Fallout: New Vegas mod maker asks: did Fallout 4 DLC rip me off, or was it just "inspired" by my work?

Bethesda calls similarities "a complete coincidence".

By Wesley Yin-Poole. Published 15 July 2016

The creator of one of Fallout: New Vegas' biggest and best mods has drawn attention to the striking similarities between his work and a Fallout 4 DLC quest.

Modder Guillaume Veer, aka BaronVonChateau, took to Moddb to point out that the Fallout 4 Far Harbor DLC quest Brain Dead shared plot points and story delivery with Autumn Leaves, a Fallout: New Vegas mod that came out a few weeks before Fallout 4.

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Autumn Leaves is a DLC-sized add-on for New Vegas, with more than 2000 voiced lines, eight new quests and 29 new perks that combine to offer around seven hours of gameplay. We reported on Autumn Leaves back in September, after its creators released the flashy trailer, below.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.

Autumn Leaves features a colourful cast of eccentric robots who are in charge of a forgotten Vault in which a strange murder took place. Far Harbor's Brain Dead has pretty much the exact same setup.

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Veer runs through the comparisons in some detail in his post.

"First off," he writes, "both quests begin with a discussion through an interphone with the caretaker of the Vault, a head-waiter robot with a rather distinguished persona. The big mandatory Vault Door opens, leaving the player up for the exploration of said vault."

That's not too surprising a beginning for a Fallout quest, of course. Many quests in the post-apocalyptic universe begin by having you speak with someone behind a big vault door before they let you in.

But then, as Veer points out, the similarities between Brain Dead and Autumn Leaves become more striking. The main quests for both involve investigating a murder by checking the crime scene, then speaking to every robot in the Vault.

Fallout 4.
Autumn Leaves.

Then, as Veer states: "The mysterious death of the prime financier of the Vault, who - in both cases - worked alongside Vault-Tec to build the special place."

Fallout 4.
Autumn Leaves.

Veer mentions the importance of voice modulators in the plot, used to distinguish the robots between themselves, as well as the "sexy time" moment that occurs in both.

Fallout 4.
Autumn Leaves.

Then there's a "let's discuss paintings with a robot" bit in both.

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There's more, according to Veer: "There's the Neural Interface Matrix in BD versus the Neuro Comp Matrix in AL, the presence (and relevance to the plot) of a robotic expert in the Vault, the feel of the central atrium, the quasi-exclusive robotic cast confronted to a murder, the misleading piece of evidence (Keith/Rolland), among others."

You'd think, given the similarities between Autumn Leaves and Brain Dead, that Veer would be upset and perhaps accuse Bethesda of ripping him off. But he says he's "perfectly okay" with the mega developer perhaps taking inspiration from his mod.

"Now, now, truth be said, I honestly thought Bethesda's staff played Autumn Leaves, had a blast with it (I hope) took some things out of it and made their own thing for Far Harbor," Veer said.

"And I seriously think this is perfectly okay. After all, Autumn Leaves' inspirations are countless (Asimov's, Cluedo, Planescape: Torment, Arcanum, older Fallouts, etc.) and being influenced is a natural part of the writing process."

Rather, Veer raises the question of modder recognition. What kind of acknowledgement, if any, should a big publisher give to a mod creator in a case such as this? Perhaps a mention in the credits?

Either way, Veer admits that shining a light on the comparison between the two is in part about raising awareness of Autumn Leaves.

For Bethesda's part, the company has denied stealing Autumn Leaves in the creation of Brain Dead. GameSpot asked Bethesda marketing chief Pete Hines for comment, and he said the similarities are "a complete coincidence".

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"We love our mod community and would never disrespect them," he said. "I checked, and any similarities between the two are a complete coincidence."

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