“We own the rights to everything Fallout. The license is ours. Fallout belongs to us. That’s what I’ll clarify.” That’s what Pete Hines, Bethesda VP of PR, told VG247 on a phone interview. This statement came in response to the claims that Bethesda shied away from purchasing the full IP in 2007 by Interplay president Eric Caen.
Hines rounded out the interview by declining to “comment on anyone else’s comments,” and ended in saying, “It’s a legal matter. A specific MMO or project or any of that stuff, the lawyers are going to sort it out.”
Caen, however, did have something to add in an email later that evening. “I can’t agree on this,” he wrote, “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.”
On this note, Caen talked to Eurogamer about Interplay’s ability to develop a Fallout 6 in the event their MMO 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. 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 canceled by the court.”
While claims fly from both sides, the question in the end is, will Bethesda get something for nothing, will IP sales be no longer pending, or will the court fees and time spent in litigation hurt everyone, fans included. Fallout: Online is aiming for release in 2012. Whether or not this keeps on schedule is likely up to the courts.