Bethesda Allegedly Used New Vegas Mod as Starting Point for DLC Quest, Modder and Bethesda Comment

On a post on the official moddb for his Fallout: New Vegas quest mod Autumn Leaves, modder Guillame "Baron VonChateau" Veer commented on the similarities noted by some people between his own mod and the quest Brain Dead from the Fallout 4 DLC Far Harbor.

In short, Veer suspects that Bethesda might have used his mod as a source of inspiration, given that the quest from Far Harbor shares a similar premise and many plot points. While the similarity in premise could be easily explained, as they both seem to rely heavily on tropes common to the Fallout franchise, science fiction and role-playing games, it's harder to explain why Bethesda seemingly reused a number of plot points that are specific to the mod.

For example, the properties of voice modulators figure heavily in both plots, both of the murder victims were also prime financiers of the "vaults" involved and had ties with Vault-Tec, and both the mod and the DLC quest involve a discussion about painting interpretation with a robot. For the most part, Veer seems to have taken the similarities as flattery, though he wonders what Bethesda could do for modders in situations like that:

Now, now, truth be said, I honestly thought Bethesda’s staff played Autumn Leaves, had a blast with it (I hope) took some things out of it and made their own thing for Far Harbor. And I seriously think this is perfectly okay. After all, Autumn Leaves’ inspirations are countless (Asimov’s, Cluedo, Planescape : Torment, Arcanum, older Fallouts, etc.) and being influenced is a natural part of the writing process.

Of course, it raises some questions : should modders get some recognition from the industry, compensation? How could those two dynamics - paid content and free creation - should be managed? What kind of acknowledgement should a big publisher give to small creators? What is the kind of acknowledgement they can afford?

The post was subsequently reported by household names of game journalism such as Eurogamer and brought to the attention of Bethesda. Pete Hines, the VP of PR and Marketing, gave a statement to GameSpot, claiming that any similarities between the mod and the Fallout 4 questline are completely coincidental:

"We love our mod community and would never disrespect them. I checked, and any similarities between the two are a complete coincidence."

Even assuming the designer or designers responsible for the quest had been inspired by the mod, it would be hard to prove it or expect any other answer from Hines. If nothing else, Veer hopes that those who enjoyed the Fallout 4 DLC quest might be willing to give a try to his own mod:

Since Autumn Leaves was out but a few weeks before Fallout 4, I always felt that people didn’t have the occasion to discover it by the time they jumped to F4. On another note, I also fear that people who played Brain Dead would stumble on Autumn Leaves and ignore it because “Oh, hey, it’s Brain Dead all over again!"

So, if you liked Brain Dead, want to play a "Whodunit”, but with entirely different themes, different writing, different plot, different music (!) different voice acting (!!) don’t hesitate to download Autumn Leaves