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Bethseda licenses Fallout rights, announces Fallout 3

New franchise sequel in the works, but Interplay retains online rights.

Interplay's Fallout franchise has finally found a new home, with Bethseda Softworks today announcing that it is to develop and publish Fallout 3, having licensed the exclusive rights to the property, excluding online gaming rights.

The Fallout franchise is one of the best-regarded PC RPG series, with the first title (launched in 1997) and its sequel both being considered to be among the best RPGs on the platform, although the series took a tumble somewhat with Interplay's recent console action title, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

Bethseda is best known for its work on The Elder Scrolls series of games, the most recent of which, Morrowind, won a large number of awards and became one of the best-selling games on the platform when it was released on the Xbox.

Fallout 3 will be developed by the company along with the next chapter in The Elder Scrolls, and it would seem that it will not be using any of the assets or code from the part-completed Fallout 3 title which was being developed by Black Isle Studios before Interplay shut the project down.

"We are overjoyed," said Bethseda's Todd Howard, who will serve as executive producer on the new title. "Fallout is one of my favourite games, and we plan to develop a visually stunning and original game for Fallout 3 with all the hallmarks of a great RPG: player choice, engaging story, and non-linearity."

Although Bethseda now owns all the rights to the franchise across all platforms, Interplay has retained the ownership of the intellectual property, along with the rights to create online games based on the franchise. This ties in with the company's announcement last month that it plans to turn its fortunes around by developing a massively multiplayer title based on the Fallout franchise.

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