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Thursday, December 20, 2001
 

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More Info on BioWare/Interplay Split
11:12 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG readers may remember earlier stories that noted a lawsuit by BioWare, developers of Neverwinter Nights, against Interplay, license holders of the Dungeons & Dragons trademark and, until that point, the planned publishers of the role-playing game.

This news upset more than a few people, as Neverwinter Nights could be regarded as one of the most highly anticipated RPGs of all time. In a bid for further information, GameSpy recently went straight to the source of the D&D trademark itself, Wizards of the Coast, and asked them for their own views and details on the recent lawsuit.

Anthony Valterra, Business Manager for Wizards of the Coast, expressed his disappointment over the lawsuit. He noted that, far from hurting pen-and-paper D&D, games like Neverwinter Nights could actually create crossovers between the two mediums, with players consulting and using D&D manuals to enhance their computer gaming as well as using their computer experiences to supplement possible pen-and-paper games.

Interestingly enough, Interplay is not the only company to hold rights to D&D games. Developer Infogrames is also reported to have full rights, according to Valterra:

Interplay owns the rights to do a game and BioWare does not. BioWare has developed a nice game with Neverwinter Nights. 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'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.

As far as the possibility of BioWare releasing Neverwinter Nights under a more generic label of some sort, Valterra is quick to shoot down that thought. Besides not being able to use any intellectual property or trademarks from the D20 system contained within 3rd Edition D&D, he notes that the other option, which would be to use the D20 trademark license, would require showing what portions of Neverwinter Nights are based on open gaming rules, meaning that the source code would have to be included with each copy distributed.

Disappointing news to be sure, though it doesn't necessarily mean we won't ever see Neverwinter Nights. As if in answer to these somewhat disheartening tidings, BioWare has recently revamped their Web site and is currently working on a brand new Neverwinter Nights section. They still have the game listed for an early 2002 release and have expressed their wish to see it on the Mac as well.

For more information on Wizards of the Coast's take on the current Neverwinter Nights situation, be sure to check out GameSpot's story on the subject. Readers wanting more information on the lawsuit itself should check out IMG's previous coverage.

IMG News: BioWare Drops Interplay; NWN Interview
IMG Review: Neverwinter Nights
GameSpy: GameSpin
Interplay
MacPlay
Neverwinter Nights
Buy Neverwinter Nights


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