The Fallout of the Fallout Spat

As reported by Kotaku, the details of the settlement between Interplay and Bethesda and their very public slagging match have been made public.

Interplay must stop production of the Fallout MMO immediately; and they can retain the rights and profits of Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics up until the end of December 31st 2013, at which point they become the property of the Zenimax corporation that owns Bethesda.

Zenimax meanwhile must pay $2 million to Interplay in consideration as part of this deal. Each side will pay their own respective legal fees.

It seems the end isn’t so much a bang, but a whimper, despite the ugliness of the spat between the two sides. Interplay may be faced with losing all the rights to a franchise they birthed in 1997; but Bethesda, and their heavy-handed approach and talk of impenetrable legal documentation and intimidation, are not coming out of this squeaky-clean either.

Both sides have lost greatly in this. Interplay have lost their dignity and the rights to one of the industries most beloved franchises. Bethesda have lost a lot of credibility and goodwill, and with the fallout (groan) continuing over the state of New Vegas, the franchise isn’t seen as being in very safe hands by many fans.

But I do think it is good to see this come to its conclusion, as it was an embarrassing little case study into the relationships between big companies; of greed, petty politics and using your Public Relations team for no other purpose than smack talking the other. That neither side saw fit to sit down and talk it out, and continued to rely on lawyers who were both expensive and clearly aggravating the situation, is quite shameful.

Especially as it has left the world with no Fallout MMO beta test, and left Bethesda to somehow pick up the pieces from New Vegas and get the series back on track.

No-one has come out clean on this. I’m positive there is far more to this story than has been reported; but much of that will be backroom politics and inter-company relations issues, neither of which either company will be in any rush to disclose publicly, to avoid further embarrassment.

So ignore the smug responses from Bethesda and any other complaints from Interplay; if either side had any respect or dignity left, they would simply stay silent over the affair that has been a thorn in their side for the past three years.

Something tells me though… they won’t.

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