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Bethesda Suing Warner Bros. For 'Blatant Rip-Off' of Fallout Shelter

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Bit of a fallout.

UPDATE: Warner Bros. has responded to the Bethesda lawsuit in a statement provided to IGN.

"As one of the world’s leading creators of intellectual property, including the ground-breaking television series Westworld, Warner Bros. has a deep respect for intellectual property rights.  As such, the assertions by Bethesda Softworks that Warner’s Westworld mobile game improperly used source code from Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter are as surprising as they are unsubstantiated.  Warner Bros. has been assured by the game developer, Behaviour Interactive, that Bethesda’s allegations are untrue and that none of Bethesda’s code was used in the Westworld game.  Moreover, contrary to Bethesda’s baseless accusation, Warner Bros. at no time “induced” Behaviour to use the Fallout Shelter code in Westworld."

The original story can be read below.

Bethesda is suing Westworld game developer Behaviour Interactive and publisher Warner Bros, claiming Behaviour stole its designs, artwork, and coding, and used them in the mobile app.

Bethesda accuses Behaviour of stealing assets from Fallout Shelter - which Behaviour helped to develop - and using them in the Westworld game. According to the suit filed, Bethesda is suing Behaviour for breach of contract, while Warner Bros. is being sued for inducement to breach of contract.

In addition, both parties are being sued "for their willful and intentional infringement of Bethesda’s copyrights, misappropriation of Bethesda’s trade secrets, and deceptive business practices and unfair competition through their development, marketing, and promotion of the Westworld mobile game."

Exit Theatre Mode

In the suit, Bethesda argues it hired Behaviour to develop Fallout Shelter, and its assets, "solely for use by Bethesda." However Warner Bros, after seeing "Bethesda's significant success" with Fallout Shelter "engaged and collaborated with Behaviour to develop a mobile app for its own science-fiction property, Westworld."

The main crux of Bethesda's argument is that the two games have a "substantially similar gameplay experience". The company even goes as far as to say the Westworld game is a "blatant rip-off" of Fallout Shelter, with similar game design, art style, animations, and features.

Bethesda claims bugs appeared in the Westworld mobile game  which were evident in the early development of Fallout Shelter. This bug appears when a player starts up a demonstration version of Westworld, and renders the view out-of-focus.

Other similarities noted as evidence in the suit include numerous reports from journalists who claim the games play similarly, the multi-room underground vault environment, character behaviour, shading, room placement, and more - all complete with side-by-side images.

One example given is that "the Westworld mobile game copies FALLOUT SHELTER’s bar room complete with characters sitting at tables drinking oversized mugs of beer" (see below).

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Comparing Fallout Shelter and Westworld

So why is Bethesda suing both parties instead of just Behaviour? According to the suit, "Warner Bros. has a direct financial interest in Behaviour’s infringing activities through the resulting reduced costs and expedited development of the Westworld mobile game." Bethesda is requesting compensation for this to recover damages.

We have contacted Bethesda for comment.

Vic is a freelance news writer for IGN. Often found force-feeding people The Sims or gifting PlayerUnknown potato bread. You can follow her on Twitter.