A lawsuit pertaining to Fallout 4‘s DLC releases might delay Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda Games. This startling news comes amidst an intense lawsuit that could potentially cost Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax Media, over $1 billion in damages. This is not the first high profile lawsuit that has been seen in recent months throughout the gaming industry, but there’s no telling what impact this case might have on Bethesda’s upcoming projects such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI.
Fallout 4 released after a last minute announcement in November of 2015 to generally positive reviews but many fans said while the game improved upon many features of the series, it lacked in the deep RPG gameplay that made Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas such huge hits. The game truly brought the Fallout franchise to the modern era with updated graphics and in depth features such as settlement building and the ability to craft and modify all the weapons and gear within the game. While the storylines within the game were strong, many players felt railroaded by the main questline, leaving many fans wishing for more choice driven quests, like those seen in previous entries.
According to GamesIndustry, Zenimax is the subject of a lawsuit that accuses Bethesda of mishandling its release of downloadable content for Fallout 4. A Season Pass was released for the game’s DLC; it was priced at $30 and Bethesda claimed that it would give players access to all the DLC in the game. In August of 2017, Bethesda released its Creation Club platform, which contained both community and developer content for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The lawsuit claims that the Season Pass sales strategy was misleading to consumers since the content released through the Creation Club did not count as the DLC contained with the pass.
Attorneys from the X-Law Group argue that the new content released via the Creation Club should be considered as DLC with the Season Pass and that Bethesda basically misled its players with a convoluted sales platform that allowed them to make more money off of Fallout 4 players. The attorneys in question are asking that the court halt Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax Media so that all the company’s assets remain intact throughout the duration of the lawsuit. The case might not hit a court room until 2022 and Zenimax could be looking at costs for damages as high as $1.1 billion. The official charges against Zenimax Media- breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and negligent misrepresentation- were filed in 2019.
This could have plenty of effect on Microsoft’s industry-shaking purchase and any projects that Bethesda has in the pipeline such as the highly anticipated sequel to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or the storied company’s new IP, Starfield. Bethesda has come under fire recently due to its release of Fallout MMO Fallout 76. The historic developer was criticized for its release of a seemingly unfinished game that failed to deliver on most promises made prior to release. Time will tell if Fallout 4 proves to be as big of a stain on Bethesda’s reputation.