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Interplay: Bethesda Knew Fallout MMO Was About More Than The Name

In a new court filing, Interplay argues that Bethesda has long known a planned Fallout MMO was intended to include elements from the Fallout universe, despite recent arguments to the contrary.
In a new court filing, Interplay argues that Bethesda has long known a planned Fallout MMO was intended to include elements from the Fallout universe, despite recent arguments to the contrary. The June 23 court filing -- obtained by Gamasutra -- comes in response to a motion for preliminary injunction filed by Bethesda to prevent Interplay from using elements of Fallout's story, setting and characters in its long-planned MMO, which has been tied up in legal limbo since 2009. Bethesda has argued that it only licensed the Fallout name to Interplay, and not the crucial elements of Fallout's post-apocalyptic universe. But the latest filing cites discussions with Bethesda from as early as 2007 to show both parties knew Interplay intended to use elements from the Fallout universe in its MMO, and accuses Bethesda of dragging its feet in filing for this latest injunction less than six months before a recently set trial date. "For at least four years, Bethesda has known that Interplay interpreted its right to create the Fallout-branded MMOG to include copyrighted content from the Fallout universe in order to make the MMOG a recognizable Fallout game," the filing reads. "Bethesda never objected and did not seek an injunction because it knew Interplay was doing exactly what the parties intended under their agreements," the document continues. Interplay also takes issue with Bethesda's argument that a Fallout MMO would "confuse and confound" Fallout 3 players because of alleged plot conflicts between the games. "This is ironic because Bethesda contends Interplay should have created an entire game of incompatible story, characters, and art and labeled it Fallout only in name," the document says. The filing goes on to accuse Bethesda of refusing invitations to coordinate story details with Interplay during the MMO's design stage, and argues that any such plot conflicts are only a minor part of over 20,000 pages of design documents. A judge blocked a similar Bethesda motion to dismiss in December 2009, and Interplay says Bethesda's latest move is a "belated motion for rehearing or repackaging" with no new facts. Interplay's planned Fallout MMO has also faced persistent funding troubles, and the company as a whole is reportedly in dire financial straits at the moment.

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