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Posted by Brother None

The Fallout license is, by this point, older than the sun. Well, to be more accurate, its November 1997 release date would put it in the Late Dark Ages of gaming history. With two games, two spin-offs and a chaos of confusion surrounding it, most people have lost track of where everything is, so here's a rundown of what's going on and where:

Fallout license

  • Full rights and ownership of Fallout are owned by Bethesda Softworks LLC (Bethesda)
  • In the purchase deal, Interplay Entertainment Corp. (Interplay) had retained the right to produce a Fallout MMO if it is started before April 9 2009 and "succesfully launched" before April 9 2013. Interplay sold said rights back to Bethesda in January of 2012.
  • The right to exploit the Fallout 1/2/Tactics/BoS sales has been retained by Interplay until December 31st, 2013. Money from sales of those games goes to Interplay. Interplay does not have the right to release new offline content (such as the source code).

Ref: Interplay 8-K filing

Fallout 1/2 assets
  • Fallout 1/2 (Fallout RPGs) sourcecode and design documentation have been provided to Bethesda as a part of the their purchase. Interplay retains a lot of material, which is however all locked up somewhere in storage, and still has a copy of the Fallout RPGs sourcecode.
  • Fallout RPGs textures, images and codes are spread out a bit, with some stuff having ended up with Bethesda, but textures of the Fallout RPGs ended up with Obsidian Entertainment (Obsidian), as well as a good chunk of code and images. Obsidian does not own any assets it purchased, it does have the license to use the art they have for any purpose and forever, but only the art.
  • The Fallout soundtrack and soundfiles are retained by Interplay, with certain bits having spread to Obsidian and Bethesda.
  • The Fallout sound infrastructure is part of a deal to use the Miles sound system of RAD Game Tools, Inc. (RAD). Interplay is allowed to use the Miles sound system but not allowed to redistribute any of the code. Sadly, the sound code is embedded into the sourcecode, which makes it impossible to legally release the Fallout RPGs sourcecode (without a separate deal with RAD).

Ref: Feargus Urquhart purchased Fallout graphic textures.
Ref: Miles sound system customers.

Van Buren assets
  • The assets of the cancelled Black Isle Studios (BIS) game Van Buren (Fallout 3) were mostly purchased by Obsidian in the deal mentioned above. Assorted pieces have been released through No Mutants Allowed (NMA). Bethesda also received a large amount of Van Buren assets and documention, but Todd Howard of Bethesda has indicated that they will not use any Van Buren assets in their game, but will "start fresh." Many of Van Buren's design concepts were used in Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas.

Ref: Fallout 3 FAQ on NMA, Van Buren subsection.

Spin-off license and assets
  • All BoS assets are still owned by Interplay, a number have been provided to Bethesda, including material from the planned Brotherhood of Steel sequel Vagrant Lands (BoS 2).
  • The Tactics assets can be assumed to be with its developer Micro Forté Pty Ltd (Micro Forté), though this is largely an unknown.