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Fallout Online's future in doubt as Interplay crumbles


Fallout Online and several other Interplay-developed titles may be in serious jeopardy, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission report filed by Interplay last week. Develop discovered the filing, which spells out dire financial concerns for the immediate future of the company. Multiple times, the report states:

"If we do not receive sufficient financing or income we may (i) liquidate assets, (ii) sell the company (iii) seek protection from our creditors including the filing of voluntary bankruptcy or being the subject of involuntary bankruptcy, and/or (iv) continue operations, but incur material harm to our business, operations or financial conditions. These conditions, combined with our historical operating losses and our deficits in stockholders' equity and working capital, raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern."

Similarly worrying, the company's current cash balance is approximately $3,000 (yes, that's just three thousand dollars, seriously), and it's operating with nearly $2.9 million in debt. The filing also illuminates the company's shift from paying its developers upfront for projects to working on a "net revenue sharing model," where devs get a cut of the final sales rather than paid when their work is complete. While that model sounds hugely profitable for third-party devs, and has been sporadically successful in the movie business, it seems to signal something less than wonderful in Interplay's case.

Additionally, the company's credit agreement has ended, which Interplay says "has resulted in a substantial reduction in the cash available to finance our operations." Rather than assure investors that everything will work out, the company again warns of potential negative outcomes, saying instead, "There can be no assurance that we will be able to enter into a new credit agreement or that if we do enter into a new credit agreement, it will be on terms favorable to us."

Currently, Interplay has five known projects, ranging from a lawsuit-entangled Fallout MMO to a sparsely detailed Earthworm Jim sequel. Several WiiWare and DSiWare projects are also in the works, though the fate of all five games could be grim given the wording of the company's SEC filing.

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