The long, arduous legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay has finally been settled. All rights to develop a Fallout MMO has reverted back to Bethesda, though Interplay will be allowed to sell Fallout Tactics, Fallout, and Fallout 2 for PC through to December 2013 at which their merchandising rights will expire. Interplay has also been given $2 million as consideration in the settlement.
Interplay was initially assigned and given Fallout trademark rights by Bethesda in April 2007 to create a Fallout MMO, along with $30 million to complete the game. Full scale development for the title was meant to occur in April 2009, but Bethesda allegs that Interplay "failed to meet either condition of the license back agreement but refused to relinquish its license and insisted it would develop a Fallout MMO".
In particular, Interplay had engaged Masthead Studios to create the Fallout MMO but didn't seek Bethesda's approval before doing so. This lack of communication turned the relationship sour. So to prevent Interplay from creating the game, Bethesda promptly sued Interplay to declare the license void.
Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax, is legal sidequest (so to speak) is over:
While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of ZeniMax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others' legal claims.