The legal battle between Interplay and Bethesda regarding the Fallout MMO is over. After several years of court hearings, a settlement has determined the rights to the Fallout MMO, often referred to as Fallout Online, will belong to Bethesda Softworks.
The legal battle began in 2009 when Bethesda attempted to halt the production of Interplay's Fallout MMO due to breach of contract. Bethesda bought the rights to the Fallout IP from Interplay before making Fallout 3. The rights to the MMO remained with Interplay, along with some merchandising rights. Bethesda felt Interplay violated the conditions of their contract and took them to court.
Back in September of last year, Bethesda was denied a restraining order against Masthead, the co-developer of the Fallout MMO. Bethesda and Masthead ended this matter through another settlement late in December 2011.
The terms for the Bethesda/Interplay settlement state the previous license given to Interplay is now null and void. All rights to the Fallout MMO are now Bethesda's, "effective immediately." ZeniMax, Bethesda's parent company, will pay Interplay $2 million. Interplay has until the end of 2013 to continue selling Fallout Tactics, Fallout and Fallout 2, according to the settlement.
I've been following this legal back and forth for a few years now and I have to say, I'm surprised it took this long to reach a settlement. Lawyers are really expensive. I hope Interplay can continue to develop games after this.
If I had to put money on it (G4 does not condone gambling) I'd say we'll see Bethesda's Fallout MMO on store shelves and Steam queues by 2014. What do you think?