×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bethesda Sues Warner Bros., Calls ‘Westworld’ Game ‘Blatant Ripoff’

Bethesda Softworks is suing Warner Bros. Entertainment and Canadian game developer Behaviour Interactive for allegedly using code from its “Fallout Shelter” game to create a new “Westworld” mobile app.

Bethesda filed the suit in a District of Maryland court on Thursday, Jun. 21. It’s accusing Behaviour of breach of contract, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of trade secrets. It’s also suing Warner Bros. for allegedly persuading Behaviour to breach that contract. It now wants both companies to remove each and every version of the “Westworld” mobile game from distribution and to stop developing and supporting it. They are also asking for undisclosed statutory and punitive damages.

Bethesda hired Behaviour in 2014 to work on its “Fallout Shelter” app. “Fallout Shelter” is a free-to-play simulation game where the player builds and manages a post-apocalyptic bunker full of workers. The “Westworld” app similarly allows the player to build their own version of the eponymous theme park and interact with characters from the hit HBO TV show.

In the complaint, obtained by Variety, Bethesda claimed Behaviour and Warner Bros. used its intellectual property without permission to develop a mobile game with the same or substantially similar gameplay experience.

“In so doing, Behaviour breached its contract with Bethesda and utilized its restricted access to Bethesda’s intellectual property, including Bethesda’s copyrighted code, trade secrets, and other rights, to compress its development timeline, reduce costs, and quickly bring the ‘Westworld’ mobile game to market, and offer players the widely popular gameplay experience found in ‘Fallout Shelter,'” the complaint said.

Bethesda points to specific bugs in the “Westworld” app as evidence of stolen code. Those very same bugs are in “Fallout Shelter’s” code, it said. For example, Bethesda claimed the demo version of the “Westworld” game includes a visible software bug that’s also present in an early version of “Fallout Shelter” code Behaviour delivered to Bethesda during its development.

“The ‘Westworld’ game is a blatant rip-off of ‘Fallout Shelter,'” Bethesda said.

Variety contacted Bethesda, Warner Bros., and Behaviour Interactive about the lawsuit. Bethesda issued the following statement:

Bethesda Softworks has today filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriation of its intellectual property. The case arises from Behaviour’s development of a ‘Westworld’ mobile game for Warner Bros. Behaviour had previously worked with Bethesda to develop Bethesda’s hit game, ‘Fallout Shelter,’ and under that contract, Bethesda alone owned all resulting intellectual property, including the game’s copyrighted code.

“Behaviour illegally used the same copyrighted source code from ‘Fallout Shelter’ to develop ‘Westworld,’ and copied Fallout Shelter’s game design, art, animations, gameplay features, and other elements. As a result of Behaviour and Warner Bros’ unlawful conduct, ‘Westworld’ is a blatant ripoff of ‘Fallout Shelter’ with largely superficial, cosmetic changes.

“Bethesda will vigorously protect its legal rights in the valuable intellectual properties it owns, and take legal action whenever those rights are being infringed.”

Warner Bros. and Behaviour Interactive did not immediately respond.

 

 

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

  • Venn co-founders

    VENN Raises $17 Million to Launch a Cheddar-like TV Network for Gaming

    Video game industry veterans Ariel Horn and Ben Kusin have raised a massive $17 million seed funding round to launch a new gaming-focused TV network called VENN. Short for Video Game Entertainment and News Network, VENN wants to mix esports with Twitch-style video game streaming and other gaming-related entertainment content when it launches in 2020. [...]

  • JoJo Siwa'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Nickelodeon Star JoJo Siwa Gets Her Own Dance-Tour Mobile Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fans of JoJo Siwa will be able to join the teen influencer’s dance squad on stage — virtually — in a new mobile game. In “JoJo Siwa — Live to Dance,” players will become part of the Nickelodon and YouTube star’s worldwide tour on her professional dance team and experience what it’s like to be [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    The Game Awards 2019 Sets December Date, Will Live-Stream Across 45 Platforms

    The Game Awards 2019, the fifth annual video game industry kudosfest, will be held Dec. 12 in Los Angeles and will be live-streamed for free again on more than 45 different platforms worldwide. The Game Awards is an annual celebration of video games and the people who make them, created and executive produced by Geoff [...]

  • HTC Vive Cosmos

    HTC Replaces HTC Vive With New $699 Vive Comos VR Headset

    HTC is getting ready to retire the headset that was central to its expansion into the virtual reality market 3 years ago: The company announced on Thursday that its new Vive Comos headset will effectively replace the original HTC Vive, which was first released in April of 2016. “It was time to upgrade our consumer [...]

  • Sohu logo

    China's Sohu Seeks Games Consolidation With $500 Million Bid for Changyou

    Sohu, one of China’s Internet pioneers, is offering to buy out its games subsidiary Changyou in a deal that values Changyou at $532 million. Both companies currently have their shares listed on NASDAQ, but if the deal goes ahead Changyou would lose its separate stock listing. Sohu, which has interests covering search, digital advertising and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content