Bethesda Softworks is suing game developer Behaviour Interactive and publisher Warner Bros. over their Westworld game, claiming that they have stolen its designs, artwork, and coding for their mobile app.
The company are accusing Behaviour of stealing assets from Fallout Shelter – which they helped Bethesda to develop – and using them in their new Westworld game. According to the suit they have filed, Bethesda is suing the developers for breach of contract, while also suing Warner Bros. for inducement to breach of contract.
Additionally, both parties are being sued for their “willful and intentional infringement of Bethesda’s copyrights, misappropriation of Bethesda’s trade secrets, and deceptive business practices and unfair competition through their development, marketing, and promotion of the Westworld mobile game.”
Bethesda argues in the suit that it hired Behaviour to help develop Fallout Shelter, and its assets on the condition that they were “solely for use by Bethesda” however, Warner Bros., after seeing the “significant success” that came from Fallout Shelter, “engaged and collaborated with Behaviour to develop a mobile app for its own science-fiction property, Westworld.”
The argument centres around the fact that the games have a “substantially similar gameplay experience” and Bethesda even goes on to say that the Westworld game is a “blatant rip-off” of their own, with very similar design, art style, features and animations.
And, in fairness to them, the evidence is pretty strong.
Bethesda claims that bugs appear in the Westworld game that were evident in the early stages of Fallout Shelter’s development – a bug that appears when users start a demonstration version of Westworld, rendering the view out-of-focus.
Journalists have similarly noted that the games play in a very similar way, such as the underground vault environment, shading, placement of rooms, and character behaviour. Here are just two of the images we’ve found online – the Westworld game is on the left, and Fallout Shelter is on the right:
Not content with simply suing Behaviour, the company are also suing Warner Bros. as they believe that they “has a direct financial interest in Behaviour’s infringing activities through the resulting reduced casts and expedited development of the Westworld mobile.”
Bethesda Softworks is requesting compensation in order to recover damages.