These days it seems like every vaguely popular franchise is getting it’s own MMO — Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, DC Universe, hell, even Hello Kitty — so it’s kind of weird that some franchises that would be perfectly suited to becoming MMO’s (*cough*Pokemon*cough*) haven’t made the jump online yet. Now, after years of legal disputes and court cases, Fallout may be making the long-awaited jump into the MMO market, now that publisher Interplay has won a court case against fellow Fallout publisher/developer Bethesda.
Interplay was the publisher of the original Fallout games for PC back in the 90’s, however, the company was sold to another publisher, and due to mismanagement, fell on hard times during the last decade and sold the rights to the Fallout franchise to Bethesda, who went on to develop the popular Fallout 3 and publish Fallout: New Vegas (which was actually worked by some of the staff of the original game, who had since left Interplay to join other companies.) Interplay once again became an independent company in 2007, and is now seeking to create a Fallout MMO, despite no longer owning the rights the Fallout name or franchise.
As with most deals between big companies, the sale of the Fallout IP to Bethesda wasn’t the most clearly worded deal, and now Interplay is claiming that they still have the right to develop Fallout games, despite Bethesda’s apparent ownership of the Fallout name and it’s associated works. There’s still guaranteed to be a long legal battle of appeals and counter-appeals in the future, but as of right now, Interplay has won the latest legal case with Bethesda, and can now go forward with their plans for a Fallout MMO. Whether the game will ever come out (and if it does, if it’ll be any good,) is anyone’s guess, but the Fallout fan in me cannot deny that I’d sign up for an MMO set in the series’s iconic post-apocalyptic universe as soon as it was announced.