Warner Bros. and Behaviour Interactive are facing a lawsuit from Bethesda Softworks over allegations that the Westworld Mobile game is a “blatant rip-off” of Fallout Shelter. Aside from changing out the iPhone and Android graphics to look like HBO’s Westworld series, the suit says the game uses the exact same code and even includes the same bugs.
The story starts in 2015 when Bethesda Softworks contracted Behaviour Interactive to develop Fallout Shelter for iOS and Android. Jump forward to now where Warner Bros. hired Behaviour Interactive to develop its Westworld Mobile game.
Bethesda Softworks claims Westworld Interactive is just a skin on top of Fallout Shelter, according to Polygon. The lawsuit states,
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 idea that Behaviour Interactive’s contract says it can reuse code for other projects seems logical because how could a developer think they could get away with literally skinning a previous project for a new client. It seems, however, that isn’t the case because the Bethesda Softworks lawsuit includes copyright infringement, breach of contract, and misappropriating trade secrets in its laundry list of complaints.
Considering Fallout Shelter’s bugs were found in Westworld Mobile’s code, Behaviour Interactive better be able to show its contract does allow for reuse of code. If not, they’re likely in a deep pot of legal hot water.