3: Actually, that’s not entirely true.

    Obsidian used to equal about half of the Black Isle team, these days it’s more like a quarter.

    There are just as many Black Isle people working on Fallout Online. Including Chris Taylor, who’s a very important person in regards to the Fallout Universe and its development.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Blerk

    My gaming history’s fine, thanks. The Interplay of today is a pale ghost of the Interplay of yore. It’s essentially a completely different company with the same name, so comparing the two is pretty pointless.

    Has the ‘new’ Interplay even released anything since it reformed?

    #11 4 years ago
  12. DSB

    I grabbed New Vegas at the Steam sale, but is it really as insane and offensive as the early ones?

    Fallout 3 was way too harmless and PC, save for a rare few encounters.

    Regardless of Interplay running their own business into the ground or releasing Fallout 2 with an absolutely amazing ammount of bugs, I’m kinda sorry they sold the IP to Bethesda. They’re more interested in squeezing the last few dollars out of their proprietary technology than making a truly generational Fallout game in my opinion.

    Then again, Interplay are off somewhere in Romania building a discount MMO. That’s not exactly showing respect to the legacy either.

    @9 You didn’t chuckle when you saw the fate of Harold in Fallout 3? I wasn’t impressed with the game itself, but that was arguably the high point for me, besides killing that fuckface of a DJ.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. DarkElfa

    I think they should both create a Fallout MMO and let the players decide which one is best.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Johnny Cullen

    Eric Caen of Interplay’s responded.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. blackdreamhunk

    I honestly I fine this real funny.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. pukem0n

    the more fallout, the better

    i loved FO3 AND NV. put over 80 hours into them combined, something i rarely do with games.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. TheWulf

    @12: Sorry. :/

    The thing is is that it was just not what I was expecting from the character after Fallout 2. The thing is is that it’s funny if you don’t really know what Harold is like, but otherwise it kind of felt wrong. The whole character felt off. It looked like someone had read a very bare design sheet on his character and went off with that.

    That’s what it is, I suppose. The Harold in the pamphlet reads like Harold. The Harold I know.

    Not to mention that there was no explanation of how he managed to get the huge distance from where Fallout 2 is set, to where Fallout 3 is set. (They’re set in entirely different regions.) All of this was playing on my mind so much that I couldn’t find it funny.

    I suppose it’s like… if you know what an original IP is like, and what the characters are supposed to be like, then when the people handling the reboot get it wrong it’s grating, you know? I mean, there’s a Canadian reboot of Being Human going on at the moment, and it feels all wrong to me because they’re not the characters from the UK one. So I’m just not interested in watching it.

    I’m really attached to the characters, and if they’re not handled right then I can’t find the proceedings funny.

    Also… New Vegas isn’t really all that offensive at all beyond Caesar’s Legion. This is what I was talking about with the black humour and all… I felt that aside from a few points (like the Vault 34 question), there were too many pulled punches. It felt muted. It was dry. It was still one of the best RPGs I’ve played in the longest time, though. It had the best choices & consequences system I’ve seen in an RPG in years. Possibly since Fallout 2.

    But it was… tame, yeah. Kind of dry. But clever! It was so very clever. It was just that… it kind of had a stick up its arse. That’s the problem with Obsidian these days, though. They lost their funnier people, and everything is serious business now. Even the few funny bits they did throw in were sectioned off into an optional trait. And that’s just not Fallout. Fallout is offensive, funny, and sometimes even sick. But it’s also absolutely brilliant.

    I don’t think that Obsidian entirely get that.

    Fallout: New Vegas is one of the best RPGs I’ve played in the longest time, by far. But it’s not one of the best Fallout games. Tactics was far more faithful, despite a few clerical errors it held up the spirit of Fallout better.

    @13: Zenimax has enough money to possibly buy Interplay. Then the Fallout MMORPG could happen without any inner strife. To be honest, it seems that they’re just being a bit… dickish over this. It’s saddening because there are some really good ideas in Project V13 (Fallout Online). And some of the people working on it are some of the most important people in the Fallout Universe.

    I’ll continue to hope for the best.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Golden

    I don’t like it when mummy and daddy fight

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Suikoden Fan

    you know theres only one way to sort this out

    FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #19 4 years ago
  20. TheWulf

    I actually wish it wouldn’t come down to fighting. If only Interplay and Bethesda could sort this out like reasonable, civilised people. The sad part is is that the game (Fallout Online) is going to suffer for it. And that’s a damn shame, because it seems like a grand game filled with good ideas.

    Surely you can find a way to work with Interplay, Bethesda? And vice versa. IP stuff is getting scary these days with the levels corporations feel they need to go to to protect it.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. GwynbleiddiuM

    @Erthazus: I know that part (original FO team). But I am still not satisfied. The reason I didn’t bring FO3 up is that was a total disappointment for me, but at least I’m playing NV and like the things you pointed out (except the story).

    @20: well it is actually in the fighting stage but it’s a legal fight.

    Interplay is not in a stable financial situation and the whole point on letting Bethesda work on their IP was to raise funds to cover development costs of Fallout Online. And now that they’re making progress Bethesda is after the complete ownership of the IP. At this point Interplay might as well spend what they have on the legal matter to keep the IP or at least hope for co-ownership or something.

    Besides Bethesda already has The Elder Scrolls IP and they could have worked on a TES MMO instead, and I don’t understand why. Much like I never understood why BioWare creating SWTOR instead of Mass Effect MMO…

    #21 4 years ago
  22. zelon

    @TheWulf

    LULZ at most of your comments about Interplay and their MMO fallout game that I pray to the gaming gods NEVER sees the light of day.

    First of all, realize this. Interplay is NOT Interplay. There is absolutely nobody working at Interplay that was around during their “glory” years when the last real Interplay Fallout games were made. There isn’t even anybody left from when they made that awful BoS game either except for the Caen brothers themselves. They were all let go when Titus went out of business. Some former employees even successfully sued for unpaid wages. All of this information is available to you on the internet, a simple wikipedia search will show you this.

    Aside from a couple of very recent iCrap games, this Interplay has not released a single video game since 2004. This Interplay has only served one purpose throughout the years and that is to keep the Caen brothers hidden from creditors going after Titus and employed. They’ve made money from both the Interplay and Titus back catalog and from selling off IPs.

    No good will ever come out of this, Titus was responsible for the worst of Interplay and themselves the worst games of all time – Superman 64 need I say any more?

    Chris Taylor is working under contract for Interplay as producer for the MMO and this means nothing. Keep in mind he himself hasn’t made a video game in a decade. The last time he ahad nything to do with a Fallout game was as producer for tactics, a craptacular non-canon RTS that was outsourced to a foreign developer the same as this MMO is. Other than that he only worked on FO1 and although he was important to that project, most of the stuff people love about Fallout he had nothing to do with. Mark O’Green is also working under contract. He wrote dialogue for FO1/FO2 and that crummy newsletter you praised earlier, big flippin wow. Did you know there was a third original FO developer (Jason Anderson) who was producer before Chris Taylor? He left the project because it was a trainwreck.

    The bottom line is Caen can piss over the contract all he wants, he is legally screwed. He is French and probably has no idea how the US legal system works. My crystal ball says legally he is screwed and so is the name Interplay. They won’t be around much longer.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. cameroncrogers

    OH they better NOT block it. Because if interplay gets it, this is what will happen: Bethesda will make 1 more fallout. Then interplay will make 1 more. They will get bored of the game series, and sell it to activision. And activision will kill it, like activision always does to games they buy, in example, spyro and crash. SO they better NOT. Also interplay SUCKS. Interplay will end up making the games isometric again and people will be wishing for fallout 3 and new vegas version of the series. I know that if interplay gets the game series and dont use the engine fallout 3 and new vegas is on, i will never buy a fallout again. End of story. Interplay sucks and all there games turn out crap. Like in example the classic game casper for PS1.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. Loonyboi fan

    What is wrong whit most of you people? i see so much BULL… bethesda is the best developer/publisher of fallout series! if anything, fallout3 made the really good game even better! they took it to the next level and then interplay wanted it back like the crybabies that they are…

    and New Vegas -spinnof- …how does that have a better main story then fallout 3? you must be junkies saying that… fallout 3 had the best main story and broken steel. NV replaced the big guns whit stupid survival skill… no boubleheads… skill books sucked… not a perk each level… and the state was so plain… you go in a house just to find out there is nothing there, just like in the 100places you were before… fallout 3 had meaning everywere<3 a great story, and enclaves! NEW VEGAS VAULTS: SUCKS! could be so much better…

    The only thing i give a thumbs up on new vegas is that they had iron sight…

    there is going to be a fallout MMO but not by interplay, but a good one by bethesda.

    and if you dont agree whit me that is fine, but you're wrong not me, if you like the crapier version of the game, so be it.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Loonyboi fan

    if interplay gets back the right to fallout series il just do as interplay and say: no you said you gave it to me.. you wont know if am telling the truth but you can take a 50/50 % chance… and when fallout series is all mine il give it back to bethesda so interplay can start crying over it again and again and again and again and again and again..

    do you want fallout in f*** up style or bethesda style ?

    new vegas is a fun game sure, but it also suck at the same time… it’s like… you have the first phone ever built… and ihpone 5… you just go thinking the game could be so much better if the right people were making NV.

    lol, funny date for a MMO – dec 2012. we could play it some days before the end of the world:) but ofc there wont be ”the end of the world” just like there wont be a FALLOUT MMO by INTERPLAY.

    #25 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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