Bethesda Sues Warner Bros., Behaviour Over Westworld Game Copying Fallout Shelter

Fallout developer Bethesda has reportedly filed a lawsuit against publisher Warner Bros. and developer Behaviour Interactive over their recently released Westworld game. According to Bethesda, the two companies “utilized Bethesda’s intellectual property without authorization” to develop the new mobile game based on the popular TV series and is a “blatant rip-off of Fallout Shelter.

Court documents filed at a Maryland U.S. District Court and uploaded by Polygon reveal that Behaviour, who also co-developed Fallout Shelter, “breached its contract with Bethesda and utilized its restricted access to Bethesda’s intellectual property, including Bethesda’s copyrighted code, trade secrets, and other rights, to compress its development timeline, reduce costs, and quickly bring the Westworld mobile game to market, and offer  players the widely popular gameplay experience found in Fallout Shelter.”

According to Bethesda, Westworld shares a “substantially similar gameplay experience” with Fallout Shelter as well as the “same or highly similar “game design, art style, animations, features,” and more. Both games are management simulators with Fallout Shelter having players manage a multi-room vault and its inhabitants while Westworld puts players in charge of their own Westworld park where they create AI hosts and match them to guests.

Bethesda also added that Westworld shares the same bugs that were present in an earlier development version of Fallout Shelter, specifically a defect that appears when the demonstration version of Westworld is started, which supposedly confirms that Behaviour used Fallout Shelter’s source code to develop Westworld.

Bethesda hired Behaviour to develop Fallout Shelter back in 2014 under the agreement that any ensuing assets including including code, designs, artwork, layouts, and other assets and materials would be authored and owned by Bethesda. Fallout Shelter was released in 2015 for mobile devices and was later ported to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Bethesda is suing for breach of contract, copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition, and is seeking a jury trial, an end to Westworld’s distribution, and damages.