developer Bethesda turned down a proposition to pay $50 million for the full Fallout
IP, including rights to an MMO, according to an Edge magazine interview
with Interplay president Eric Caen.
Currently, Bethesda owns the rights to everything Fallout
except a disputed deal over the MMO spinoff, in development at Interplay, the previous owner of the license. Bethesda ended up paying $5.75 million for the RPG property in 2007, and turned the dormant PC franchise into a blockbuster multiplatform hit.
Eric Caen said his brother, Interplay CEO Herve Caen, initiated verbal negotiations with Bethesda over the rights of the Fallout
IP. "My brother said: 'If you want the full IP, the value of it is $50 million,'" according to Eric.
"[Bethesda] said: 'No way. Why $50 million?' We said: 'Because the MMOG strength of this universe is huge.' Bethesda said: 'We don’t want that. Let’s buy everything else but the MMOG. Do the MMOG.'"
Along with the $5.75 million non-MMO Fallout
deal, the two companies signed off on an agreement for the MMO -- Bethesda required Interplay to secure $30 million within 24 months of the deal's signing date to fund development of the MMO, or else the license would be terminated.
The agreement also required Interplay to launch the game within four years of signing. Any violation of the MMO agreement would mean the rights to the MMO would revert to Bethesda.
Eric claimed that Bethesda counted on Interplay being unable to meet the stipulations of the MMO licensing agreement. "But Interplay did," he said. Bethesda did not agree, and the studio filed suit against Interplay
in September 2009 for breach of contract. Litigation over the issue is still ongoing.
Eric said, "...All the litigation is about that. I think Bethesda, off the back of Fallout 3
’s success, realized that Herve was probably right about the value. They said: 'OK, how can we get that without paying?'" Bethesda said it has no comment on Eric's recounting of the negotiations.
The Interplay president also said
that development of the Fallout
MMO, formerly known under the codename Project V13
, is currently under development by a team of 90 people who are working towards a 2012 release.
"Even in January 2009, you were already able to move across the [MMO's] world," said Eric. He added that Bethesda's "...Fallout 3
was a little bit too serious -- that’s definitely not where we’re going. Our Fallout
MMOG will be extremely funny."