Bethesda Files Lawsuit Against Warner Bros. for Westworld Mobile Game Using Fallout Shelter's Source Code [UPDATE]

Following the recent release of the Westworld mobile game from Warner Bros., Bethesda Softworks is taking legal action for its use of Fallout Shelter code.

June 22, 2018

Based around one of the most popular TV series currently airing, the recent Westworld mobile game from Warner Bros. Games gives players the chance to build their own version of the titular theme park and fill it with guests and hosts alike, though recent circumstances indicate that the game seems to have infringed on copyrights from a similar title, Fallout Shelter.

In a report from Polygon (along with accompanying legal documents), publisher Bethesda Softworks has filed a lawsuit in the Maryland U.S. District Court against Warner Bros. (the parent company of Warner Bros. Games) and its developer, Behaviour Interactive, over the recent release of their Westworld mobile title — which just launched on iOS and Android this week — over apparent copyright infringement with the studio’s own mobile game, Fallout Shelter.

The claim itself details that the Westworld mobile title from Warner Bros. and Behavious Interactive illegally uses source code that was used in the development of Fallout Shelter, with the most apparent evidence being that the Westworld game features a bug that was evident in earlier versions of Fallout Shelter. The main link between the evidence is that Behaviour Interactive was contracted by Bethesda during Fallout Shelter‘s development, prior to their work on the Westworld title for Warner Bros., which would (seemingly) explain their access to code used in Fallout Shelter.

Aside from the use of Fallout Shelter‘s code in the game itself, Bethesda also noted that Warner Bros.’s title “has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features, and other gameplay elements” compared to Fallout Shelter. Overall, Bethesda’s charges are seeking to claim damages for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets from Behaviour and Warner Bros., along with calling for the shutdown/removal of the Westworld game itself from distribution on mobile platforms.

UPDATE: Bethesda Softworks provided a statement to Variety regarding its pursuit of legal action against Warner Bros. and Behaviour Interactive, which you can find below:

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“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.”

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Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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