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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Bethesda Softworks - Officially Owner of Fallout 3

Default Bethesda Softworks - Officially Owner of Fallout 3

January 10th, 2012, 10:33
Thomas Beekers (Brother None) comment on Gamebanshee appears to sum it up well:

Well, since I got to read a lot of the court documents, I'll note: Interplay was going to lose. Their "license reverts back to Interplay" argument was the only thing they had left, and it was a huge stretch. They could not bring Masthead development in as evidence for financing fulfilled, which means they had no chance whatsoever to win that argument with Bethesda. Everything from the court documents proved they were completely beat, and I doubt they had a lot of money left to keep this fight up.

In fact, they even had to give up the classic titles rights just to get $2 million out of it. And $2 million? Man, they spent a good chunk of that on lawyer fees for this case. This is an unsurprising and complete annihilation.
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January 10th, 2012, 11:04
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
http://www.bethblog.com/2012/01/09/p…ay-litigation/
I'm well aware of bethesda's claims, what I wanted to know is what guenthar knew that the courts didn't.

AFAIK until christmas interplay was holding its own against Bethesda's claims(fallout mmo in name only?)

I'd like to know what shape the bulgarians are in because if their work was offered as 20 mils' worth of the required funding, does it mean they were working without being paid so far?
Last edited by KapitanUnterhosen; January 10th, 2012 at 11:18.
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January 10th, 2012, 11:05
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January 10th, 2012, 15:05
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post

AFAIK until christmas interplay was holding its own against Bethesda's claims(fallout mmo in name only?)
Yeah well that's understandable given how poor the coverage has been. Many of the posts and articles providing information on the case seemed to have missed that interplay was "holding its own" in pre-trial motions. They also seemed to misunderstand that rulings against pre-trial injunctions are not findings of fact with regard to the overall merits of the complaint. They also seemed to conflate the weakness of the amended "in name only" portion of complaint with weakness to the original and more damning portions related to failure to meet the terms of the contract and re-releasing older fallout games as a "trilogy" possibly creating confusion with "Fallout 3."

So yeah a lot of the DAC forum threads would have given you that false impression; Brother None was usually rather quick to point out how misleading the OPs often were but if you missed his posts then your impression makes sense based on the piss-poor information that was often available. Some of the minor news sites weren't much better than those forum posts either.
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January 10th, 2012, 17:27
Anyone know what Interplay consists of these days? It's not the Interplay of old, that's for sure. Likely it's one or two people who own the name. Could be that 2 million dollars is a lot for them. And they had no way of winning this one so instead of drawing the battle out and having ridiculous legal fees adding up they had to settle.

In a way I'm glad - do we need yet another MMO game? Bethesda did a great job reviving the series and it was a great idea to let Obsidian take a stab at it. The series is alive and well, we don't need some MMO tarnishing the name.

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January 10th, 2012, 17:34
I'm glad to see Bethsoft win this, despite all the absolute nonsense going around about this case. The good guys (clearly Bethsoft if you know ANYTHING about the last 10 years of so-called "Interplay") won.

IMO, they should basically give Fallout to Obsidian to continue. Obsidian can develop FO games based on Bethesda engines, and Bethesda can stick to Elder Scrolls entries. Also, Obsidian should change their name to Obsidian Isle. With the recent hiring of Tim Cain, they really have all the best from Fallout's past.

I wouldn't mind seeing Fargo try for a Wasteland game with InXile, but none of the games out of InXile have been good. Fargo should team up with some outside teams (again.. maybe Obsidian) and try to turn Wasteland into a proper successor to the top-down Fallouts, with Fallout proper sticking to FPS from here on how.

Then it's win-win for everyone.
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January 10th, 2012, 18:03
I agree with most of that, killias, except I want Bethesda to make Fallout games too. I like them doing the numbered ones and let Obsidian do the expansions. We get two very good games out of the deal. The problem would be whether or not Obsidian is free each time to do the expansions. I don't believe anyone wants Obsidian to be absorbed by Zenimax.

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January 10th, 2012, 18:12
I'm just glad it's over. Every time Bethesda files a lawsuit, I lose respect for the company. Now if only the nonsense with Notch will blow over. I like Bethesda, and I understand they think they are just trying to protect themselves, but this whole thing still left a bad taste in my mouth.
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January 10th, 2012, 18:56
Bethesda felt they had to file suit against Notch to protect their copywright. I do believe that was resolved though (in Notch's favor), or am I wrong?

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January 10th, 2012, 19:01
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post
I'm well aware of bethesda's claims, what I wanted to know is what guenthar knew that the courts didn't.

AFAIK until christmas interplay was holding its own against Bethesda's claims(fallout mmo in name only?)
I think you are confusing Bethesda's failure to secure preliminary injunctions with "Interplay holding its own."

The bar is usually set quite high for preliminary injunctions, so it's not surprising that Bethesda's initial motions were denied. Interplay's position was still precarious and certainly there was almost no likelihood of Interplay ever obtaining an injunction against Bethesda's use of the marks.

As part of the terms of Bethesda's license to Interplay, Interplay was supposed to meet certain criteria by April 7, 2009 and when this didn't happen, Bethesda moved to rescind the Fallout MMO license on April 15 and then eventually filed the original lawsuit. Interplay's counterclaim went nowhere and when Beth's first motion for injunction was denied, they filed again, were denied again, and appealed.

Although Bethesda failed to secure a preliminary injunction twice, it was probably obvious to Interplay that they even if they somehow managed in spite of all odds to raise the financing, complete development and bring the doomed MMO to market, all the while with this massive claim hanging over their heads, Bethesda was going to eventually win a judgement, at least in the form of huge liquidated damages if not an injunction.
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January 10th, 2012, 19:27
Isn't the nonsense with Notch over? I believe I've read in a Danish newspaper (or Swedish possibly?) that Notch has won? since the Swedish court denied the claims made by Bethesda?

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January 10th, 2012, 21:01
I think the post should be named more aptly "Bethesda Softworkds gets back Fallout MMO rights", since there was never any doubt over the ownership of Fallout 3.

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January 10th, 2012, 22:47
Originally Posted by Relayer View Post
Anyone know what Interplay consists of these days? It's not the Interplay of old, that's for sure. Likely it's one or two people who own the name. Could be that 2 million dollars is a lot for them.
I'm curious about that as well, particularly how many people they employ now. I did a quick seach but couldn't come up with anything.

According to Wikipedia, their revenue in 2010 was only 1.38 million, and their net income was -1.03 million. Of course Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source so I don't know how accurate that is.

They still have a few titles in development, but I have to wonder how badly this is going to hurt them in the long run.
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January 10th, 2012, 23:08
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
Isn't the nonsense with Notch over? I believe I've read in a Danish newspaper (or Swedish possibly?) that Notch has won? since the Swedish court denied the claims made by Bethesda?
I believe Notch won an injunction argument.

If the Bethsoft vs Interplay scenario should have learned you anything, winning an injunction is not a win in the longterm by default. How many times did Interplay win an injuction? Two times, and eventually lost. In fact they lost harder than anyone imagined with the original Fallouts belonging to Beth in a few years.
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January 10th, 2012, 23:14
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I'm curious about that as well, particularly how many people they employ now. I did a quick seach but couldn't come up with anything.

According to Wikipedia, their revenue in 2010 was only 1.38 million, and their net income was -1.03 million. Of course Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source so I don't know how accurate that is.

They still have a few titles in development, but I have to wonder how badly this is going to hurt them in the long run.
They're listed as publisher for a couple WiiWare ports of old games, an iOS dinosaur-themed RTS, and a new version of Battle-Chess all developed by third parties. The last game they actually developed in-house appears to be the DS version of "Legendary Wars: T-Rex Rumble." That was around 2009/20010. Almost all of what they have actually done in-house in the last decade has been porting old PC and console titles to portable gaming devices and to the Wii for sale on the online marketplace.

The last original game they developed in house before the T-REX Nintendo DS RTS looks to be Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. They have some titles "planned" for future development listed but based on what they've been producing for the better part of the last decade I don't think they have the kind of talent on staff anymore to make those games at all let alone make them well.

Watch the 3 part history of Interplay done by Machinema; stuff started to go wrong when they got into publishing for 3rd parties and went to crap after their underpiced IPO (compared to the value of their franchises) was bought up by Titus. After that takeover they started hemorrhaging talent and they also steered sharply away from development work, focusing on publishing and desperately trying to publish anything that they could put on consoles. Granted, Fargo needed someone with better business sense at the helm or needed to have stuck to developing their own titles but the people Titus put in charge seemed to know less about publishing and far less about development than Fargo had.
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January 11th, 2012, 06:33
Originally Posted by JuliusMagnus View Post
I believe Notch won an injunction argument.

If the Bethsoft vs Interplay scenario should have learned you anything, winning an injunction is not a win in the longterm by default. How many times did Interplay win an injuction? Two times, and eventually lost. In fact they lost harder than anyone imagined with the original Fallouts belonging to Beth in a few years.
The bar is usually set rather high to get a preliminary injunction. Interplay did not win any injunction, despite its countersuit which sought to establish that Bethesda no longer held any rights to the franchise except for FO3, 4 and 5. Rather, Bethesda failed twice to obtain preliminary injunctions against Interplay and then filed an appeal but both sides ultimately settled out of court.

In the case of Scrolls, Mojang did not win any injunction against Bethesda, either. Rather, Bethesda failed to obtain a preliminary injunction against Mojang from a Swedish court.

Mojang filed a very broad trademark application with the USPTO seeking ownership of the "Scrolls" mark on such classes of goods and services as:

Entertainment services in the form of electronic, computer and video games provided by means of the Internet and other remote communications device; internet games (non downloadable); organising of games; games (not downloadable) played via a global computer network; education and entertainment services in the form of cinematographic, televisual, digital and motion picture films, radio and television programs and shows; preparation, editing and production of cinematographic, televisual, digital and motion picture films, radio and television programs; entertainment services in the form of electronic, computer and video games provided by means of the Internet, mobile telephone and other remote communications device.

…..

Articles of clothing; footwear and headgear; t-shirts; shirts; trousers; sweatshirts; jackets; knitwear; hats; caps; neckwear; shoes; socks; garments for women; garments for men; garments for children; apparel parts and fittings for all the aforesaid

….

Computer games; video games; computer software; computer and video games software; computer software downloaded or downloadable; computer software publications downloaded; interactive entertainment software; data recorded electronically from the Internet; data recorded in machine readable form from the Internet; discs, tapes, cartridges, CD-ROMs and other magnetic, electronic or optical media, all bearing computer games software or video games; electronic amusement apparatus for use with television receivers; electronic games apparatus; home video game machines.

In contrast, Beth's "Elder Scrolls" trademark only covered "Pre-recorded CD's and DVD's featuring fantasy games."

The USPTO rejected Mojang's application, claiming it was "similar enough to 'The Elder Scrolls' as to be confusing to consumers and therefore a potential infringement of Zenimax's trademark." However, even without owning this mark, as long as there is no injunction, Mojang can still legally exploit it in the US, which would weaken Bethesda's ability to prevent unauthorized use of its own mark in the future, given the USPTO's ruling.
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January 11th, 2012, 07:11
Meh….I was hoping this would be in legal limbo forever so no MMO would ever be made. I have no interest in a Fallout MMO from either of the publishers. Keep it singleplayer please.

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January 11th, 2012, 07:52
Originally Posted by JuliusMagnus View Post
If the Bethsoft vs Interplay scenario should have learned you anything, winning an injunction is not a win in the longterm by default. How many times did Interplay win an injuction? Two times, and eventually lost. In fact they lost harder than anyone imagined with the original Fallouts belonging to Beth in a few years.
The sad thing about the original Fallout's belonging to Beth in a few years is that Bethesda will do anything they can to silence them. They conflict with there vision and there is still people throwing a fit over the changes.

Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Meh….I was hoping this would be in legal limbo forever so no MMO would ever be made. I have no interest in a Fallout MMO from either of the publishers. Keep it singleplayer please.
I couldn't agree more and cant understand why people want them to make a Fallout or TES MMO.

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January 11th, 2012, 08:04
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
The sad thing about the original Fallout's belonging to Beth in a few years is that Bethesda will do anything they can to silence them. They conflict with there vision and there is still people throwing a fit over the changes.
By "silence" do you mean that they will pull them from distribution?

I have no idea what kind of revenue typical catalog games generate on GOG and Steam, but I would imagine FO1 and 2 are probably some of the most popular older games on the market, wouldn't you think?
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January 11th, 2012, 08:06
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
By "silence" do you mean that they will pull them from distribution?

I have no idea what kind of revenue typical catalog games generate on GOG and Steam, but I would imagine FO1 and 2 are probably some of the most popular older games on the market, wouldn't you think?
No I stand by what I said Bethesda never wanted interplay or anyone else selling them. This was a hot topic a few years back.

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