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Mark Ashur (of GameSpy[again]) talks with WotC

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Mark Ashur (of GameSpy[again]) talks with WotC

PostAuthor: Prophet » Thu Dec 27, 2001 1:03 am

Another copy and paste job, but good info so read the damn thing!


With all the commotion over the BioWare -- Interplay lawsuit and the countersuit from Interplay's owner, Titus, one party hasn't been talked about much -- Wizards of the Coast. How do they feel about this lawsuit which effectively is kicking around the computer version of their intellectual property, Dungeons and Dragons? I talked to Anthony Valterra, the business manager for roleplaying games at Wizards of the Coast.

First, I asked if he had any inkling that things were going sour between BioWare and Interplay. "No," Valterra said. "I was sitting in my office when someone came up and said, 'Guess what?' The lawsuit came out of the blue for us."

Was it disappointing? "You bet. The community seemed eager for it and we think it's a game that will help the pen and paper game as well. We expect a lot of crossover, with players using the books to help them create Neverwinter Nights modules and using Neverwinter Nights to supplement their pen and paper campaigns," Valterra said. "Hasbro [owners of Wizards] also get royalties from the sales."

Next, I asked about the licensing issues. "Interplay owns the rights to do a game and Bioware does not. BioWare has developed a nice game with Neverwinter Nights," Valterra said. "But we don't have any other rights to sell to Bioware. Infogrames has all the rights to make D&D games now, except for what Interplay's contract calls for."

I asked Valterra about that contract. While he didn't quote from the contract, he did discuss it. "I'm not sure but I think Interplay might have a couple more years in which to make D&D games and might even have a renewal clause," Valterra said.

(It will be interesting to see if that holds. Infogrames and Titus are competitors. Now that Infogrames holds the computer game license for D&D, I wonder if there's any way they can terminate Interplay's rights to make future D&D games?)

With BioWare sitting on Neverwinter Nights, I asked Valterra if there was any way they could turn it into a generic D20 system game instead of a D&D game and bypass Interplay? "In theory they could but they never would," Valterra said. "There are two licenses. OGL, the Open Gaming License, which allows you to make any game you want, using the rules we created using the D20 system that's in Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons. But they couldn't use any of our intellectual property or trademarks or the D20 logo.

"They could also try to use the D20 trademark license," Valterra said, but indicated that it was even more complicated. "You have to be able to show what portions of the product are open gaming rules. With binary code, they only way they could do that is to distribute the source code along with each copy of the game, and they'd never do that."

So it looks like BioWare is stuck with Interplay and vice versa if either wants to see Neverwinter Nights released. Remember, though, that Interplay once upon a time was making a GURPS game out of Fallout and converted that title into a generic RPG. It would be quite ironic if BioWare managed to do something like that with Neverwinter Nights.

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PostAuthor: Orleron » Thu Dec 27, 2001 2:43 am

Ah crap this game is NEVER gonna come out. :mad:
"Truth has no form."
--Idries Shah

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PostAuthor: Vanoviel » Thu Dec 27, 2001 12:06 pm

If the boys don't play nice and settle the case, NWN is going to get caught in injuctions before it can be released.
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