Bethesda is filing a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Behaviour Interactive over a newly-released Westworld mobile game. Bethesda claims that the game is a “blatant rip-off” of their 2015 mobile game Fallout Shelter.
A War Against Warner
The lawsuit, filed June 21 at the U.S. District Court for Maryland, seeks monetary compensation for damages and that the Westworld mobile game discontinue sale. It alleges that the game “…has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements” as Fallout Shelter.
Fallout Shelter, released in 2015 with the help of co-developer Behaviour Interactive, is a management sim originally released for smartphones. It was later ported to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. Bethesda paid Behaviour in 2014 for their assistance, and now they claim that Behaviour used some of the designs, artwork, and code for the Westworld game. In the suit, Bethesda states:
Under the agreement, all Behaviour work product of any kind, including code, designs, artwork, layouts, and other assets and materials for Fallout Shelter were authored and owned by Bethesda ab initio as works made for hire… 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 has some rather interesting evidence. Exhibit L of the lawsuit cites an article from Kotaku titled ‘Westworld’s Video Game Looks A Lot Like Fallout Shelter’. The suit also cites an apparent bug in the game’s “demonstration” mode:
Specifically, the view is out-of-focus and the scene that appears is far to the right and below the targeted landscape image. It is as if a camera capturing the scene had been inadvertently pointed to the lower right foreground and then slowly refocuses on the central image. The identical problem appeared in initial versions of Fallout Shelter but was addressed before Fallout Shelter was released to the public.
Bethesda has been involved in some high-profile suits in recent years. Last year, parent company Zenimax won a lawsuit versus Oculus Rift over a broken non-disclosure agreement and copyright infringement. In 2012, they settled in a suit against Mojang in a trademark dispute over Scrolls, now known as Caller’s Bane.