Westworld is a popular HBO show about robots that gain sentience and turn against their masters. The mobile game version of the show, developed by Behaviour, puts you at a bit more of a distance, allowing players to run the titular theme park and populate it with new robotic hosts.
That hit a little too close for software developer Bethesda, whose mobile game Fallout Shelter was also made by Behaviour. This past June, Bethesda sued Warner Bros. Entertainment, arguing that the Westworld mobile game was, to use the proper legal terminology, a “blatant rip-off” of Fallout Shelter. Bethesda alleged that the Westworld game had “highly similar game design, art style, animations, features, and other gameplay elements,” and even accused it of utilizing Fallout Shelter code. It was ugly.
So did Warner Bros. and Behaviour do any of the stuff Bethesda accused them of doing? We’ll never know, because according to The Verge, the two parties have reached an “amicable agreement” and settled out of court, with both of them paying their own legal fees and Bethesda dismissing the case with prejudice, meaning they can’t bring the same charges again.
This is a good outcome for the companies, but slightly less good for nosy fans like me who want to know everyone’s business. Did Warner Bros. admit to ripping off Fallout Shelter but offer Bethesda enough money to put the matter to bed? Did Bethesda not have a case and opt to end things quietly? In any case, both Fallout Shelter and the Westworld game remain available to play on Android and iOS devices, so the world may never be sure.