Here’s the story so far. Interplay are developing a Fallout MMO title and Bethesda are attempting to block further development through application of The Law. When their previous injunction failed, Bethesda took things all the way to the United States District Court of Appeals, claiming that the previous court had “misapplied the law”. If it was indeed a misapplication, the very same slip up has occurred once more. Stop misapplying Law, courts, you’re getting it all over the drapes.
Right now, Interplay are free to continue with development but Bethesda hold the rights to the license, so presumably they’d have to kiss and make up at some point, which doesn’t happen all that often with people who are vigorously throwing lawyers at one another. Bethesda’s case appears to rest on the fact that Interplay are not financially stable enough to finish the game in a satisfactory timeframe and/or to a satisfactory standard.
I’m not going to pretend to understand the legal wranglings fully because they’re probably more complex than I’d make them out to be. But some questions are bubbling up in the old brain-stew. Prime among them is this: what does Interplay have to gain? If they complete the game, do Bethesda have a legal responsibility to publish it under the Fallout brand? Would that lead to another legal challenge? Could they just switch the name to World of Wasteland and recolour a few assets?
As far as I can make out, these current shenanigans are little more than bumps in the road en route to the potential head-on collision should there ever be a concrete plan to release a finished product. It’s a shame that none of the news reaching us pertains to what that product might be.