Bethesda Own All Rights To A Fallout MMO

By John Walker on January 9th, 2012 at 10:39 pm.

He stares at a future that will never be.

You may remember that last week we brought the news that the legal fusspottery over the ownership of the rights to make a Fallout MMO had come to an end. We just didn’t know which way the nuclear chips had fallen. It seems things fell in Bethesda’s favour, in a fight that now looks rather like Goliath squished David with his fist. Eurogamer are reporting that Interplay have completely lost any rights to make a Fallout MMO, with intellectual property rights entirely belonging to Bethesda. However, there’s a sizable fee of $2 million heading Interplay’s way from Bethesda owners Zenimax, as part of the deal.

So it seems like something of a compromise, although it’ll probably be a while before we hear any bitter truths. Interplay can carry on selling Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics until December 2013, after which – mysteriously – the games created by Interplay will no longer belong to Interplay. This all came about because Interplay sold the brand to Bethesda in 2007, but were granted back the rights to develop an MMO so long as they could prove they were working on it, and raising a certain budget. These targets were not met according to Bethesda, hence the court-based fisticuffs, which seem to agree with BethSoft’s position, despite this seeming to be a settlement.

There was also a separate case against Masthead, who were supposed to be making the MMO for Interplay, whoever Interplay actually are at this stage. That’s ended with Masthead accepting they’ve no rights to the Fallout license at all.

So with Interplay getting the cash, it’s unclear what that means for them. With their apparently having failed to raise the $30m Bethedsa were requiring for the deal to be maintained, clearly $2m is small change if the beleaguered publishers were to try to salvage anything they’ve developed and release it as a rebranded property. If any such property really existed, of course.

Whether Bethesda will actually attempt to make a Fallout MMO is also unknown. As a company who’ve essentially ignored even multiplayer, it doesn’t seem their forte at all. Which probably leaves us with no Fallout MMO at all, and lots of lawyers extra-rich. Another glorious victory for the wonderful concept of intellectual property, then.

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119 Comments »

  1. Marinetastic says:

    Hopefully they’ll start a new studio to work on it, preferably over in here in Blighty

    • Syra says:

      Not sure I want to see a fallout MMO at all. Would be a hell of a thing to do justice to. And if they did I would suffer greatly irl :P

      $2m for a settlement though, pennies. Bethesda won that easy. Seems Interplay may have wanted a settlement all along then.

    • kifter says:

      There all ready is a studio, http://www.zenimaxonline.com

    • theflyingbuddha says:

      Zenimax online has existed for quite some time now and have been working on an MMO for a while. Since this lawsuit was only just resolved odds are good that they aren’t working on a Fallout MMO currently, which leaves one other major IP. Honestly, the Elder Scrolls makes more sense if they are trying to build a large world – Fallout is inherently constrained by the nature of the setting and is also likely the next target for a single player release by Bethesda.

    • sqparadox says:

      Reading the FAQ for Zenimax Online the thought that crossed my mind was: ‘Oh look, a bunch of guys who’ve worked on a bunch of mediocre MMO’s. This doesn’t bode well.’

      I’m probably being overly judgmental, but I definitely would’ve been happier continuing to live in complete ignorance of this studio’s existence. It’s not that I don’t want to see The Elder Scrolls or Fallout MMO’s, it’s just that, I’d rather see them work on completely original IP than see them screw up The Elder Scrolls or Fallout.

  2. Monchberter says:

    Sad to see the little guy and originators lose this one, but given New Vegas was a huge leap from Fallout 3 in terms of writing and complexity, I hope Bethesda do the right thing should they make an MMO and give it to the right people!

    • Phantoon says:

      Yes- have everyone else make it.

      Edit: Sorry, my statement wasn’t clear enough- have everyone else write all of their games from now on.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Phantoon has the right of it. Bethesda can go on releasing as many games as they like, for all of me.
      .
      Going forward, I’m only going to actually buy the ones written and developed by someone else.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I would be wary of “originators”. Enough time has passed that the people at Interplay now are quite likely not the people who were at Interplay when Fallout was spawned.

      I care much, much more about if Chris Taylor (no, not the Cavedog/Gas Powered Games one)/Tim Cain/Leonard Boyarsky/Jason Anderson etc. have the rights to do things with Fallout than if some arbitrary set of people wearing Interplay’s skinned corpse. (I don’t believe its development arm has even existed in years.)

    • InternetBatman says:

      The little guy lost this one long ago. Interplay was bought by the guys who made Superman 64 and they kicked the original creators out.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Fallout 1 is at pretty much the exact same level, writing-wise, as Fallout 3.

      No, I’m not kidding. There are more outcomes, sure – not having to voice everything did wonders for narrative choice, and I can promise you that that, above and beyond anything else, is the reason RPGs these days present us with less choice, and my God how I want someone to shake these assholes and explain that not everything has to be voiced, and that incidental voice acting is basically never good so why bother including it, and that they could do so much more if they only gave major characters voices, and anyway – but in terms of dialogue, characterization, etc., it’s pretty much on the same level.

      Seriously. Go back and play it. Compare the two. The voice acting is better in F1, but that’s because Bethesda is really terrible with voice actors. The lines themselves are just as wooden.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Seriously. Go back and play it.

      Have done. Didn’t even play it in the ’90s; completely missed it. You’re talking nonsense, man.

    • ffordesoon says:

      You’re certainly welcome to disagree. Admittedly, that post was written after staying up all night doing stuff, so it’s more flame-bait-y by far than I’d like it to be.

      Actually, you know what? I withdraw the assertion pending further investigation. You may very well be right.

  3. Targie says:

    Not sure what to say…
    I didn’t enjoy FO3 or New Vegas at all and was kinda clinging onto the false hope that an Interplay Fallout MMO would be my saviour.
    But considering the current Interplay is barely a shell of the old Interplay I knew it was nothing more than a false hope so in that sense I’m not horribly disappointed.

    I can’t say I like that Bethesda will be taking profit from FO1/2/Tactics but I’m happy as long as I can keep playing them really.

  4. nimzy says:

    Looks like I’ve gotten my last Fallout Online newsletter.

    I’m disappointed in ZeniMax. They’re busy gobbling up our memories, one id Software or IP at a time.

    • ShadyGuy says:

      Diehard Fallout fans never wanted a fallout MMO, though. Infact, even mentioning it in the forums of communities like No Mutants Allowed and Duck and Cover would get you a lot of flaming and the use of the acronym FOOL. :)

    • nindustrial says:

      @ShadyGuy I’d agree with that, though to be fair, NMA is one of the more fanatic/mentally unbalanced communities I’ve stumbled across

    • ikillkings says:

      @ShadyGuy

      dude I’m a diehard fallout fan, and I want a Fallout MMO.

      Would love for this shit to happen, but it doesn’t seem likely. Wont get my hopes up until I hear something official from Bethesda.

    • Wulf says:

      “Diehard Fallout fans never wanted a fallout MMO [...]”

      INCORRECT Mr. Words of the Weasel! >8[ ENTIRELY INCORRECT. For I am a Fallout fan, perhaps the Fallout fan, who loved the hell out of the first, the second even more, and Tactics too (I must be one of the only ones, sigh, so few realise why the plot of Tactics was so clever), and New Vegas, and I definitely wanted a Fallout MMORPG. So I refute you, I refute you with all my worth!

      Really, I can’t imagine that the majority of Fallout fans wouldn’t have wanted an MMO, and I have a pretty great imagination. I mean, it would be a shooty MMO most likely, and they could have done something more mechanically similar to PlanetSide. Moreover, it would have opened up the chance to all sorts of new playables. Super mutants, ghouls, and even deathclaws. Goris lived damn you, so shush up.

      Yes, this has all been very facetious. I’m not really that angry over it. But… yanno, I really did want a Fallout MMO. Kind of sad about this…

    • Cerius says:

      No they wouldn’t. At least not the one that FOOL would have become. All Fallout Community oldtimers are pretty much in agreement there. (And I’m speaking about Guys that actually did something for the Fallout Community like Ausir, Killap, Brother None and so on.)

      Least of all they would want one from the “new” Herve Interplay. For example the vast majority of em was on Bethesdas side on this trial.

      I just hope that Mark O’Green and Chris Taylor now leave Interplay to work on actual games again.

      Also, please. Don’t call yourself “THE” Fallout fan. Like ever. It just makes you look like a douche.

    • ShadyGuy says:

      @Cerius Yeah, that comment made me laugh too. I actually used to be a forum moderator on NMA when Miroslav was still running things and I’ve been an Unwashed Villager for years and while that’s all nostalgia now I remember the discussions on FOOL very well, since I’d usually have to warn/ban people because of it. :P

      Mind you, the same die hard fans also villified Bethesda for making “Oblivion with guns” and slapping the Fallout name on it. Personally I never felt that way and I enjoy what Bethesda has done with the license.

    • dontnormally says:

      Fallout Online would have 10-player maximum caps on each shard, to maintain realism.

      :/

    • Zelius says:

      @ShadyGuy

      Members of Duck & Cover and NMA don’t want anything that isn’t exactly the same as the first two Fallout games, anyway.

      I remember back before there was even a mention of a Fallout 3, let alone Bethesda making it, I suggested Fallout 3 used a 3D engine, instead of 2D sprites. One of the moderators, whom I can’t imagine being older than around 13 or 14, started spouting profanity at me and banned me.

      Edit: Didn’t mention which of the two forums this was on. I think it was on NMA.

  5. Vinraith says:

    Hmm, that’s unfortunate. As a huge fan of FO3 (with FWE) and New Vegas (with Project Nevada), I’d hoped that Bethesda would stick to making huge, immersive single player experiences and leave the (completely nonsensical) MMO to the burnt-out-husk of Interplay. Hopefully they’ll start a new studio for the MMO and it won’t impact their other projects.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      This isn’t a guarantee that they will develop a new game. Bethesda was just fighting for squatting rights on the IP. Their lawyers want to control the trademark, similiar to the ongoing “Scrolls” fiasco with Mojang.

      I’m sort of sad that the mmo will never happen, but maybe Interplay can put the money towards *gasp* a new IP!

    • Jumwa says:

      Since I haven’t seen it mentioned, I guess it’s dropped off the radar that Bethesda/Zenimax set up a seperate studio with the Bethesda brand that is dedicated to making some MMO or another years ago. No word on what the game will be. But if they were so gungho to get the Fallout MMO IP under control, odds might be decent that could be it.

    • Shuck says:

      I can’t imagine Bethesda were happy about the idea of a Fallout MMO coming out and cannibalizing sales of their Fallout games. It’s extremely unlikely that they’ll ever actually do anything with it. Not that, realistically, the Fallout MMO was ever going to happen, whoever had the rights.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I too think that they were just doing it over control. Bethesda has a good thing going on and MMOs are a bit crowded.

    • Wulf says:

      This is all assuming that they haven’t already got their own MMORPG in development. Bet you they have. Still… I’d have preferred to see Interplay doing it. Bethesda’s Fallout 3 was too slapstick, not really the dark humour of previous Fallout games at all, nor the same levels of imagination. New Vegas was hands down one of the best RPGs of the last decade, but it didn’t have the atmosphere of Fallout either.

      The newsletters from Interplay spoke volumes to me. “We understand what made Fallout so funny.”

      Sigh.

    • Optimaximal says:

      But did they give any indication that they knew what made it funny? All I ever got from what was released about the MMO was smoke & mirrors to keep Bethesda away long enough to make money off the older games.

      As mentioned by others earlier, any reverence you hold for the Interplay that released stuff like Fallout, FreeSpace and Sacrifice (amongst others) is misplaced. The name is but a shell trading name for some holding company in LA holding on as best it can to survive.

    • Xerian says:

      But Wulf, damnit, if it was a canon-Fallout it’d most likely kill off the IP, and if it was by Interplay… Oh wait, Interplay doesnt exist anymore, not the one you’re thinking of anyway! Theres like -ONE- guy from “Interplay” in the current Interplay. And he joined in after the original-original people left. And besides, theres never been much hope for a game whatsoever.
      Now lets see to the future; Brian Fargo bought back the Wasteland IP, so who knows, maybe we’ll get a Fallout-esque game from InExile, or whatever they’re called

  6. mollemannen says:

    but, but, bethesda won’t make a fallout mmo :/ and interplay might go under in an attempt to salvage what was left of the fallout mmo. it’s such a lose-lose scenario. well bethesda might not have lost anything but interplay and the gaming community did :/

    • Wulf says:

      Except they had pretty much Mr. Fallout 1 and Mr. Fallout Tactics working on Fallout Online.

      …I am really, really sad about this.

    • mollemannen says:

      well a mmo is a very expensive game to develop/publish/run. i don’t wish for interplay to go under ofc. but finding a new developer thats good enough to finish the product would be very hard and expensive unless they make it into a facebook game :P

      i can also kinda understand why bethesda did what they did since there haven’t been any news about the fallout mmo for years and a mmo announces it’s release date six months to a year in a advance in most cases.

  7. Kaira- says:

    If there is mercy in the world, Bethesda will never make Fallout MMO. Ever.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Oddly, the open world, high in detail yet light in story approach of Bethesda’s recent games would suit an MMO rather well.
      They would need a new engine and combat system and a completely new studio of people familiar with online gaming though, so it will probably never happen.

    • Kent says:

      Yeah, I don’t think the Bethesda devs even know how to set up a basic peer to peer LAN. Otherwise they would have implemented CO-OP in their games by now. On the bright side: You can still frighten the Bethesda employees with routers, which they’ll mistake for alien artifacts.

    • MasterDex says:

      You make it sound like co-op is a necessity if you’ve got the skills to code it. Screw that. I’m all for co-op but the last thing we need is more developers adding it to their checklist of “things we have to do no matter what”. Unless it’s going to be even a smidgen original or it forms the core of the game then I say don’t bother. All that time, labour and capital would be better put to use on more important things.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Co-op in Skyrim would add a whole new dimension of exciting bugs. I think it would be fun.

    • Wulf says:

      Snargel has a point.

      And frankly? It’s incredibly naive to think that Bethesda went to these lengths without having their own Fallout MMORPG in the wings. They’ll make it all right, but it probably won’t be as good, and it’ll likely be oh so VATS.

    • bigtoeohno says:

      @wulf

      I wouldn’t be so sure. I would say there main motivation would be concerns of diluting of their brand.

    • mollemannen says:

      well they probably won’t. and why should they? their singleplayer fallouts are popular, well the FO3 was and new vegas were in a lesser extent. so there is no need to add any form of coop ever which is a shame. system shock 2 is my best coop experience ever, and all they did was to add another spawnpoint basicly.

  8. Agnol117 says:

    On the whole, I actually find this to be overall good news. While I’m saddened a bit by Interplay losing the MMO license, I’m pleased that this didn’t end in a return to the original contracts, as some people feared. This way, if nothing else, we’ll continue to get Fallout games, which probably wouldn’t be the case if the license reverted fully back to Interplay.

  9. august says:

    And the zombie corpse of Interplay continues to shamble forward.

  10. admanb says:

    Not that I have any faith in Bethesda’s ability to make an MMO, but I doubt Interplay ever would’ve finished a decent one.

    • Blackcompany says:

      A big, open world. A lackluster combat system with little to no physics or weapon impact. A plethora of inane, senseless fetch quests. Lifeless NPC’s, shoddy writing and a lack of any real role playing. Random, non-sensical loot belonging to characters who would never actually use the things they store and carry. Central hubs and repetitive, copy and paste dungeons. God characters in the late game and a surplus of gold and loot.
      .
      What are you talking about? Bethesda already makes MMO’s. They just leave them in perpetual singe player, beta testing status until they forget the games exist.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You forgot grinding the randomly generated dungeons and Oblivion gates.

  11. Blackcompany says:

    Everyone who wanted your barren, desolate, desperate, post-apocalyptic wasteland full of half a million or so other players all at once please, raise your hand. Go on, raise it up. We want to see who you are.
    .
    Got it up? Up real high, where we can see them? So we can easily tell who you are? Good.
    .
    Now remember: Many raiders and some super mutants often carry chain saws.
    .
    Now put your f**king hands down.

    • DK says:

      If you want a Fallout MMO, there is one. It’s called Fallen Earth.

      As for Bethesda, they can continue to make Fallout branded Oblivion mods, so I guess they’re pretty happy about the outcome.

    • Shuck says:

      @Blackcompany: Half-a-million players all at once?! You mean the few thousand players (maximum) that would reside on that server at any time, don’t you? (And the servers could certainly have smaller populations.) If you made the world large enough, that actually could work.

    • Blackcompany says:

      It was a slight exaggeration for the sake of humor. Nothing more.
      .
      I for one would not want to play an MMO in a desolate, apocalyptic waste but to each their own. And about Fallen Earth…yeah, that. Pretty much the same setting as Fallout, really.

  12. Vadrigar says:

    Masthead is a Bulgarian developer with only one game- the “incredible” MMO- Earthrise. I have a friend who worked there and from the stories he’s told me, it’s for the best of Fallout that Bethesda sued.

  13. simonh says:

    While I love Bethesda Game Studios and their games, Bethesda Softworks the publisher really don’t seem like very fun guys. But if Interplay weren’t really making the game anyway, and that was what Bethesda’s case was about, I guess I’ll just say ‘meh’.

  14. FunkyBadger3 says:

    Another glorious victory for the wonderful concept of intellectual property, then.

    Don’t worry, I assume the pirates have been working on one all this time.

  15. Fumarole says:

    There’s always FOnline 2238.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Had a quick glance at this and it actually looks interesting. Is there anybody around that could share some practical experiences with the game? It seems like the guys running the servers have some troubles to make ends meet (paying the server costs that is), but according to the forums there will be no wipe before march.

      Might be worth a look (?).

  16. Navagon says:

    “Interplay can carry on selling Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics until December 2013, after which – mysteriously – the games created by Interplay will no longer belong to Interplay.”

    You mean the games created by Interplay, as in Brian Fargo’s Interplay no longer belong to Titus Software calling itself Interplay after getting rid of Brian Fargo.

    For someone so seemingly adverse to transfer of IP you don’t really seem to be looking at the broader picture here, which is disappointing given your usual standard of journalistic integrity. Perhaps you want to look at which company is keeping Brian Fargo in the industry right now.

    • Shuck says:

      You mean Brian Fargo’s newest company, “inXile Entertainment,” which recently bought back the rights to his old game “Wasteland” from EA? I recollect Wasteland was, in setting, pretty much identical to Fallout…. hmmmm.

    • Wizardry says:

      I think you mean Fallout was pretty much identical to Wasteland, not the other way round. Not that it really matters, though.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ooh. Interest decidedly piqued.

    • Navagon says:

      Yeah, Wasteland was the inspiration for Fallout. A fact that was never denied. I’d appreciate it if he put it out on GOG or somewhere. Even if it’s just as a curio to see where it all started.

    • LionsPhil says:

      In the mean time, it bobs about in the murky grey swamp of abandonware.

      Until someone decides to lawyer up and camp the IP, that is. Hopefully if it’s back with its original devs they’d be more inclined to just freeware the damn thing. If having an EGA-era game out is a risk of cannibalising your shiny new one rather than a marketing tool, you may as well just pack up and go home already, because apparently you went over twenty years without improving.

    • Navagon says:

      Well it’s definitely not abandonware given that the rights have recently been bought. There’s nothing abandoned about that even if it’s not for sale right now.

      Remember, kids: It’s only abandonware if the rights holder declares it as such. Otherwise it’s just called ‘piracy nobody cares about’.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      “nobody cares about” sounds like a pretty good synonym of “abandoned” to me.

    • Wizardry says:

      Remember, kids: It’s only abandonware if the rights holder declares it as such. Otherwise it’s just called ‘piracy nobody cares about’.

      No. That’s freeware, not abandonware.

      Oh and Wasteland is in my top 10 CRPGs of all time.

    • greenbananas says:

      Fargo strikes me as the kind of bussiness-first-games-second guy (nowadays, at least) of whom all we should expect from the Wasteland IP is some form of console FPS.

      @Wizardry
      Top 10? Could you elaborate on that? Just curious about your opinion on it, that’s all.

    • Wizardry says:

      @greenbananas: You do know that Brian Fargo was one of the Wasteland designers, right? It’s effectively his game.

      Yeah, it’s probably in my top 10. It was one of the first CRPGs to let you use your characters skills directly in non-combat situations. You could even use their attributes directly too, such as using their strength on a locked door. Fallout did this too, which is why Wasteland inspired way more than just its post-apocalyptic setting. Wasteland even had multiple ways in which to solve quests based on the skill sets of your characters. People who accuse old RPGs of being nothing more than just dungeon crawlers should really play a game like Wasteland.

      In many ways it’s even better than Fallout. You can have multiple player created characters from the very start of the game, on top of Fallout style recruitable (and expendable) companions that you meet along the way. There are around 30 skills, which is more than Fallout. Many of them are rarely used and so the system is quite unbalanced, which is also something Fallout suffered from. The combat is kind of shitty, but not too shitty. It’s probably better than Fallout’s because companions are far less irritating and it feels less random. If you’ve played The Bard’s Tale II or III then it’s almost identical to the systems in those games.

    • greenbananas says:

      @Wizardry
      I didn’t know it was “effectively his game” and that does make me a bit more hopeful for something worth playing (assuming he ever does anything with the IP) but not overwhelmingly so. I reckon it’d take his Interplay’s level of risk-taking madness to make something special, considering today’s market, and looking at an interview I watched of him a while ago as well as at Hunted: Demon’s Forge, I have to say I’m cautious of rather than excited at the prospect.

      “It was one of the first CRPGs to let you use your characters skills directly in non-combat situations.”
      “Wasteland even had multiple ways in which to solve quests based on the skill sets of your characters.”

      You just said the magic words. As a fan of Fallout (1&2, screw the Beth games) I always knew I’d someday give Wasteland a go and with this info in hand, that might be sooner rather than later.

    • Wulf says:

      Ooooh… okay, that feeling of sadness for the loss of something great is subsiding a little. I hope he does it and basically just makes it a Fallout reboot, with things almost exactly the same, just with shit renamed/restyled enough to make it work. I’d have no objection to that. I’m all for spiritual successors, after all, and it’s the atmosphere rather than the brand which matters.

      If they can do this Wasteland MMO and do it with the right atmosphere, the right options and feel, then that would be something to keep an eye on. Also, yeah, Wizardry is right, here. Fallout was pretty much be a spiritual successor to Wasteland, it would be, quite frankly, poetic and beautiful for Wasteland Online to become the spiritual successor to Fallout Online.

      I can but hope.

  17. august says:

    It was just going to be Everquest with guns.

  18. pilouuuu says:

    Any news about an MMO less in the world is good news. Really, what is so good about MMOs? Just focus on single-player games!

    Maybe now Bethesda could make new Earthworm Jim and Descent games which definitely would be good news!

    • august says:

      Interplay still owns the rights to both of those ips.

      Squatting on their old ips is basically their entire business at this point.

    • Navagon says:

      Bethesda have long contemplated making an MMO. They said they wouldn’t do it unless they sure they got it right. In fact Morrowind was going to be an MMO. Which might explain the crap AI.

      But anyway. Now that they’ve got this foundation they’re either going to use that as the basis of a game they failed at attempting to make themselves. Or they’re going to listen to all the complaints about how an MMO Fallout could never work and either bin it or do a Morrowind with it and make it single player too.

    • Drakhoran says:

      I’m pretty sure Bethesda, or rather their sister studio ZeniMax Online Studios, has been making an MMO for some time now. Last year they even announce they were building an European customer support center in Ireland. Since there is little point in building a customer support center if you don’t expect som customers to support I suspect ZeniMax Online will make an anouncement soon.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      @Drakhoran

      I had a nice little talk with the president of ZeniMax Online last year and I can confirm that there’s something on the horizon.

    • Wulf says:

      “Really, what is so good about MMOs?”

      1. Some people have friends.
      2. It’s nice to feel that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

      Single player games don’t apply to the first point, for obvious reasons. And they don’t apply to the second point, either. I mean, consider the dynamic events of Guild Wars 2. Where I can lose myself in a throng of charr taking on undead with dynamically applied engineering cleverness, to the benefit of others.

      I like helping people. Always have. To mention LOTRO again – that’s why I was a bard. And I love helping people who happen to be gigantic frickin’ beasts of teeth and claws even more, because I don’t often get to help such. It’s wonderful escapism. It offers a lot that single player games can’t capture.

      There’s always a place for single player games, but there’s room for MMOs too. The world is big enough for both. And if you don’t like it? (Chorus.) Don’t play it!

      (Yes, I’m being facetious again. But really, understand that there are reasons why I and potentially others like MMOs.)

    • Optimaximal says:

      Wulf, it’s good you have had positive experiences with MMOs, but even you can’t argue there’s a massive case of ‘seeing what shit sticks’ going on in the MMO-verse, with various IPs being tagged to the same money-sink backend?

      Would a Fallout MMO really stand out amongst all the others once the setting has been absorbed, enjoyed and spat out the other end?

    • pilouuuu says:

      @Wulf: I’m not against MMOs. I just dislike their current state. I think the potential is amazing for MMOs, but the technology is not there yet. TOR is a step in the right direction though.

      We need to feel part of a story in a game and while TOR is the best in that, it still has a lot to do to be as good as single players game in that regard. The graphics are not as good as other games due to the need to work on several dated computers online.

      I’m sure MMOs are the way of the future, but not with the mechanics and technology we have nowadays.

  19. Jimbo says:

    I guess we’ll have to see how The Old Republic goes. If ZeniMax see TOR do well despite all the prophesying that subscription MMOs were done, I could see them taking a crack at a Fallout MMO. It’s a well established franchise now, the universe lends itself well to an MMO and it’s different enough from both WoW and TOR.

  20. malkav11 says:

    The shattered ruin that is Interplay at present can now hopefully sink into a well deserved grave. I have nothing but love for the Interplay of yesteryear, but Interplay hasn’t been that company in quite some time. Also, I’m really hoping that Bethesda did all this just to sit on the MMO license and doesn’t actually try to make a Fallout MMO, because a Fallout MMO seemed like a rather terrible idea to begin with and even more so in the hands of Bethesda.

    • Navagon says:

      I don’t know what’s worse. Bethesda spending years creating an MMO that fails. Or Bethesda spending even longer supporting an MMO that succeeds against all odds (odds including them being the ones who made it).

      If Bethesda want to take their games creation to even greater heights they just need to follow the advice that they’ve been bombarded with since Oblivion and hire some decent writers and considerably more voice talent. Oh and a PC UI too.

      Check those two boxes and even Skyrim’s success may pale by comparison.

    • Wulf says:

      I still think it’s naive to think that this whole argy-bargy didn’t happen because Bethesda had their own MMO secretly in development, and that Interplay forced their hand by revealing Fallout Online, which had Bethesda launch into a court case about it.

      “No no, our Fallout MMO only really entered into the planning stages after the court case, and development went quickly after that.”

      Sure it did, Bethesda. Sure it did.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Wulf, you’re conveniently missing the whole ‘Interplay were given the license to develop a Fallout MMO game & sell the original games, providing the MMO was actively in development by ##INSERT DATE HERE##’.

      Short of 2-3 pieces of concept art and a lot of hearsay & PR, did anything really emerge?

      Bethesda moved to cancel the deal once it was presumably clear that Interplay was not fulfilling their side of the bargain. Clearly Inerplay releasing the games on GOG brought in a good steady stream of money so as to not really bother, stalling as long as possible.

  21. Shooop says:

    Who wins?

    The lawyers of course. Duh.

  22. felisc says:

    i think i’ll just watch a brian fargo interview on youtube and remember the good old days of interplay.

  23. Craig Stern says:

    “Another glorious victory for the wonderful concept of intellectual property, then.”

    Intellectual property is the only thing preventing me from registering the domain rockpapershotgun.net, trawling through your site’s archives, and reprinting verbatim every article you have ever written, replacing your bylines with my own name. It’s not perfect in practice, but it’s an awfully handy concept.

    • Wulf says:

      That already happens. There are sites which steal and post their archives.

      You may have noticed that RPS don’t care.

  24. InternetBatman says:

    I’m not really upset by this outcome. Interplay took critical resources away from Fallout 3 to make that Xbox abortion, Bethesda released New Vegas. One is making progress and the other needs to just die out.

    • Wulf says:

      Bethesda published New Vegas. Big difference.

      If Obsidian had approached whomever held the IP, even if it was Interplay, I’m sure that the same would have happened.

  25. cog says:

    Court. Court never changes…

  26. Tuco says:

    Just to be clear: the Fallout MMO was never going to happen anyway.
    Interplay people were just trying to win this cause to raise their price.

    • Wulf says:

      Eh, I don’t think so. Their newsletters were pretty awesome. They seemed pretty invested.

    • jezcentral says:

      Yeah, but just becaue they were fully invested doesn’t mean they didn’t only have tuppence and three-farthing to invest. This was a patent copyright troll by Interplay, and they got another 2 meeellion dollars for stalling this far.

  27. BobsLawnService says:

    ” Another glorious victory for the wonderful concept of intellectual property, then.”

    If I may correct you this is more of a win for contract law. If you want to further develop a product don’t sell it to someone else. When I sell a house I don’t get to keep living in it as if it were my own.

    • Wulf says:

      1. It was a ‘victory’ for IP because IP was involved.

      2. That’s not the case at all. It’s like if someone had offered to lease you a house, and then stopped you from moving in because they thought you took too long moving in and took you to court for that. And then won.

      In regards to 2 though, you already knew that. You big fibber.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      The fact that it involved IP is irrelevant. It was a sale. There were conditions attached to that sale which were noted on a binding contract. Interplay did not adhere to those binding conditions and their ownership of the property was forfeited for being in breach of the contract they signed.

      We cannot have a lawless state where we ignore contract law just because…

      RPS should stick to writing about games because their analysis of law and economy sucks.

    • Nogo says:

      @Wulf,

      Uh, no.

      2. It’s like if someone had offered to lease you a house, on the condition that you can afford the lease, but then it becomes apparent you were lying about how much you make, so you were stopped from moving in because you couldn’t live up to the agreement you already agreed to.

  28. jrodman says:

    I don’t really even see how a fallout mmo concept even works. How long can society going on being a fringe. Lots and lots of fringe waste wanderers. Hanging out in Orgrim-I mean Las Vegas?

    • Retroflex says:

      I’ve been wondering the exact same thing. Fallout games are all about freedom of choice, and then actually seeing how those choices affect the world around you. I just don’t see how that would be possible in an MMO-setting.

    • Wulf says:

      You know, I’m sorry but…

      I’m genuinely surprised by how many people miss that Fallout isn’t really a post apocalypse, but it was a post-post apocalypse. (It was in Fallout 2 and New Vegas and obviously so. Think about it. You wouldn’t get an organisation in a post apocalyptic scenario.) Now, Fallout Online was actually set in the future of that, so Fallout Online would have been a post-post-post apocalypse.

      The point I’m making here is that that’s enough time for humanity to rebuild and create population centres, but there’s still danger out there, and the rest of the world outside of those population centres would be quite dangerous and filled with ruins. Think Buck Rogers. Think domes of people living in decent conditions, whilst outside war still raged. Think new organisations popping up like ethical organisations, and “purification” religions, and corrupt trade multinationals getting their feet.

      You could do a hell of a lot with a setting like that.

      Anyway. I know people like being snarky, but the snark is just proving that you either know nothing about Fallout, or you didn’t think on what you did know. Sorry.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Yes, you could. And it would be a very nice evolution of the Fallout universe. It would not, however, feel like Fallout – that is to say, the Fallout that you or I think of when we think of Fallout – anymore.

    • jrodman says:

      Wulf: Way to bury your own point in pointless rudeness while missing mine.

  29. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I don’t understand why Bethesda catches all this flak for this. I mean, does anyone believe that the husk called Interplay (instead of the Interplay-that-was) could truly deliver an MMO? Moreso, an MMO worthy of the Fallout name?

    I, for one, severely doubt it. No, better for the rights to be in Bethesda’s name. They could always have some other developer make it or cooperate with someone else to make it, should they want to make a Fallout MMO.

    • Wulf says:

      It wouldn’t make sense, would it?

      …unless Bethesda were developing their own MMORPG with that name. And they needed to claim the IP.

  30. Was Neurotic says:

    I’ve been browsing the comments on this news on massively, pcgamer and now RPS this morning. And since nearly every one boils down to either ‘I Hate Bethesda’ or ‘I Hate Interplay’, I’d just like to say ‘Bad luck Interplay, well done Beth.Interplay failed to fulfil, therefore you are teh winnz0rz.’

    Now, could you please get on with giving us Radioactive Elder Scrolls With Guns And Lots Of Other People, thanks.

  31. Eich says:

    Well who cares. Bethesta couldn’t make a decent Fallout neither could Interplay. The Brainbug is enlisted with Obsidian anyway (I think). Yeah just wikid, Brian Fargo joined forces with Obsidian in October 2011. So get your lazy asses up Obsidian and make a new Fallout! PS: Check out New Vegas, it’s 1000x better than F3 ;)

  32. tur1n says:

    I had never any hope that Interplay could make a good game at this point, let alone a Fallout MMO.
    And I think that’s why Bethesda shut them down. Not because they want to make one of their own, but because they want to protect one of their biggest IPs.

  33. ffordesoon says:

    Why would anyone, anyone at all, want a Fallout MMO, ever?

    Fallout is about being a lonely wanderer in a massive wasteland full of the Unknown. That’s the way it’s been since Fallout 1. Yes, you can meet companions, but they come and they go. They are very lovely company, but they are non-essential personnel. You are, for all intents and purposes, alone. You are forever a visitor to the wasteland, though you do not remain a stranger to those you meet. Fallout is, if you like, the post-apocalyptic video game version of “walk[ing] the earth, like Caine in Kung Fu.” You come to town, you solve or cause a bunch of problems, and you leave town uncertain that you did the right thing. And you do that until the game ends, however it ends.

    To make a Fallout MMO, you’d have to throw out the core of Fallout. You of necessity can’t have a bunch of lonely wanderers running around. Now, I’m not saying a Fallout MMO couldn’t be a good game; it might even be a better game, though that’s quite doubtful. But it wouldn’t be Fallout. You can’t put something contradictory to the very heart of a series out as an installment in that series.

    And I’m sure some joker will say, “DURR HURR BETHESDA DID!” No, they didn’t. Whatever you think of the new games, the player character is still a lone wanderer in a vast wasteland full of the Unknown. As much as they have changed (and they haven’t changed as much as people like to claim they have, but that’s a rant for another time), they have not changed that. This alleged MMO (which, it seems to me, probably never even made it out of prototype form) would have.

    The only reason anyone had to look forward to this thing was because a couple of the dudes who worked on the first games were apparently working on this project for a while. And, I mean, ignoring that there are plenty of artists who have not even the faintest inkling of why the thing they’re famous for connected with people, and ignoring that what little the dudes had to say about the project sounded more like something they were paid to say than something they believed in to me, their involvement was never a guarantor of quality. Warren Spector and Harvey Smith are two enormously talented men, and they worked together on Deus Ex: Invisible War. We all know how that turned out.

    • RakeShark says:

      I’ll try to address the two points you made.

      For Fallout itself, and the statement that a Fallout MMO would not in anyway represent the greater Fallout franchise, as well as the statement that Bethesda maintained the Fallout franchise, I’m sure you’re aware you’re going to catch flak for that. On my part, I do agree that Bethesda’s and Obsidian’s entries kept the theme of Fallout, the first of the two basic story archetypes: A Stranger Came To Town. They had the trappings and dressings of a Fallout game. There will be people who maintain that Fallout 3 and even New Vegas aren’t Fallout because they’re too different from the original. There are people who snub Fallout: Tactics for not being a Fallout game because it had a somewhat linear story, and even snub Fallout 2 for being too silly. While I think a Fallout MMO would have had the same trappings and dressings of Fallout, the basic archetype would have changed to the second one: We Went On A Journey. For some people that’s not a big deal, but for me that would not have been much of a Fallout game.

      Secondly, would a Fallout MMO have been good enough? Considering the nature of post-apocalyptic survival, there are a few ways a Fallout MMO could have been unique and interesting enough to appeal to Fallout fans. If they went with the EVE Online model of player-driven resource grabs, as well as allowing players to do whatever they wanted to other players, not to mention being exceedingly unforgiving with injury and death, this could have been quite a gem for the hardcore gamer. However, I highly doubt Interplay was going to gamble on such an approach, and would more or less mimic the Everquest/WoW model of MMOs. Kill X amount of Radscorps, turn in quest to next town’s sheriff, healer LFG Raider Camp, things of that nature. That, despite all the looks and cue cards of the Fallout franchise, would not have been a Fallout game, nor a good MMO.

  34. Lionmaruu says:

    Well, I only expect a Fallout 4 or Fallout: “Whatever city” to come soon, I love the series! Actually I love Fallout way more than elder scrolls and I’ve played at least 200h of oblivion and I’m in 130h+ in Skyrim. But I’ve played 400+ in Fallout3 and New Vegas EACH… So yes, scrap this mmo for now and give me a new fallout like this should be from scratch! (the bethesda way, never liked rpg-tatics games anyway).

    • soulblur says:

      Fallout: Random City edition. That would be fine. It’s a shame that Bethesda refuse to take the series out of the US. Fallout: London would be spectacular. Could be. Well, it could do worse than copying some ideas from FreakAngels.

      I’m just a bit bored with the whole concept of an MMO. You can’t really make much of a difference (perhaps Eve was an exception here). A smaller-world concept would be more my style – each server hosts a unique instance of the world, and each server has only several hundred players, bulked out with lots of NPCs.

  35. ethanizaak says:

    I’m most curious about the availability of the games on GOG (and, I suppose, other online games outlets) post-December 2013. I hope that Zenimax/Bethesda keep them GOG’d.

  36. CrustyKestrel says:

    I would love for Bethesda to never make another Fallout game, never mind an MMO.