Fallout developer Bethesda is suing Warner Bros. and Behaviour Interactive over the alleged use of code from Fallout Shelter in Westworld, a free-to-play mobile game inspired by the successful HBO series of the same name. Bethesda has released a statement regarding the matter, saying Westworld ‘is a blatant ripoff of ‘Fallout Shelter’ with largely superficial, cosmetic changes.’
Behaviour is the studio responsible for making Fallout Shelter, which released in 2015, and was subsequently hired by Warner Bros. to create the new Westworld title. There are striking similarities between the two titles, notably the construction and management of a subterranean center of operations.
At face value, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about using a similar, non-copyrighted, basic concept. One is based on a post-nuclear war shelter, while the other revolves around an underground facility operating an above ground theme park. Though if we delve deeper, their are uncanny resemblances when it comes to ‘game design, art, animations, game play features, and other elements’ as Bethesda asserts. Scrutinizing the box format of the underground facilities, it is hard to discern any difference between the two games.
More shocking and revelatory is the presence of the very same bugs in Westworld plaguing Fallout Shelter after release. Bethesda suggests these bugs are present in the Shelter code and resurface with identical consequences in Westworld. In light of this, Bethesda claims Behaviour have fundamentally recycled the code to cut short the development cycle, reduce workloads, and ensure the game was released promptly. As expected, Bethesda retains 100% of the rights to its intellectual property including the code.
Furthermore, Bethesda is suing Warner Bros. specifically for coaxing Behaviour into effectively breaching their Fallout Shelter contract. Bethesda is looking to get Westworld removed from all and every distribution platform, and for Behaviour to cease working on the game. As you’d expect, the studio also expects a sizeable financial compensation for the trouble and reiterated it won’t hesitate to stretch its litigious muscles when its IP rights are infringed upon.
Check out the the trailers for both games below and see if you agree.