According to popular Fallout fan site Duck and Cover, Interplay and Bethesda have already settled their long-running legal battle of the Fallout IP. The site claims that it has confirmed that a settlement has taken place, though the details of that settlement are still unknown. The post on the site goes on to say that an official announcement will be made sometime later this month. From the site:
In a post called "Skyrim — what we’re working on" over at Bethesda's official blog, the company admits that it has to take better care before releasing updates to its games. The post refers to the patch for Skyrim that was released earlier this week which caused dragons to fly backwards and make things like magic resistance stop working for some players. Bethesda acknowledges that the update adding bugs instead of fixing them is not a good thing ...
Bethesda Softworks’ newest open-world single-player RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has managed to do what no Western game has ever done before: get a perfect score in Japan's most popular and prominent magazine, Famitsu. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become the first Western game to receive a perfect 40/40 review score in the Japanese magazine - pulling off what games like with Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire, Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, and FIFA 12 could not do.
Bethesda announced that it is hard at work fixing bugs and glitches associated with various versions of its epic RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After pages of forum posts and an avalanche of consumer complaints, Bethesda will attempt to fix the issues plaguing PlayStation 3 Skyrim players with a new patch next week - after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"PS3 and 360 updates have been submitted for certification. PC coming too. Current estimate is they will be live the week after Thanksgiving," said Bethesda's Pete Hines.
Bethesda announced today that it has shipped 7 million copies of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to retailers worldwide and that it managed to sell 3.5 million of those copies in the first 48 hours after launch. While those numbers may not be as impressive as Modern Warfare 3's launch-day numbers it's still a pretty strong start for the franchise. Bethesda hopes to rake in around $450 million in revenue from global sales and claims that retailers are already requesting re-orders from the publisher.
Bethesda has lost another round in its legal battle with Interplay over the company's Fallout-themed massively multiplayer online game. The Fallout 3 developer was denied a preliminary injunction against Interplay by the courts in September. It appealed the ruling, but yesterday that appeal against the lower court's decision was also rejected.
Dueling reports on the future of Doom 4 make for an interesting morning. In one report from Kotaku, an "anonymous source" tells the publication that because Rage performed so poorly, id Software's next big title in the Doom series had been delayed. The anonymous source went on to say that Bethesda and its parent company Zenimax held a "company-wide meeting" in Dallas, where the decision was finally made. Finally, the source claimed that there was “a serious lack of confidence in the project management at id."
Minecraft developer Mojang has 2on the very first round in its legal fight with Bethesda and parent company Zenimax over use of the name "scrolls" in its upcoming game. Lawyers for Zenimax asked a Swedish court to put a temporary injunction on Mojang that would have prevented them from using the name while the case is being sorted out.
This Kotaku post on the continued trademark dispute between lawyers for Minecraft developer Mojang and Elder Scrolls series developer Bethesda offers some interesting quotes from Bethesda VP Peter Hines, and attorney Angela Bozzuti from Davis & Gilbert LLP in New York City.
RAGE may represent the first original IP for id Software since 1996, but the PC version of the game has been marred with so many technical issues that many critics are saying that the game could have used months of additional development and play testing. Those comments are not isolated to the PC version either (long load times are a serious issue with the PS3 version from what I've been told). The game launched earlier this week on various platforms including the PC. Out of the gate PC users noticed some serious issue with the game such as screen tearing and texture issues.
Did you know Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins (Tycho) is writing the backstory to Mojang’s Scrolls?
Well, he is and he’s well aware of Bethesda’s trademark infringement claim.
“Bethesda is uncomfortable with how scrolly they’re getting over there with all the scroll scrolls. Bethsoft has the Elder Scrolls, which are much, much older in the scroll department, and they believe that the age of these scrolls grants them primacy.
GamerLaw has an in-depth analysis of the Scrolls v. Elder Scrolls situation that was made public last week by Indie developer Mojang - better known as the makers of Minecraft.
UPDATE: Mojang's Markus Persson updated his personal blog with the following statement:
Bethesda announced that registration for QuakeCon 2011 will open on May 26 at 5pm PT (8pm ET for those of us on the other side of the country). Players looking to take the trip to Texas for the annual event dedicated to all things Quake-related can register online for exhibit hall access, "Bring Your Own Computer" events, and for various premium packages.
QuakeCon 2011 will take place from August 7 - 11 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.
More details will be revealed soon, according to Bethesda, but you can expect some reveals of games from Bethesda and its wholly-owned development studios - most notably, id Software.
You can register here at the appointed time and date.
Users that made the unfortunate decision to download the latest Fallout: New Vegas update found out the hard way that it makes Obsidian and Bethesda's action-RPG unplayable. Now Bethesda is telling the community that it is working hard on a fix and urging those that have not downloaded already to avoid it. According to a post on the Bethesda's official blog, Obsidian has figured out what caused the problem and plans to put out a new patch soon. From the blog:
"Regarding the Xbox 360 update, we've discovered a solution to the issue that's causing problems with game saves," reads the blog post. "We'll be hosting a replacement update on Xbox Live as soon as humanly possible.
"If you haven't grabbed the New Vegas update on 360 today, we recommend you decline the update until the new one is live. We'll be sure to let you know when it's up."
Fallout: New Vegas for the PC will use Steamworks for its digital rights management, according to publisher Bethesda. According to Bethesda's Jason Bergman, Fallout: New Vegas is using Steamworks as its DRM solution because it provides a number of benefits including achievements, friends list support, and other features. Of course this means users will have to have the Steam client installed in order to play the game. There are worse methods for providing DRM like "always on."
While you will have to be online when you first install it, there aren't too many other restrictions you have to worry about. Users can install the game on as many machines as they want and after that first initial install you won't need the disc again; you can download it directly from Steam after that.
New Vegas is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment under the watchful eye of Bethesda Softworks and will be out this fall for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The Fallout continues in court between Bethesda and Interplay over the deal that gave Betheda the rights to Fallout 3, Fallout 4 and Fallout 5.
According to a post on the Raging Bull forums by a user named frymuchan, Interplay has gotten a 10-day extension to answer a preliminary injunction filed by Bethesda. The crux of the issue seems to be that Bethesda is upset that Interplay started selling the original Fallout games after Fallout 3 was released. Interplay asserts that it retained those rights when it licensed out the future Fallout games to Bethesda.
Also, the post mentions that Interplay is countersuing Bethesda over assertions that Bethesda made to third parties in reference to the licensing agreement, hurting Interplay's business.
In regards to the Fallout MMO:
Interplay is stating that they fulfilled all rights of the agreement and told Bethesda such in a letter that posted prior to the agreement date in April of 2009, but Bethesda suddenly told Interplay, for no good reason, that they can no longer develop Fallout MMORPG. (Thus, Interplay is implicityly acknolwedging that they raised the requisite 35 million, which is very, very good news). Interplay was not allowed to sublicense the Fallout MMORPG out, as part of the original agreement, but Interplay craftily avoided this by not assigning any rights to Masthead Studios. Masthead studios is simply a technology and finance raising venture. Masthead does not get any rights to Fallout and was not sold Fallout MMORPG (sublicensing).
Frymuchan, who makes no secret that he is pro-Interplay, posted a followup as well:
What really blew me away was that Interplay argued in their court documents that Bethesda breached the contract and messed with Interplay every step of the way (such as sending letters to everyone that Interplay tried to sell the original Fallout games to) to such an extent that the contract is now null and void and therefore the former contract is in effect which states that Interplay owns the Fallout license and Bethesda sublicenses it and only has rights to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 and Fallout 5. Instead of Interplay oweing Bethesda royalties from Fallout MMORPG, Bethesda should pay Interplay royalties from Fallout 3, in excess of 15-20 million (estimated) as well as damages to Interplay's name, etc. What an amazing, brilliant legal stroke that would be if Interplay pulled this off and REGAINED the Fallout license (AMAZING LEGAL SWITCHAROO) and to boot got a huge, huge settlement from Bethesda to use toward remaking their old games and/or toward Fallout MMORPG.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts, since there is obviously no love lost between Interplay and Bethesda, particularly given the huge success of Fallout 3 and the subsequent calmor over the revelation of the Fallout MMO. We'll continue to follow this once the 10-day extension is up.
Following up on yesterday's report that Blindlight, a Hollywood firm which recruits voice actors for video game projects, had approached Bill Clinton for the role of the president in Fallout 3, Chris Morris of Variety contacted F3 publisher Bethesda, which seemed non-plussed by the news.
Pete Hines, VP of PR for Bethesda, told Morris:
Before they would pitch us on someone like Clinton, they may first go ask if he would do something like that. In no way, shape or form, did we say is President Clinton is who we want for this role or [tell Blindlight to] go chase him.
Kotaku reports that a Fallout 3 side quest involving the possible detonation of an unexploded nuclear bomb has been edited out of the Japanese version of the best-selling game.
Developer Bethesda has made changes to the Japanese Fallout 3. The side-quest The Power of the Atom has been changed. Non-playable-character Mr. Burke has been taken out of this side-quest, removing the option of detonating the nuclear bomb.
That's not all, the name of a weapon was changed as it was deemed "inappropriate" for Japan. Smart money says the weapon is mini-nuke launcher "Fat Man" for obvious reasons. The online reaction from the Japanese users seems to be largely disappointment to these edits. Fallout 3 goes on sale in Japan this December.
Japan, of course, is the only nation to have been attacked with a nuclear weapon to date, so cultural sensitivities to the issue are understandable. The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War II was nicknamed "Fat Man."
In unusually strong language, the editorial staff of video site GameTrailers.com has condemned the ESRB for forcing the removal of Fallout 3 trailers last week.
The comments were made in a podcast released Friday. GameTrailers editor-in-chief Shane Satterfield (left) and staffer "Grumpy" ripped the ESRB which, in addition to rating game content, enforces the industry's advertising standards.
The segment on the ESRB starts just after the 26-minute mark of the podcast. Here's a sample:
Shane: You may wonder why all the trailers ever released for Fallout 3 were removed from GameTrailers.com. Well the reason that happened is because of our good pals at the ESRB.
Grumpy: Wankers! ...I am just absolutely flabbergasted about the ESRB. They're a bunch of bleepwads sitting in Washington.
Shane: Hear, hear!
Grumpy: ...they get publishers to pull video footage. They assisted in getting the Fallout 3 ads taken out of Washington because some dumb bleepwit... on a bus got upset that they were showing images of decimated Washington...
Shane: Never watched a movie before!
Grumpy: Exactly. It's a futuristic, post-apocalyptic game. I am so sick of this nanny state... they are not a government organization. They are a body made up of unqualified nincompoops... unfortunately, they're taking the nanny state to the nth degree... They make the FCC look like a bunch of broad-minded, non-censorship individuals... It sucks that Bethesda had to pull all this Fallout 3 stuff, because it was bleeping good media...
Shane: All age-gated...
Grumpy: ...nobody could get at it. But because some little toe-rag at ESRB decides to get pissed off about something, all that good work is gone... Good job, Bethesda. It sucks that they have to kowtow to the ESRB...
Shane: I hate the ESRB... The week before that we had gotten an exclusive on a trailer... suddenly we get a call... and the publisher is telling us to take it down because of the ESRB... The ESRB can only regulate media that the publishers send us. Anything that we create in-house, as GameTrailers, they can't touch... we'll make our own violent-as-hell trailer that they can't do anything about. So we did. We put it up, it was huge... then we get a call from publisher X [who said] "...the ESRB is putting pressure on us and so that bleep is going to run downhill to where we can't work with you guys unless you do what the ESRB says" ...they are like the frickin' Mafia... These people have totally gone like a frickin' power trip...
GP: Thanks to GP reader Yukimura for the tip.
UPDATE: The ESRB has declined to comment on this story.
There has been some talk around the 'Net this week that the PC version of Fallout 3 is sporting SecuROM, the same intrusive copy protection scheme that caused so much controversy for Spore last month.
But a post on publisher Bethesda's blog claims that Fallout 3 only uses SecuROM to verify the disc:
For Fallout 3’s copy protection on PC, we use the same security model as we did for Oblivion - a simple disc check. We only use SecuRom’s disc check functionality for copy protection. We do NOT limit the number of installs. We do NOT use online authentication or any other SecuROM functionality except for a disc check when you install the game and when you launch the game. We do not install any other programs and we don’t have anything that runs in the background while you’re playing the game.
GP: Bethesda is clearly attempting to avert a consumer rebellion like the one waged against Spore. You know, the one about which EA 's CEO remarked that half of the complainers were pirates and the other half were too dumb to know any better.
If you thought being permanently disbarred would cause Jack Thompson to ride off into the sunset, guess again.
The ex-attorney is currently seeing fire and damnation in Bethesda's recent recall of Fallout 3 trailer videos. A rambling letter from Thompson to the Federal Trade Commission accuses the ESRB of duplicity in the enforcement of its advertising guidelines:
The ESRB’s [advertising] Principles and Guidelines are not intended to protect the public. They are obviously intended to protect the video game industry from the public backlash prior to a hyperviolent game’s commercial release. The ESRB, by allowing such violence in games but not in the advertising is institutionally mandating the cloaking of a game’s real content from the public in advertising.
Thus, the ESRB is actively using its “watchdog” muscle to intimidate game developers into participating in the ESRB’s long-standing shell game by which it has tried to hoodwink Congress and the American people into thinking that the video game rating system is working, that the ratings are reliable, and that minors are being protected from the sale of “Mature” games...
And, even though Take-Two has zilch to do with Fallout 3, Thompson cannot resist taking a shot at the GTA publisher:
Take-Two, for example, knows that if it adhered to “truth in advertising,” most of its Grand Theft Auto games never would have made it out of the warehouse. Take-Two has figured out how to collaborate with the ESRB in this shell game by which false advertising cloaks the real nature of their games until the games are released, and then it is too late...
Bethesda’s only sin was that it advertised truthfully what its game Fallout 3 is all about. The ESRB’s idiotic but telling response has fashioned a noose that I expect either the FTC or Congress to slip around the ESRB’s neck...
Full letter after the jump...
Sites which host game footage were advised by Bethesda yesterday that they must take down any trailers for Fallout 3.
With the highly-anticipated, M-rated game launching today, the move is ill-timed, to say the least. Maximum PC cites an e-mail from Bethesda VP Pete Hines:
In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice.
Meanwhile, Edge Online speculates that a Fallout 3 trailer which shows an adversary's head exploding in slo-mo, might be at fault.
Citing "cultural sensitivities," GamingIndians reports that Fallout 3 won't go on sale as scheduled next week in India.
By way of explanation GamingIndians cites a terse statement from Microsoft India, which is - or was - handling Fallout 3 distribution there:
Microsoft constantly endeavors to bring the best games to Indian consumers in sync with their international release. However, in light of cultural sensitivities in India, we have made the business decision to not bring Fallout 3 into the country.
Only the Xbox 360 version was planned for the Indian market.
GP: It's a bit of a mystery, but if I were a betting man, I'd speculate that Fallout 3's post-nuclear apocalypse theme has something to do with the decision.
After all, India has been in a stare-down with neighboring Pakistan for decades. Both sides are nuked up and as recently as 2002, almost went to war.
Following in the wake of GTA IV, Spore and other high-profile releases, the much-anticipated Fallout 3 was apparently cracked and leaked to torrent sites yesterday, nearly three weeks ahead of its scheduled October 28th U.S. retail release.
gamesindustry.biz reports that the hack involves the Xbox 360 version and requires a mod chipped 360 to play. gi.biz comments:
Although a majority of console and PC games are leaked online before the official release, for a game to be distributed illegally three weeks before it hits the shops highlights the demand for pirated material from users - and the holes in security measures designed to prevent illegal copying of games.
Fallout 3 also reportedly went gold yesterday.
GP: Without knowing how many chipped 360s are out there, it's hard to determine just how much of a problem this might be for Bethesda.
It's ironic, as a GP reader pointed out yesterday in our ShoutBox, that Ubisoft is delaying the PC version of EndWar, claiming piracy concerns, while major console titles are regularly cracked.