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Bethesda sues Warner Bros and Behaviour Interactive over Westworld game

Warner Bros released its Behaviour Interactive-developed Westworld mobile game last week, with Bethesda now suing the companies over the similarities with its own Fallout Shelter, Polygon reported.

The publication got access to the lawsuit, filed in a Maryland U.S. District Court. Bethesda claimed that a bug appearing in Westworld is similar to one that appeared in Fallout Shelter’s early days and was later fixed. Bear in mind that Behaviour Interactive co-developed Fallout Shelter with Bethesda Game Studios back in 2015. The specific bug was explained in the lawsuit: “This software ‘bug’ appears when a player starts up the demonstration version of the Westworld game. 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. While this error was ultimately fixed in subsequent builds of Fallout Shelter, the appearance of the bug in the Westworld game demo makes clear that the Fallout Shelter source code was used by Behaviour in developing the Westworld game.”

Bethesda added that the title is “a blatant rip-off of Fallout Shelter”, using “the same copyrighted computer code” as well “same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements.”

Among the similarities listed, Bethesda pointed out “cartoonish 2D characters in a 3D environment” as well as the ant farm layout (see above), which gives a side-on view of the underground facility. Bethesda is suing for copyright infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets, Polygon added.

The suit further read: “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.”

You can read the full lawsuit here.

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s senior staff writer, having joined the publication during its days as a weekly magazine. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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