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Bethesda claims "Interplay is wrong"

Fallout MMO tussle heats up.

Bethesda Softworks has hit back at Interplay's claim that the latest in a long line of attempts to derail its planned Fallout MMO was "absurd".

Earlier this week, Interplay rubbished Bethesda's claim that it had only ever licensed out one asset to Interplay: the Fallout trademark in association with an MMO, and not the characters and environments associated with it.

A new court filing from Bethesda unearthed by Gamasutra argued that the agreement between the two parties was "clear and unambiguous," and it had "no contractual or other duty" to give Interplay any assets aside from the name.

"The term 'Fallout-branded MMOG' is plain and clear on its face - it means an MMOG named 'Fallout,'" Bethesda's filing insisted. "Bethesda gave Interplay a license to call its MMOG 'Fallout' if it met the conditions of the [trademark licensing agreement]. Nothing else was licensed to Interplay.

"Interplay offers a variety of meritless arguments to suggest that the plain reading of the [trademark licensing agreement] would render the agreement meaningless. Interplay is wrong. Its arguments to the contrary should be rejected."

Bethesda also explained why it had not raised any objections earlier, claiming it had "only recently learned of Interplay's multiple infringements from Interplay's public marketing materials."

Bethesda purchased the rights to the Fallout franchise from Interplay back in 2004 for $5.75 million. It licensed the online rights back to the struggling publisher before starting development on Fallout 3 and, more recently, Fallout: New Vegas.

Interplay announced its intent to release a Fallout MMO soon after that deal was signed, with a release currently slated for 2012.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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