Fallout Online Declared, Beta Signups Open

By Alice O'Connor, Jun 18, 2010 1:00pm PDT Ending years of dancing round and refusing to confirm that its plainly Fallout-related post-apocalyptic PC MMO codenamed 'Project: V13' was its Fallout MMORPG, publisher Interplay has officially unveiled Fallout Online and opened beta signups.

Fallout Online is co-developed by Earthrise dev Masthead Studios and internally at Interplay, with Fallout designer Chris Taylor onboard as lead system designer.

The beta signup site and a little Project: V13 concept art.

The MMO has been the focus of a lengthy legal dispute between Interplay and current Fallout owner Bethesda. When Interplay sold the property to Bethesda in 2007, Interplay retained the rights to develop a Fallout MMO--on condition that it pay royalties and enter "full-scale" development within two years with a minimum of $30 million in funding.

Two years later, Bethesda charged that Interplay had failed to meet these requirements and so forfeited its rights. Bethesda further contended that Interplay's un-approved 'Fallout Trilogy,' 'Fallout Collection' and 'Saga Fallout' bundle re-releases of the first three Fallout titles were "confusingly similar to Fallout 3" and "cannibalizes on sales."

While Bethesda's bid to have development halted was not immediately successful, the court case continued. It's unclear whether the unveiling of Fallout Online represents a resolution of the legal battle or simply increased boldness from Interplay. "We cannot discuss the lawsuit," Chris Taylor states simply in a post on the Interplay forums. "Thank you for your understanding."

The Fallout Online site makes no mention of when its "early entry beta program" will begin, though Interplay stated in January that it would launch a "public beta" in 2012. There remains, of course, no word on a release date. Thanks to all who sent in tips.

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