Bethesda/Interplay Argy-Bargy Ends

By Alec Meer on January 4th, 2012 at 2:19 pm.

This is fallout online, allegedly, said a man once

It’s the Duke Nukem Forever of gaming-based legal scuffles, and apparently it’s over at last. We don’t yet know the details – i.e. who’s won, who’s paying who what and most of all who, if anyone, will be releasing a Fallout MMO – but we do know that, after an awful lot of back and forth and he said no he said but he started it but yeah but no a settlement has finally been reached in the long-running Bethesda and Interplay battle.

Short background: when Interplay sold the Fallout rights to the Bethesda, they in theory retained the Fallout MMO rights, so long as they started work on it within a certain time and with a certain budget. Bethesda claim those provisos were broken and thus seek to stop Interplay from making the MMO.

There was a hearing back in December, with Duck and Cover reporting that court documents and sources reveal both parties have agreed on a settlement instead of further legal action. As far as I can tell this is legit, not just conjecture. And it means this case, which we’ve been wittering on about since before Fallout 3 came out, will fade into the dusty history books of gaming, instead of being a headline we dig out again every six months.

Apparently we can expect to find out the nature of the agreement later this month. I guess I’d like to see Interplay make Fallout Online, but it does depend on whether they can raise the funds and brains required to make it great – I don’t want a hackjob.

Still to come: an outcome for the Scrolls/Elder Scrolls fandango.

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54 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    I prefer my post-apocalyptic wastelands not to be full of thousands of obnoxious MMO players, myself. Consequently I’d prefer “Interplay” (the quotes are important there) to make the game, both because I don’t want Bethesda’s resources tied up on a junk project and because I doubt “Interplay” will ever really produce anything anyway.

    • shovelface88 says:

      Agreed. Just give me Fallout 4, you can keep the MMO.

    • MarkG0 says:

      I agree I’d hate to play a game with you as well.

    • godgoo says:

      @Vinraith

      A little scalding, but I agree with your sentiment in principle. Huzzah!

      @MarkG0

      Let the internet echo chamber of rage commence!

    • Vinraith says:

      @MarkG0

      Then we’re all agreed, huzzah!

    • The Tupper says:

      Girls, please.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Bitch please. The Internet People I’ve encountered in SWTOR have been mostly lovely and helpful so far.

      We’re not all monsters.

    • Unaco says:

      I’m not really one for MMO’s, but to just straight up label an entire group of people as “obnoxious” is, well, a bit obnoxious I guess.

      I’m having difficulty with your post Vinraith… You don’t want to play a Fallout MMO (or any MMO I’m guessing), so you want “Interplay” (the quotes are important, I know, but you don’t say why) to make it. Thus, Bethesda won’t expend any resources on it, and “Interplay” will never finish it. So… You don’t want to play it, therefore you hope it doesn’t get made. That strikes me as a little selfish.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Unaco: “Interplay” to separate it from Interplay. It’s quite obvious.

    • Kent says:

      Of course it’s selfish! Isn’t that Bethesda games is all about?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Unaco

      Some clarifications:

      As Wiz says “Interplay” as to separate the present owner of the right to that name from Interplay, the well-loved game company of the 90′s that went out of business some time ago.

      It is true, I don’t want Bethesda expending time on a project I have no interest in playing, being as I have a great deal of interest in playing a proper Fallout 4, new TES game, or another game of that stripe.

      And yes, I doubt that “Interplay” will ever make this game, and I’m fine with that. I tend to think that MMO-izing a franchise is a good way to destroy it as a single player phenomenon, and I quite enjoy the single player games in the franchise.

    • DrGonzo says:

      No. It’s a brand name just like it ever was. They have every right to use it. You were foolish for naively thinking it was ever anything but a brand name. Putting it in quotation marks is just another thing making you look arrogant and somewhat dim.

      And I agree, I would hate to play an mmo with you too.

    • rei says:

      I on the other hand would love to play an MMO with all of you. Because I love you. You’re great.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Meat Circus
      We’re not all monsters.

      Did I suggest anywhere that you/they all were? I said “thousands of obnoxious MMO players,” I assume a game like this has a population in the 10′s of thousands at least. The thing is, it doesn’t take very many obnoxious people to ruin the experience for a much larger population of decent folks.

      @DrGonzo

      And I agree, I would hate to play an mmo with you too.

      I’m sincerely glad we’re all on board with that. For the longest time many MMO players have been insistent that everyone must be forced to play with them, it’s nice to see the community evolving. The power of obnoxious people (like the kind that needlessly insult people they disagree with) to ruin the experience decreases dramatically when one is not forced to interact with them in any way.

    • Vandelay says:

      Very unfair to brandish MMO communities as obnoxious. You should have just said you wouldn’t want to play it because MMOs have shit gameplay. No one could have disputed that.

    • Blackcompany says:

      @ Kent:
      .
      Absolutely not. Bethesda games are all about Selflessness. Why else would you spend 100 hrs looking for things that others were too lazy to find and then delivering them wherever they need to go despite numerous dangers involved in getting them there? Perhaps one day they’ll release the “Armored FedEx Delivery Truck’ DLC we all so desperately cannot wait to purchase.
      .
      @Vandelay:
      .
      Well said. To date, MMO’s pretty much do have shit game play. Don’t know why this is. Single player games have evolved their game play numerous times over the course of the last 10 or so years. Always puzzled me why an MMO couldn’t pull it off too.

    • Hodge says:

      Actually, for anyone to brandish an entire MMO community would be quite an impressive feat.

    • boba says:

      I love it how Vinraith is implying that bethesda can make a “proper” fallout 4 considering fallout 3 wasn’t proper fallout.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Vinraith: Close. I meant Interplay as in Brian Fargo’s Interplay and “Interplay” as in Herve Caen’s.

    • Vinraith says:

      @boba

      Good point. I loved the hell out of Fallout 3, but it really shouldn’t be a Fallout-branded game. It’s a weak treatment of the material, and the Fallout aspects of the game are the weakest parts anyway. A post-apocalyptic open world game without the Fallout brand would be better.

    • boba says:

      @vinraith I don’t mind the fallout brand on it actually, what I do mind is that it’s called fallout 3. If it was just called something like “Fallout: Capital Wasteland” and considered a spinoff it would have been fine.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet.

  2. Tyshalle says:

    Plus there’s already a Fan-made Fallout MMO, utilizing the Fallout 2 engine. It’s not great. It’s literally Fallout 2, with very few extra features, but without quests or storyline, and merely allows other players to connect. But hey. It’s probably better than whatever Interplay will put out.

    Plus it kind of reminds me of Ultima Online, which is a good kind of nostalgia.

    • persistent_gloom says:

      The Fan-mad Fallout MMO isn’t utilizing the Fallout 2 engine. It is a self made engine and it just uses tiles out of Fallout 2. It also includes the map of Fallout 1 and Fallout 2.
      I haven’t played it for a while, but as far as I know, it has some quests now and there is also a pretty good system in it, where a gang (yes, you can create or join gangs with other players in it) can gain control over a city, to get certain benefits. Other gangs will attack this city, to gain control for themselves.

      When I played this game, it was pretty hard, because you died often and you loose everything you have, when you die (unless you build a little camp in the wasteland or join a gang).

      If someone is interested, the game is called “Fonline: 2238″.
      http://fonline2238.blogspot.com/

      Edit:
      And I can chat to other players via walkie-talkie.
      How cool is that? :D

  3. Buemba says:

    The only online component that I feel could work in Fallout’s setting is something akin to the message and bloodstain systems Demon’s/Dark Souls has. Getting spammed by goldfarmers while exploring a desolated wasteland filled with people jumping around and dancing somehow doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

  4. Persus-9 says:

    Well that is good. Let’s hope it isn’t Jarndyce vs Jarndyce all over again and they both declare bankruptcy tomorrow and we never see a Fallout MMO. Actually I don’t care about the Fallout MMO part, it would be cool in a way but I know I wouldn’t have time to play it.

    • greenbananas says:

      “Let’s hope it isn’t Jarndyce vs Jarndyce all over again and they both declare bankruptcy tomorrow and we never see a Fallout MMO.”

      When the choice is between Bethesda’s Fallout 5 (or 4 or whatever) and Herve Caen’s Interplay’s Fallout MMO, then… well, why wouldn’t one hope this results in multiple bankruptcies?

  5. Joe The Wizard says:

    I, for one, am glad the argument-bargument is over. Stevie, Stevie, Stevie, and Shaneevie were really getting worked up on this whole Interplay/Bethesda business.

  6. Khemm says:

    Can’t wait for Beth’s another reskinned Elder Scrolls wth guns. Fallout for teh next generation (of xbox kiddies), biatch!

    • Xerian says:

      Please dont post here. Just, please, no more. This place is for intellectual people whom know what they’re talking about, not someone childishly flaming something without any legit reasons, or someone blatantly hating something, yet again, without any legit and / or logical reasoning.

    • the judge says:

      xerian works for zenimax/bethesda ?

    • Blackcompany says:

      Actually he has a point. Believe it or not.
      .
      You know, so many of us get a kick out of the COD/Battlefield folks buying the same game every year with a few reskinned items here and there. Its funny, we think, and personifies everything wrong with gaming today.
      .
      So…how many of you have see the retextured Oblivion tower cleverly disguised as a Dwarven ruin (interior)? Who has noticed the slightly altered (very slightly) Elven armor/weapons returned from Oblivion? I could go on, of course, but it gets far worse in other ways.
      .
      Like the endless litany of repetitive fetch quests. Bethesda claims “hundreds of hours” of ‘things to do’ in their games. Never mind that 90 of those 100 hours will be spent fetching a magical mcguffin from a cave/dungeon/fort and returning it to a person who for some unknowable reason could not be arsed to fetch it themselves. Oh, they can give you hundreds of gold for it, but only you, and only if you go get it.
      .
      Don’t get me wrong. I own Skyrim. I play it. I like it. But I fail to understand the manner in which endless lists of FedEx type fetch quests have garnered a legion of fanatical followers who swear by the legendary status of the games which contain them. The game is good but its not the second coming of anyone’s messiah.

    • Xerian says:

      Sure, they do reskin models and the like whenever suitable – Every single developer in the world does that. And no, I dont work for Beth nor Zenimax, however I’ve seen Khemm complain about a ton of stuff today throughout the site, and his arguements are yet to hold water, and hes usually just wanting a pissing contest. And well, sure, you can say that he has a point, but you’re really just branching out of the piss-poor comment he made. But aye, I do agree on some of what you said, I myself am quite the fan of lore and all kinds of stuff, so Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim are all great games to me. (And really, some of the best RPG’s ever made, simply put.)

  7. InternetBatman says:

    Let’s see how it plays out. Personally I wanted something like an MMO when I played Fallout 2 back in the day, or at least a world where I could encounter my friends.

    I doubt this version of Interplay can really do anything except patent troll though.

    • jezcentral says:

      Agreed. I reckon Bethesda will have given Interplay-in-speech-marks some more money, and gotten hold of the MMO license.

      Still, that means nothing will be coming out for years.

  8. fionny says:

    Fandango… Now there is a word that doesn’t get enough use these days!

    Oh and on topic id prefer to see bethesda have a shot at a Fallout MMO rather then interplay… at least there would be a solid push behind it then,

    • Xerian says:

      I’d really prefer neither, as an MMO (especially an officially licensed, canon one) tends to entirely destroy the franchise. It’ll end up being the MMO or -nothing- else. Akin to Warcraft. (Whereas I’d heavily prefer new WC games over the crapfest that WoW turned into. Cause damnit, the older Warcraft games were sodding awesome, and often art-pieces.)
      I wouldnt mind a Fallout game with some sort of multiplayer-ish gimmick, but for the love of god, not a canon MMO.
      Now this is, ofcourse just my opinion. (My quite useless opinion, at that. So dont mind me)
      And I agree. The word needs more useage.

  9. Navagon says:

    When it comes to the MMO, Interplay were plainly in the wrong. They hadn’t even got a development team together by the time they were supposed to have started full scale development. But Bethesda piled on so much bullshit onto their lawsuit that they probably destroyed all credibility in the process. The fact that Interplay were about 6 months behind on a very lenient deadline is probably not going to be viewed as significant by this point in time.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Sadly, that’s probably closer to the truth, but I think the legal staff weren’t great. Any judge with his head on straight could have seen that Interplay were in no fit state to make good on their promises and would have ordered the Caen brothers to be shot out of a cannon.

  10. Bobby Oxygen says:

    I wasn’t at all impressed with what Bethesda did with Fallout 3, so I guess I’d rather see what the dead husk of Interplay can do with this game. Probably won’t be good, but hopefully at least it’ll be different.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Bobby you hit the nail on the head here. “…at least it will be different.” Of course we cannot know that; but anything different is at this point a blessing where Bethesda games – and their worlds – are concerned. Bethesda are great worldbuilders. They design huge open landmasses for us to play in.
      .
      But those land masses cannot equal the playgrounds found in games such as Saints Row for sheer amusement. Thus the meat and potatoes of Beth games is – or is supposed to be – their writing. Which, as we all know, is shit.
      .
      Bethesda create a mediocre story rife with tired fantasy tripe (ancient prophesy about cardboard cutout hero defeating ancient, blank-slate evil; aging counsel to youthful hero; insert copy/paste deity and some random macguffins to fetch. Done.) Wooden dialogue and endless repetition are the only hallmarks of Bethesda games remaining to us and lets all face it, whether you like the open game worlds or not, the driving principal behind the game is tired, worn out and poorly done to boot.
      .
      Sadder still: This description could apply to either Oblivion or Skyrim. Alter just a couple of things, it could also apply to Fallout (just drop the prophecy and the deity.)
      .
      So yeah…as much as I love big open worlds…something different could do us all some good at this point.

    • UnravThreads says:

      There’s a couple of the original Interplay guys still with Interplay, but the majority went to inXile, Obsidian and BioWare, with some elsewhere. There’s no way Interplay had the people, financial stability and even the talent to pull off a Fallout MMO.

      Heck, even BigPoint could do a better job in less time.

  11. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    There is a Fallout MMO already, it’s called Fallen Earth. Go on, look it up.

    Now you might need to squint your eyes and reword some of the weapons, areas and characters, but it’s for definite the closest you can have to a Fallout MMO.

    Why don’t we feed some poor kids instead of waste money on this whole thing. Jeez.

  12. Chaz says:

    Surely I can’t be in a minority in prefering a Bethesda version of a Fallout MMO?

    I loved Morrowind, and after a slow start I thoroughly enjoyed Fallout 3 and spent over 250 hours playing it and all the DLC, and I’m also currently loving Skyrim. So a Fallout MMO in the same vein? Yes please!

  13. dontnormally says:

    The only way a Fallout MMO would be any good is permadeath.

    Thousands of asshats running about and jumping on banktops just won’t cut it in this case.

    Edit: And even that…

    Post-apocalyptic is NOT “massively multiplayer” by definition. Everyone’s dead.

    • Vinraith says:

      Post-apocalyptic is NOT “massively multiplayer” by definition. Everyone’s dead.

      Very much what I was trying to say above, but far more elegant and less antagonistic.

    • Chris D says:

      Well, there’s a couple of schools of thought on this, aren’t there? There’s the cosy catastrophe school of apocalypse in which the undesirable elements of society are wiped out leaving the nice middle class people to rebuild the world in peace.

      On the other hand there’s the Mad Max style apocalyptic wasteland in which the undesirable elements of society roam the land killing anyone who gets in their way for fun and/or profit. I could draw a comparison between a certain type of MMO player here but it would be almost too easy.

    • dontnormally says:

      BEST IDEA EVER

      CCP takes the Fallout MMO license, since both space and the wasteland are cold, dead, enormous places.

      Beth takes the WoD MMO license, since that would be awesome.

      /drinks the juice

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I’d say the MMO levels of population would work quite well in a post-appocalyptic world.

      One of the things that always struck me was off about games like WoW is you have these supposedly massive cities – the capital of a huge and powerful empire – and it has a few hundred people in, 3 or 4 shops and can walked across in a couple of minutes. Replace the grand architecture with some rough shacks and it make a convincing shanty town.

  14. vecordae says:

    I’m all in favor of Interplay making their Fallout MMO. It’s entirely possible that it will be a fresh, interesting take on the end of days. It’s also possible it will be a boring, irritating mess of confused systems and incoherent story telling. Either way a few hundred people will have food and money for a few months while it’s developing and at the end I’ll get to see something new. Besides, if it is horrible, then we can all bond over hating it.

  15. Silphatos says:

    c/p’ing this from Bethesda/ZeniMax Media Inc. Fan Community FAQ

    Q: How did Fallout 3 manage to become 100 times worse than the older Fallout titles?
    A: Cause Interplay made the 2nd, and we made the 3rd one.

  16. wodin says:

    I’m all in favour of Interplay making Fallout 4 isometric (but lovely looking, look how beautiful a side scroller can look these days i.e TRINE 2) RPG with WEGO combat mechanics, loads of story,branching quests, huge world (can you imagine how big a world that could be made if you dedicate more resources to story and quests rather than 3D graphics). Give me loads of tactical options when in a fight, have upto five companions and I’d be very, very happy indeed.

    However it will never happen. I only hope that some Indy developer out there makes a Wasteland old school style RPG but with lovely animations and beautiful scenery .

    Maybe I should learn to programme.

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