Bethsoft alleges Behaviour and WB ripped off Fallout Shelter in the new Westworld mobile game

    
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A trio of companies known best to our audience for their MMOs are gearing up for a big court battle in the streets of Sweetwater.

Bethsoft is apparently suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over alleged copyright theft in the brand-new Westworld mobile game. You’ll recall Behaviour from its development of MMO Eternal Crusade, and of course Bethsoft owns Fallout – it’s Fallout Shelter that Bethsoft believes was “ripped off” here.

Bethsoft says Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games. Apparently, Behaviour developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission.

“The Westworld game is a blatant rip-off of Fallout Shelter. Working with the same copyrighted computer code used by Fallout Shelter, Westworld has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements as Fallout Shelter, all of which are owned by Bethesda,” the lawsuit filed in Maryland yesterday reads; it further demands that the court stop distribution of the Westworld game and award Bethesda appropriate damages.

I gave the new Westworld game a spin last night myself since I’m a big fan of the show (the show itself is basically an MMO sandbox, and MMO fans should really check it out). It’s a cross between any Tiny Tower game, The Sims, and a standard real-time restaurant/etc. management sim. You’ve probably played it a million times before (and a million times before Fallout Shelter too). While the setting is intriguing and the graphics are slick, the cash shop is ridiculous and ultimately made me uninstall. It’s also loaded with a weird assortment of light spoilers and anachronisms that will confuse you whether or not you’re caught up on the series. Either way, if you’re going to check it out, you should probably do it sooner rather than later since it seems pretty convincing that there might not be a later.

Source: Scribd, Polygon
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wratts

Having tried both, I tend to think Bethsoft is right that Behaviour reused a good deal of code between the two. Makes me wonder if they can subpoena the source code same as any other document and possibly demonstrate reuse rather than Behaviour rewriting the common components

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Mewmew

I don’t think they play remotely similar… That isn’t to say they couldn’t have re-used code but they don’t play alike even a little bit. They look a little alike because of the underground area but that’s it. The play itself isn’t even remotely alike.

People show pictures of the two as if to compare them and they see the underground area and think they’re alike but they’re so different.

Again, that isn’t to say they couldn’t have re-used some of the same code. But as far as play they aren’t close to the same thing.

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J

If they reused code and they were under some form of agreement with Bethesda.. Then that will sink their battleship pretty quick. We won’t ever hear the outcome of this though. They will settle out of court. Bethesda will take a chunk of their profits and that will be the end of it.

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Stropp

I would think there was also some form of non-compete agreement in place to prevent them from making a similar game (like Westworld) for a defined period of time afterwards. That would be good business sense.

Bethesda is really quite litigious though. They do like throwing around the old lawsuits and claim things that they really shouldn’t, like generic terms, and (in this case) similar design, style, and features. None of which are really copyrightable. (It doesn’t stop them suing though.)

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Sorenthaz

Tbh what Behavior is probably best known for nowadays is its game Dead By Daylight, which has been leagues more successful than Eternal Crusade. It’s basically the only 4v1 asymmetrical PvP game to not flop (Evolve) or die before it launches (RIP Fable Legends and whatever that game was called that Bioware was workign on).

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Jack Pipsam

That’s pretty funny considering that Fallout Shelter is a rip-off of Tiny Tower.

Bethesda is dense.

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Bryan Gregory

Love the show, although I’ve enjoyed season 1 more than 2 (2 has less piano versions of Radiohead songs :( and less piano in general). Sounds like it could be a good thing this game could get scrapped, the show deserves a much better video game representation than this.

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Armsbend

That crap Fallout game ripped off about 10 years worth of junk games. I do not care.

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Iain B

You don’t care so much you still clicked on the article title, presumably read the article (or am I giving you too much credit?) and then felt the need to comment just to tell us how much you don’t care.

Yea, ok…

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Tobasco da Gama

Actually, it’s pretty clear that Armsbend didn’t read the article.

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Schmidt.Capela

Actually, many of the games it draws inspiration from (as told by the vice-president of Bethesda) are over two decades old.

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Tobasco da Gama

I haven’t seen any specific examples of what bugs got copied into the Westworld game, but that detail sounds pretty damning.

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xpsync

I’ve never been this engrossed into a show before. If anyone whom roams this site has not watched Westworld, then i’m not sure why you’re even on this site?

I normally don’t do games on the phone, this one i was actually thinking about it, that’s how good this show is. Even blades is like meh, anything on the phone is so… not going to get into it.

I watched episode 1, 2 of season two and stopped, totally going to binge out SE2. All ready to roll only need to find the time, which is scarce atm.

I’m probably looking at a couple months before i can spare a weekend so thinking about re watching season 1 for a 3rd time to get through to that binge weekend.

Yes it’ll be my 3rd time, that’s how amazing this show is. it’s the show of shows and when you re watch you notice allot of stuff which totally went over your head on the first run only due to the fact that you would have to watch the full season 1 to get it. Legendary show!

If you have not watched this show, i dunno what to say? Have you checked yourself for a pulse, maybe that’s the problem?

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Armsbend

It is a great show.

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xpsync

It’s up there for sure.

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Maggie May

It’s pretty well my favourite show right now.

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flyingltj

Warner Brothers Entertainment has a long history of breaching contracts. Lest we not forget WB sold lifetime subscriptions to Asheron’s Call then promptly shut down all the servers without issuing refunds.

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Dug From The Earth

After seeing this, I hope Bethesda gets sued by every Survival game out. Companies need to stop being ridiculous with their “they copied us” crying and lawsuits.

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Microwatt

They are not suing for similarities in genre, but for using the same code on WW game that they used on Fallout Shelter under contract.

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Dug From The Earth

Well, if they can prove that the code was re-used or stolen… more power to them. I think however companies are prone to jumping the gun on lawsuits… just to be sure, and then backing down when they cant find the evidence they need.

From the article above though

“Westworld has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements as Fallout Shelter, all of which are owned by Bethesda”

You cant own those things in general. Companies try to though, all the time.

One exception would be the animations. If they were the same animations, simply reused, then that has ground for a suit.

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Tim Johnson

The thing you seem to be glossing over, the 2 games were built by the same company, and have a few identical bugs. That is the part that made this step over from “similar” to “Exact copy”. If Bethesda’s contract gave them ownership of the code, they have every legal right to sue this company for re-using it for a different game.

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Dug From The Earth

Right… the fact that its the same company surely increases the odds that the code could be copied, from say another company, who would have had to steal, hack the code to copy it. Still, because of this increased probability, it leads the first reaction to be “Guilty!!!” Now, both games having the same exact bugs, points more in the direction of the code being copied/reused.

But again, unless they have proof that its actually the same code, it seems like a LOT of their case is based on the visual art style and the way the game plays, neither of which can be copy righted.

The same exact art assets, sure. Even using the same art assets that are slightly changed. But an art “Style”? No. If you could win a lawsuit on that, artists would be out of work.

The same goes for game mechanics. How many RTS games do you play where you build a base, that produces units after you gather resources. OH no… someone is using the same gameplay/mechanics… Sue time!

I guess what im getting at is that they need to drop the “art style” and “Gameplay” parts from the suit.. and just focus on the real issue of code theft. The duplicate bugs give them the high ground to start the case on.

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Iain B

They don’t have to have proof before instigating litigation, that’s what the discovery portion of litigation is for. If proof was required before litigation then no one would be able to sue anyone that stole their intellectual property… Discovery is where “the smoking gun” typically comes from.

In IP litigation such as this, during the discovery phase, both sides will probably be required to provide source code for the other side’s expert review. They will then exchange portions of the code for production to the court.

If there is copied code this is where it’s proven.

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Dug From The Earth

AH, that makes sense

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Tim Johnson

They can’t though. They are going to need to spell out all of the similarities so that they can make a case to the court so that they can start the Discovery process. Then when the lawyers get involved w/ discovery they are going to dig in and be able to find out if they have the copied code. Before the court says there is actually a legit case, neither side is really forced to provide sensitive information, such as the code for the game. Since they can’t absolutely prove it w/o that, they make their case by pointing out every single minor potential similarity.

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Schmidt.Capela

Now, both games having the same exact bugs, points more in the direction of the code being copied/reused.

Unless the bugs are due to bugs or restrictions on Unity, its related tools, or any of the other third-party libraries used in Fallout Shelter.

Or, in other words, Bethesda doesn’t (and can’t) own all the code in Fallout Shelter, because they knowingly licensed third party code for use in the game. This doesn’t mean Behavior is in the clear, but it does mean that Bethesda can only sue Behavior over code that Behavior wrote itself, rather than licensed (assuming the contract to develop Fallout Shelter attributes all the copyright of Behavior-developed code to Bethesda, which might not be the case).

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Dug From The Earth

Schmidt, I actually had that in my reply, but removed it for simplicity reasons.

There is also the case where its the same coder, making the same mistakes.

I worked with a guy who 90% of the time, ended up with an infinite loop in his code. Someone else on the team always had to go in and fix it. We even created a catch all object to attach to anything he made just in case lol. (a temporary fix that would also alert us)

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Tim Johnson

There is a slight different, Bethesda paid them to make a game for them, and then they went and used the game they coded, bugs and all, to build an identical game w/ a different skin for another company. My guess is that part of the contract gave Bethesda ownership of the code meaning Behaviour re-using it is breaking the law even though they technically created it.