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Project V13

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Project V13
FOOL muties
developerFirst Incarnation
Masthead Studios
Interplay
Second Incarnation
Black Isle Studios
Interplay
publisherInterplay
release dateTBA
genreFirst Incarnation
massively multiplayer online
role-playing game
Second Incarnation
Strategy RPG
engineFirst Incarnation
Earthrise engine
Second Incarnation TBA
modesTBA
platformsWindows
 
PV13
PV13

Project V13 is a name applied to two games proposed and developed by Interplay. Chris Taylor and Mark O'Green, two of the creators of the original Fallout, are among the developers.

First Incarnation - Fallout Online

Initially, Project V13 was the internal code name for Fallout Online. In addition to the current team Jason Anderson, one of the other makers of Fallout, was involved in the project between 2007 and 2009, but had since left the team.

Interplay's rights to developing and publishing this game have been the subject of a legal dispute between Bethesda Softworks, the current owner of the Fallout franchise, and Interplay.

Development team

Project history

Past attempts

According to Feargus Urquhart, when Brian Fargo was still the president of Interplay, Fargo proposed a possible Fallout MMO to be made by Black Isle, but Urquhart refused:

"The reason at the time, because I would have loved to have made a Fallout MMO, was that I believed that Interplay was just not in a situation where they had the resources to do it. When you go off to do an MMO it's going to cost $100 million before you get it on the shelf; you've gotta buy servers and you've gotta have service people, and you have to have Game Masters. It's an undertaking, and on top of that, it means that you do have to do all that stuff so what else are you going to focus on? What other games are you going to be able to make?"[1]

This was initially passed to a subsidiary of Interplay called "Engage"[2], although it is known at a later point, Fallout Tactics developer Micro Forté was also contracted to develop Project V13 but the project was eventually canceled.

Interplay/Masthead project

Fallout Online concept art

Concept art of post apocalypse Seattle by Natiq Aghayev

In November 2006, Interplay, headed by Herve Caen, filed a Form 8-K filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding a potential Fallout massively multiplayer online game.[3] In April 2007, Bethesda Softworks, the developer of Fallout 3, purchased full rights to the Fallout IP for $5.75 million USD. While Bethesda now owned the rights to the Fallout MMO IP as well, clauses in the purchase agreement state allowed Interplay to license the rights to the development of the MMO.[4] Specific requirements were stated in the agreement that if not met, Interplay would immediately lose and surrender its license rights for Fallout. Development must have begun within 24 months of the date of the agreement (April 4, 2007), and Interplay must have secured $30 million within that time frame or forfeit its rights to license. Interplay would furthermore need to launch the MMOG within 4 years of the beginning of development, and pay Bethesda 12 percent of sales and subscription fees for the use of the IP.

On August 1, 2007, ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of Bethesda Softworks, announced the creation of ZeniMax Online Studios. The division will be headed by Matt Firor, a well-known expert in the field of online gaming, and will focus on the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) market segment.[5] It might work on a Fallout MMO in the future, if Interplay fails to gather enough money for their Project V13.

In November 2007, Interplay reopened in-house development and hired Fallout developer Jason D. Anderson as creative director for an unannounced MMO.[6] Given the aforementioned facts, it's most likely that the game Anderson was working on is Interplay's Fallout MMO, given that he was the contact name of Interplay's jobs appliance and that Fallout was referred in the job requirements.[7] In March 2009, Anderson left Interplay and joined InXile Entertainment.

V13 concept

Concept art by Natiq Aghayev

On June 30, 2008, it was announced that Interactive Game Group, LLC (created by Frederic Chesnais, former Chief Executive Officer of Atari, which now also owns MicroProse) purchased 2,000,000 shares of Interplay stock, as consideration for entering into a game production agreement, likely related to Project V13.

In Feburary 2009, Atanas Atanasov, President of Masthead Studios, a Bulgarian-based developer contacted Interplay offering their services in helping to develop the title.[8]. Work by Masthead appears to have begun at about this time.

In March 2009 Herve Caen visited Masthead Studios in Bulgaria, and took a 90 second gameplay video of the game in de development. At this point, Herve Caen considered the game to be in full scale development.[9]

On April 2, 2009 Interplay announced a binding letter of intent with Masthead Studios to develop Project V13. Masthead and Interplay teams were to work together under the direction and control of Interplay to complete development of the project.[10][11]. Under the agreement Interplay would pay between 25 and 45% of net receipts to Masthead, depending on the number of subscribers. Interplay valued this assistance [12] at $US 20 Million based upon the cost of the work.

Interestingly, Herve Caen testified on December 10 2009 he was unaware if Masthead had ever launched a game, or MMO.[13]

As of April 4 2009, the interal Project V13 wiki at Interplay consisted of at least 2,500 pages[14]

On June 15, 2010, the game was officially announced as Fallout Online.

Legal dispute

Project V13 concept art

Concept art by Serg Souleiman

On April 15, 2009, it was announced that Bethesda Softworks moved to rescind the Fallout MMORPG license. Interplay received notice from Bethesda that it intends to terminate the trademark license agreement, claiming that Interplay is in breach of the agreement for failure to commence full scale development by April 4, 2009 and to secure certain funding for the game. Interplay disputes these claims.[15]

On July 15, 2009 Interplay's Project V13 developer Chris Taylor posted a reply on the Interplay website "Project V13" Forum thread refuting the claims that Interplay lost the rights to the Fallout MMORPG.

On September 8, 2009 Bethesda filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Interplay in the Maryland District Court.[16]

On December 10, 2009 the Maryland District Court decided to deny Bethesda's request for preliminary injunction. Interplay was therefore able to continue development on the project until the case is finished.[17]

A second case Bethesda Softworks LLC v Masthead Studios Ltd was filed to prevent Masthead continuing to develop the game. They confirmed work had ceased as of May 2011, and their work did not involve any use of the Fallout trademarks or copyrights.

On January 10, 2012 The Fallout® MMO rights were restored to Bethesda Softworks® as a part of a settlement agreement. Project V13 was still promoted on the Interplay website for most of the year, but with no word on its current status until December 20, 2012, when it was officially confirmed to be cancelled in favor of a new project by the same name.

Second Incarnation - a strategy RPG

Through most of 2012, Project V13 was still listed as "In Development" on Interplay's website, with staff in forums refusing to comment on its status.

On December 20 2012, Interplay announced a crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for Project V13 and the newly reconstituted Black Isle Studios. The game was described as:

Project V13 (PV13) is the first planned Black Isle Studios release in years, a post-apocalyptic strategy RPG. You will create a character to represent yourself within the game world. Your character will be a hardy adventurer from a variety of backgrounds; one of the last remaining humans, a new breed mutant, or a technologically advanced cyborg. The choice is yours.
Once you have determined your character's background, you will found your "colony". From a deserted city, a broken down military base, or even the ruins of an oil pumping station, the colony will be yours to rebuild and control. Attract non-player characters for guards, peons, scientists, and other activities. Or, if you are the type that so desires, shanghai the NPCs. Put them to work rebuilding your society and improving your colony.
Meanwhile, you will experience grand adventures to gather the resources and ancient technologies as well as fight back the enemy hordes. Your character will gain experience, advance skills, learn new talents and gain access to incredibly powerful equipment. Or die trying.
Explore the world, meet friends, and fight your neighbors for control of resources. PV13 will be your chance to rebuild a devastated world.[18]

Rather than having backers contribute to an end product, as with most crowdsourcing campaigns; contributors would instead be providing funds to develop a prototype:

But we can't do it alone. We need to raise money to put together a prototype. We need more developers and staff. This is a big world we're developing.
The prototype will be a "proof of concept". It won't have the entire world or a finished game. We've got some great ideas, but they haven't been tested in the crucible of actual play. We need time and money. We'll have most, if not all, systems in the proof of concept. We'll be able to run around the world, interacting with NPCs and objects, basic combat, building and worker management, and test the other core gameplay mechanics.[19].

In exchange for their funds contributors would receive access to special backer forums and a special badge for on that forum.

"What's in it for me?" It's a fair question. Your contribution at $10 and up will get you access to news, special updates, and content from the new Black Isle Studios - PV13 forums. At $20 and over, you will achieve special insider status and you will be able to participate in a restricted area of the forum to interact directly with the BIS game designers - make suggestions, discuss our progress, ask us what we had for lunch...
You will receive a certificate of appreciation documenting your efforts to prevent the End of Time. You will also receive a special Black Isle Mayan Apocalypse Replacement (BIMAR) virtual backer badge for display in your forum profile and in game if we successfully launch. The certificate and BIMAR backer badge will be tied to your level of contribution and will demonstrate to others the level of your ongoing support. The top 20 contributors will each receive a unique BIMAR badge reflecting their outstanding commitment to saving the world. [20]

In January 2013 the contributors forum was launched.

See also

Project V13 news

Gallery

Concept art - Fallout Online

Picture names in quotation marks denote names given to the art by Project V13's art director, Serg Souleiman, or another member of the development team.

Proof of concept screenshots - Fallout Online

These screenshots are from an early proof of concept and they do not represent the appearance of the final product.

Videos - Fallout Online

Fallout Online Teaser 2010 HD00:33

Fallout Online Teaser 2010 HD

Videos - PV13 Strategy RPG

Black Isle's Mayan Apocalypse Replacement Program (BIMAR)06:04

Black Isle's Mayan Apocalypse Replacement Program (BIMAR)

References

  1. Interview with Feargus Urquhart at TVG
  2. Games TM, Issue 184
  3. SEC filing
  4. Fallout IP Sold to Bethesda (Gamasutra.com)
  5. ZeniMax Online Studios press release
  6. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16236
  7. http://jobs.gamasutra.com/jobseekerx/ViewCompanyProfile.asp?CompanyProfileID=3198
  8. Exhibit 34, Bethesda Softworks v Interplay Entertainment
  9. Exhibit 34, Bethesda Softworks v Interplay Entertainment
  10. Interplay and Masthead Studios to Jointly Develop Massively Multiplayer Online Game
  11. Earthrise studio arming Fallout MMORPG
  12. Exhibit 34, Bethesda Softworks v Interplay Entertainment
  13. Exhibit 34, Bethesda Softworks v Interplay Entertainment
  14. Bethesda v Interplay trial court transcript
  15. Interplay's 10-K for 2008
  16. Bethesda Softworks LLC v. Interplay Entertainment Corporation court filing
  17. "Interplay staves off Fallout MMORPG shutdown"
  18. Black Isle Website 21 December 2012
  19. Black Isle Website 21 December 2012
  20. FAQ page 21 Dec 2012

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