SEC report filed today, the revered Fallout franchise has been sold to Bethesda Softworks, currently in the midst of developing Fallout 3. Uncovered by Fallout fansite, No Mutants Allowed, the document states that the radioactive IP was purchased from Interplay for the princely sum of $5.75 million -- roughly a mountain's worth of post-apocalyptic bottle caps. Bethesda had been developing their Fallout sequel as licensee, not property owner.
This change of ownership sees original IP-holder, Interplay, becoming a licensee to Bethesda and paying the Elder Scrolls developer a 12% royalty on net sales derived from an upcoming (and still entirely nebulous) Fallout MMO. Interplay's license requires them to begin development within two years of the date of agreement, secure a minimum of 10,000 subscribers and offer a product that complies with "the quality standards of Bethesda."
Purchasing the Fallout IP outright certainly reflects positively on Bethesda's dedication to the franchise -- it's their property they risk messing up now -- and highlights plans well beyond "Morrowind with Mutants." (Next, would someone be so kind as to rescue the Freespace IP from Interplay?)